Swatch books and samples, El Dorado of graphic production

Inevitably, almost as if it were an ancient ritual, from time to time we receive an email or a call asking for our swatchbooks of paper. It’s like when you say “give me your phone” and you reply “yes but the number I need phone.”

The paper sample books are one of the most precious work tools for any professional engaged in the offline world. Each manufacturer and / or distributor develops his own catalogues to publicize the virtues of his references.

The number of papers on the market and their variations of color, weight and texture is enormous. So finding the right paper for a project, taking into account not only its design but its requirements in terms of production process, it is a task that takes time.

Therefore our tool Paper Gallery came up. This diverse selection of papers made​by Minke wants to facilitate the choice process for those who do not have all the catalogues or to search under a common approach that brings together different brands. Usually at the end there are two / three papers as candidates. With this quantity it is easier to get samples via manufacturer because they have their limitations too.

Image of Paper Gallery.
Image of Paper Gallery.

Most samplers follow a corporate format (Pantone’s book, leaflets, booklets …) that gives uniformity to references. It is categorized by collections with common characteristics.

GF Smith Selector.
GF Smith Selector.

Besides some of them have a more creative sample frequently designed by an external agency. It is usually a piece that brings out the splendor of the paper. It is common to see the special finishes allows.

Samples with special finishings for Conqueror collection (Arjowiggins).
Samples with special finishings for Conqueror collection (Arjowiggins).

An exception to this common denominator is the case of Gmund. The German manufacturer offers in its well known swatch books design and samples.

For each collection Gmund chooses a designer / agency to recreate visually its philosophy and uniqueness. The list of candidates is large, because of its history and reputation, in Germany is very prestigious to design for the Bavarian brand.

Swatch book of Gmund 3.
Swatch book of Gmund 3.

Knowing the characteristics of each collection and opting for one can be a difficult task. To facilitate this work there are samplers whose protagonist is the color. They could be sorted by color ranges or allow this feature to take precedence over the rest. For instance Imaginative Colours (Fedrigoni) and Gmund Carré.

This is useful when before the project, colors are set by corporate standards.

Imaginative Colours from Fedrigoni.
Imaginative Colours from Fedrigoni.

And all this where can be found? Sometimes for designers and professionals, who are not direct purchasers, can be a complicated task to access to some catalogues, particularly those of more exclusive edition. Yet most manufacturers and distributors have counseling departments responsible for providing samples and visiting creatives to explain them the papers and benefits. So they can prescribe them to their suppliers.

The difficulty is that the economic crisis has added to the crisis in the printing industry and the cuts have affected these departments. Yet its kindness remains intact and with a little patience is not impossible to get the samples.

The reference websites of the manufacturers / distributors have information about it by geographic location. Also Minke facilitates direct contact of advisors when customers ask our catalogues ;D.