Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pinocchio, and other Toothpicks.

7,499,999 Toothpicks can be made from a single (not married) fifteen year old tree.   In answer to the obvious question...NO, I did not actually count them.   The statistic actually said 7,500,000 toothpicks, but I found that hard to believe!  Maine is the Toothpick capitol of America, so if you have any questions I suggest you look there.  

Pinocchio was made of pine, however, I have been unable to find out exactly how many trees it took.  If anybody out there knows I would be glad to hear.

Paper is mostly made from pine trees.  Five pine trees are planted for every pine tree cut down to make paper.   Paper mills also use the scrap products from sawmills and lumber companies.   Cotton and other plant fibers along with clay are added together in the process of papermaking.   Since paper can be recycled five to seven times (depending on who you ask) you can see it is very sustainable.   When the cycle reaches the last usable cycle, the pulp is used to enrich farming soil, and in making toilet paper.   When you use a toilet paper that has recycled paper content, you not only use fibers that are at the end of the useful cycle, but you get to brag to friends and family that you use recycled toilet paper!

As one anonymous 18-th century poet wrote...

RAGS make paper.
PAPER makes money.
MONEY makes banks.
BANKS make loans.
LOANS make beggars.
BEGGARS make rags.

Around and around we go!   Paper is really very "green" when you remember that the forests that grow the raw material, produce oxygen etc over the growing years, before being cutdown for harvest.   Paper is here to stay.   Can you image going into a Doctors office and seeing no diplomas on the wall?   If you don't see any, you may wish to find another doctor!

Please have a safe 4-th of July, if you celebrate in U.S.A.  And to my friends in Great Britain...Ha-ha-ha!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Elephant poop, Wheat, or Bamboo?

Have you seen the new Elephant Poop paper yet?   It weighs about twenty pounds a page!   Just kidding.   There is a team of people in India that are making paper from yesterdays hay.   Just click here if you don't believe me!

The recycling program in the United States is getting behind.

Since your average elephant drops about 500 pounds a day of what we will call, paper starter, you can see that this paper is 100% recycled and sustainable.

If, however, you don't live near the zoo or a circus, you may wish to look into making paper from wheat.   Way up north in Canada they are producing paper made largely from wheat straw that is left over from growing wheat.   Currently almost all of this "waste" is either plowed under or burned.   I think we will be seeing more of this product as it seems a "win-win" situation.   Just think...read your newspaper in the morning and then sprinkle sugar on it and eat it on your way to work.

I know, I know, this is all exciting and you are nearing your limits of paper thrills, but just one more item needs to be talked about.   Ah, you guessed it (must have read the title line) Bamboo paper.

Paper has been made from bamboo for a long time in Asia.   There are concerns about making paper from bamboo and I suggest you look at this personal account of a tour of a bamboo paper mill in China.  It is an interesting viewpoint. 

Needless to say, you can make paper from almost anything.   The real skill is in making something with that paper.  When you look at these crazy papers and actually feel them you will see just how much people love paper.   Paper is here to stay.  When an ad piece or business card etc is printed, keep in mind the importance of the paper used.   It adds another layer or element to the whole communication process in a sometimes very subtle way. 
  Just think...if you printed your business card on elephant poo, you would really be making a statement when you leave your calling card behind!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A leaf, a page, a sheet, or a folio?

Finally!  Have you been having trouble sleeping, wondering just what the differance is between a leaf and a sheet?  Well, here is the cure.

A leaf is a small sheet of paper having,obviously, two sides.   Each of those two sides, is called a page.   Now, here is the exciting part...a sheet is a large flat piece of paper, either printed or blank.   Once this sheet is folded it becomes a folio.  A single sheet, folded once or many times, becomes a signature.  A signature has at least 4 pages and on a really large folding machine can have up to 128 pages!   On this size equipment, a 128 page book can be printed on one sheet of paper.

The great thing about all this is that you don't need to worry about it.   Leave it to your printer to understand the jargon.   If you get a thrill thinking about folding, and would like to learn more tricks of the trade, I would highly recommend checking out my friend at foldfactory.com. She has some great tips and ideas for folding.

One thing to remember when designing a brochure or folder etc... it is best to avoid having ink coverage across the folded edge if possible.   When printed on a digital press, the ink basically "sits" on top of the paper, and tends to crack and flake when folded.   With offset (conventional) printing, the ink tends to "soak" into the paper fibers and is a bit more flexable.  

Printing, like most other businesses, has a lot of jargon that can be confusing.   One of the advantages of speaking to your printer early on in the design of a printed piece, is that they can help avoid little problems and possibly suggest ways to save money.   Have you ever been disappointed with a printed job?   My experience has been that usually when a job isn't quite what it could be, the cause usually goes back to a design issue that could have been avoided.

Well, this has been fun!   I am still finding out about the wheat paper project and will keep you up to date with my finding soon.   Help me out by doing the little poll below.   Now its time to get between the sheets. (or is it pages?)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Chicken Eggs and Postcards.

   In this post I am going to share some great thoughts and ideas for mailings, and return on investment (R.O.I.).   As you may know by now, I spent a fair bit of time reading a whole bunch of boring articles to find out what is going on in the marketing world.   Since I have been studying what is the best way to reach peoples eyeballs, I have found some amazing things.

     In many recent studies, by a variety of companies, what is looking like the best R.O.I. now is the lowly postcard.   I have had my email account hi-jacked recently, and can tell you, it takes a lot of time to contact all your contacts, and let them know that you sell printing and not Viagra!   Last week, one of our customers had their company email hi-jacked as well.   A free bit of advice here...change your password every few weeks.  The result of email overload and spam etc. is, that postcards are moving to the forefront of advertising.   There are many advantages to mailing postcards and here are a few I feel are worth while.

     One of the best is, even if the reciever throws it away, their eyes still register some of the content.  Most people don't even tear open an envelope if they are not interested in the company it came from.

  Postcards are cheaper to design, cheaper to mail, reach the eyeballs of the customer and anyone else that may see them lying around. 

   Another element to keep in mind is that for mailings to prove successful, they need to be repeated over and over again.  It is a game of gradual increase, think marathon, not a sprint.                                                 
  Postcards also can be used like big business cards to share web addresses or phone numbers with potential customers.   If you can come up with a clever, colorful front side, many cards are passed along to others, or even stuck up on bulletin boards.  There are other things to think about, like planning your mailings to arrive on a Tuesday (lowest mail volume day), and full color front with black and white back side, odd size cards to stick out from normal sizes, and other things like this that a good printing company should be able to help you with from start to finish.

    The most important thing to remember when doing advertising is to determine how much it will cost NOT to advertise.

   As dear old Mrs Anonymous once wrote...

         The codfish lays ten thousand eggs,
          the homely hen lays one.
         The codfish never cackles,
         to tell you what she's done.
         And so we scorn the codfish,
         While the humble hen we prize,
        which only goes to show you
        That it pays to advertise!

Thanks for all the comments everybody.   Even suggestions are welcome.   I am keeping tabs on the newest idea for paper making in Canada using wheat stubble, and will post about it when able.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Green Paper or Green Pixels?

    Well, I'm glad you are sitting down.   I have some very shocking facts to drop on you today, that will surprise you, and hopefully change the way you think about paper.   We live in a world where large companies are using the "Green" word to squeeze more profit out of us.   Is there room for both pixels and paper in the future?   Absolutely!   My quiet little voice is just trying to clarify some of the twisted marketing ploys of many companies, and help you and others to think about how paper can be "Green".

   First on the list...Did you know that twenty percent less CO2 is used per year by a person reading a daily printed newspaper versus a person reading an online web-based newspaper for only thirty minutes a day?

   Another thing to think about...nearly sixty percent of paper is recycled (see earlier blogs on this) versus just over seventeen percent of electronic devices.   Way back in 2006 for example 1.84 Million tons of computers and other electronic devices were disposed of in U.S. landfills.

   Paper making is rough on the environment, but remember that what it is made from is renewable, and very recyclable.   Computers are made from plastics and contain many toxic chemicals and metals which are largely not recycled.   Computers also use large amounts of elecrticity over their lifetime.

    On average it takes 500 Kilowatt hours of electricity to produce the 440 pounds of paper used by the average American person each year.   That much electricity would power one computer running for 5 months continously.   Most business computers (ours included) are left running all night wasting $2.8 billion dollars of energy, and also producing 20 million tons of carbon dioxide, or looking at it another way, the same amount of CO2 produced by 4-million cars!

   So here is the thing I want to end with.    Should you stop reading this Blog and turn off your computer?   Please don't.   In fact you should subscribe in the box below!   What I want you to do though, is to see that printing and paper may not be so bad as we are being told.   Paper and pixels are here to stay, and I think they complement each other.   Even in business, as many are begining to find out, a printed paper piece is more effective than email or texting in reaching customers.   One of my next blogs will cover this in more detail.
Bye for now,
With a special thanks to the links below for data.
International Paper look under Sustainability tab
Environmental Protection Agency