GF Smith talk – 7.12.12

On Friday, I had the pleasure of attending a talk from GF Smith at our college. GF Smith are a well known paper supplier who supply the very best in quality paper. For more information on them, I recommend visiting their website, which is very impressive, asserting the professional and creative stance of this company, as well as being easy to navigate and informative towards what they do.

The main reason for this blog post is to go through the free samples I received as part of the talk, looking at some of the graphic design present and to raise a few points raised during the talk as a reference for myself and to provide information to others.

Typographic Circle – Circular Sixteen – Zen Pure White:

GF Smith provided the paper for the Typographic Circle’s magazine, Circular, of which I received a sample of the 16th issue. The Typographic Circle are “a not-for-profit organisation run entirely by volunteers” and allow anyone to join who has an interest in type and typography. I have included a couple of my own images here of Circular Sixteen, but for more images from Pentagram, click here.

Circular Sixteen coverIntro

A point noted was that the ‘Zen’ paper used for this has a texture to it, which is currently very popular. It also does well at showing flat blocks of colours at a solid consistency.

Type 1Type 2

An interesting point raised here however, was that about how they wanted the folios (page numbers) to disappear off the page, as if they were cut exactly in half as a design feature. However, no printing service can accurately repeat this process, so we were informed that this is an example of something not to do in your designs.


A point to raise about the Typographic Circle is their Learn section, as they provide some very helpful free PDF files explaining typography. I know they will be very helpful to me, and for anyone looking for information about typography, that is a great place to start.

Monadnock Paper Mills Edge VIII: Quiet Light – Monadnock Astrolite PC100:

More information about this can be read here. This piece looked specifically into the photography of Ed Riddell, and was the last piece designed by the late Jeff Pollard.

What is worthy of noting here is how the printing processes have been included as well as the photography, which gives a greater insight into the creation of this piece, showing the combinations of colours and methods.

Quiet Light cover First spread Photography

Fortune Brands Annual Review – Monadnock Astrolite PC100:

Fortune Brands were a holding company with a significant number of differing product ranges, as can be seen in the design on the front of the 2009 Annual Review. Since then, the company restructured and subsequently split up in 2011.

An point raised here was about how clients have turned their attention towards reducing the environmental impact of their publications, and are publicising that to their customers. This type of paper is FSC certified as recycled; not that it is instantly obvious, the paper being white, with very few impurities from the recycling process. However, as was explained to us, for some clients, they actively want a low quality recycled paper to show cost saving and/or environmental awareness.

Fortune Brands Annual Review 2009 Fortune Brands inside spread FSC info

Oliver Spencer – Naturalis range

A “progressive modern fashion brand” that commonly features many juxtapositions, such as luxury and utility, as well as past and future. With one of my words being ‘juxtapose’ for the Words project just on the edge of completion, one of my tutors was keen to point out the juxtaposition in the image below.


To get into this, you need to tear a small strip away, which allows for it to be used as an external package if needed. Many designers have apparently asked for two, so they can keep one pristine and unopened, and open one to have a look. Images below of this:

Oliver Spencer ClosedOpenFolded outNaturalis

StrathmoreGrandee, Pastelle, Writing ranges:

The promo video for this can be seen here and is very interesting as it gives an insight into how this sample was made. It comes in a eye-catching envelope, with a hole in. At first this confused me, but I soon realised it was a practical step to help you take out what is inside the envelope, as it is a very tight fit.


As for what is inside the envelope, it is a collection of different Strathmore paper from their ranges. As can be seen from the second image below, there is a leaflet in the centre fold, removing that leaflet leads to the possibility of deconstructing it. This clever form of binding requires no glue or staples, and is very successful in keeping everything together.



Foil Stamping
Foil Stamping
Blind embossing
Blind embossing

As for the leaflet, I had a look at this later on, and it was a very interesting leaflet that detailed the printing processes that created this promo piece. Therefore I know this will be especially helpful to me, as it will refresh my knowledge of these techniques and should I need to present such methods to clients in the future, here is a simple, informative guide.

Leaflet inside

Gmund – Treasury and Bier ranges:


“Treasury is our diverse collection of special papers based around metallic shades, from shimmering translucents, to glittering gold, bronze and silver, to porcelain white. The majority of the range features micro-embossed linear surface patterns.” (GF Smith – Special Paper)

One of the highest standards of paper and therefore the most expensive priced up to £4.20 for a sheet sized at 1000 x 700mm. The finish is incredible, and most finishes sparkle when the light captures it. I personally think it would be suited to showcasing cars with metallic paint finishes or makeup in high-end brochures perhaps? Also, the translucent paper used as a contents section is very inspiring to me, and has been though provoking as to how I could use it for future designs…

Gmund Treasury front Gmund Treasury styles


“Gmund Bier is our unique range of papers and boards manufactured using 40-60% recycled beer labels, 30-50% totally chlorine free pulp and 5-20% brewer’s grains from the mash (appearing as visible ingredients). The palette features five warm beer-inspired colours. Gmund Bier is guaranteed for most types of printing including digital.” (GF Smith – Textured Paper)

This environmental textured range of paper draws on an earlier point raised about these types of papers, it is clear to see here that they are environmental as you can see recycled parts much more clearly. It is a good quality paper designed for those who want a good quality design, but want it to be obviously sustainable in thought. The different colours available also allows for more original designs to be created.

Gmund Bier frontGmund Bier inside

GF Smith Duplexing – Colorplan:

As you can see from the images below, the sample is very pink! It was mentioned how duplexing is very popular both for business cards because of its strength and design flexibility with colours, and being easy to fold lends itself to being suitable for packaging.

GF Smith Duplex frontGF Smith Duplex back

Downey promo – Colorplan:

This particular sample makes use of die-stamping and blind embossing, as a promotional piece to show what they can do. I first came across this promo piece when our group were invited to GF Smith’s Beauty in the Making exhibition earlier this year (of which you can read about the making of it here), there was an area dedicated to looking into some of these processes.

Downey front Downey back

Conclusion: GF Smith raised the point that as a designer for print products, we should be thinking about the paper to use from a very early point in the design process, as it lends a whole different feel to the design depending on the paper used. While they would obviously say that as they are selling a product, they have proved this is most certainly the case, especially through the handing out of samples that allow for a interaction with the products, to see how they can be used to increase our understanding of paper. Paper is something I will need to think very closely about for the following projects and beyond.

To finish, I would just like to say a thank you to GF Smith for visiting. 🙂