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Part 1 of The Paper Cuts Series

Clampitt Paper Wrap
Though the design industry has changed in many ways just since the 90’s, printing is still a thriving and vibrant source for connecting with consumers, and paper is the key. For this series, I’ve interviewed some of the best printers, paper reps, and designers to give their insights into how paper can strengthen your brand.

The first post in the Paper Cuts Series features my interview with Clampitt Paper Company rep extraodinaire, Lee Cockrell. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with her over the last 3 years, and she’s helped me rethink and revitalize my approach to visual identity with her wealth of paper knowledge. She’s like a paper ninja, and she’s about to drop some knowledge on you. So lookout.

Give us a little bit of background about yourself.

I have been at Clampitt Paper Company for 7 years as a specification rep. This is my first job out of college and has been quite an adventure and an amazing career.

A specification rep takes on a few roles at a paper company. First, we act as marketing and promotions for our company, being Clampitt Paper. I have the privilege of showing promotional pieces from our manufacturers giving printing tips and ideas on how to use their paper. I also get to act as a paper consultant for end users and the graphic design community helping them specify the best papers for the projects that they are working on.

What first drew you (bad pun, I know) to paper?

The mystery of it all. When I interviewed with Don Clampitt, we took a tour of the warehouse and I was so surprised to see all the different paper. There were cartons and rolls of paper — another world I never knew existed. I was very interested to learn about all the different kinds — as the only kind I knew was the lined paper we used in school.

What do you consider the most valuable asset of designers working directly with a paper rep?

Working with a paper rep gives you access to any and every kind of information you could ever dream about paper, printing, binding…anything. As a designer, there is the obvious working relationship with printers, photography reps, and copy writers, but as a paper specification rep there is access to it all! Also, the manufacturers are constantly putting out materials that are cutting edge for designers — fonts, layouts, bindery. So having access to that can be crucial to stay current for your clients.

How has your role changed over your career, and what’s affected that role the most?

My role has changed dramatically over the past 7 years, because the paper industry as a whole has really changed, much like many other industries. With the growth of sustainability the paper industry has made a lot of changes — the most important being marketing. Although they use a lot of fuel and water, paper companies are very sustainable. They have to be. There are more trees in North America today than there were 20 years ago.

The internet has done both good and bad things for paper. The bad part would be email and the lack of letters, faxes, etc. that use paper for correspondence. Even on-line billing has cut into the use of checks and statements sent in the mail. And access to information in a matter of seconds has hurt the magazine and newspaper industry. However, we have found ways in which it helps with paper and print. The internet is not a strong way to advertise alone. You need a printed piece to drive consumers to the internet and vice versa. Also, the internet has really made paper stand out. Before it was all just paper, now consumers pay a lot more attention to printed pieces.

Even “The Office” has done wonders for the paper industry. It has really helped people understand our industry and what “Paper People” do.

Can paper be used to define a brand, and in what way?

Paper is one of the best ways to define a brand. The sense of touch is much stronger than the sense of sight, especially when it comes to paper. Paper is a great way to stand out from the competition, or blend in, if you so choose. It could be a texture, a weight or a color, but there are many ways to use it for brand recognition.

What are some of the trends in the way agencies/designers are using paper?

The biggest trend right now in the paper industry is textures and tactiles. Designers are trying to help their clients stand out. Another trend is uncoated. Many companies don’t want to appear slick and glossy during this economic time, so uncoated paper allows them to represent a softer personality.

What are some common myths about paper that keep agencies/designers from specifying paper on print projects?

Specifying paper is just as important as specifying fonts, colors, illustration or photography. It can and will make or break the finished piece. There are many myths about specifying which deters designers from doing it. They think it will be too expensive. Well, you can get a $1.00 hamburger at McDonald’s or an $8.00 burger at Chili’s, but you STILL choose a burger. Paper is the same way. There are all sorts of papers that fit all sorts of price points. Take control of the paper, even if it’s on the dollar menu. Don’t let someone else pick your meal.

Designers also fear that if they specify the paper they will have to wait many days for it to come in. As a distributor, we try to carry many different papers to alleviate the wait. Sometimes we have to wait for the paper to come from a mill, but it’s a much faster process now. Back in the day, paper from the mill traveled by rail, and it would take many weeks. Now, it takes only a few days and is packaged in much smaller cartons.

Have you seen cases where a paper choice has either enhanced or destroyed a creative project?

Paper can and will make or break a design. Just as you would probably not use the color red to project a high end spa, you would not want to use a coated or uncoated sheet for the same reason. Paper has personality, and when used right, it can enhance the design product. Used wrong, and it can take away from the message.

Tell me a little bit about the Clampitt Paper School.

Lee Cockrell teaching at the Clampitt Paper SchoolClampitt Paper School has been around for more than 40 years. It is a great asset to the industry, and I recommend it to anyone in print, design, marketing, etc. It is a half day at our headquarters in Dallas, Texas and we teach all the paper basics. First we present paper making, next paper math, then business paper, text and cover papers, coated papers, and the role that paper plays in the environment.

How can someone find out about the line of papers that Clampitt Paper currently carries?

The line of paper that Clampitt currently carries is on our website: It is a great resource for all your paper needs.

I know this is like asking a designer to pick a favorite color or font, but what’s your personal favorite paper stock and why?

My favorite paper stock is the Crane Lettra. I love the soft, plush feel of the stock and the colors that are available — all shades of white. I also love the 220# heavy weight cover! Another reason — 100% cotton!

I would consider myself anything from the French Paper line, because it’s more utilitarian, unassuming and a little rough around the edges. Which paper stock would you be and why?

The paper that I most resemble would be something from the Sundance line — it’s not too bold, but has enough color to get noticed, great subtle textures and a middle of the road price point.

When you get groceries do you spec paper or plastic?

I ALWAYS get paper when I am at the grocery store. PAPER is a sustainable resource, plastic is NOT.

Clampitt Paper Company LogoIf you’d like to find out more about Clampitt Paper or reach out to Lee with any paper questions you can contact her at, or visit the website at Clampitt Paper Company website. Be sure to follow Clampitt Paper Company on twitter @BarneyFiber.

Check back next month when we talk to one of Fort Worth’s premier digital printers for Part 2 in The Paper Cuts Series.

Like what you see feel free to email me at and don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook. Check out the Creative Squall site to see how we’ve helped clients add a touchy, feely side to their brands with paper.

Today’s entry makes the final sketch/song for this year long project. As I thought about how I’d like to end, I wanted to leave everyone with something not only incredibly personal, but something to make you think about everyone around you.

We all have people in our lives that have influenced us more than they could ever know, and unfortunately more often than not we forget to tell them how important they are before they’re gone. The song “Hear You Me” by Jimmy Eat World is a touching song full of regret for not thanking the people around us.

I broke all of my rules for this final sketch.
I used references.
I spent more than an hour sketching.
I didn’t include the name of the song.
And I even did 2 sketches instead of one.

The first sketch is of one of the greatest ladies I’ve ever had the opportunity to know, Pauline Dobbs, my grandmother on my dad’s side. (Though we called her Mema.) I don’t think I ever saw her without a smile on her face, and that’s because I think she truly lived life the way she wanted. Whether she was gardening, making her famous Peach Ice Cream (which has been lost with her passing), reading, or just doing what she did best, listening, she was truly the happiest person I know. I hope that as I get older, I’m able to experience just an inkling of the joy she seemed to surround herself with every day. I miss you Mema.

The second sketch is of a person, who I considered my best friend for the first 14 years of my life, Eugene Runnells, my grandfather on my mom’s side. (Though we called him Pop.) I used to spend a few weeks every summer staying with my mom’s parents in Mississippi, and I truly think that was the moment I looked forward to every year. Pop always had stuff planned, but more importantly he spent time with me and my cousins making us laugh. I still have the Mr. Yuck faces that he cut out of the newspaper and sent to me, because I was such a picky eater as a kid. My mom recently showed me a photo that Pop and Mema Runnells took with a message for me. “Archie & Edith, April 9, 1978 – Tad, my hair was too short, so I had to put my flower in my belly button.” He had the biggest heart out of anyone I’ve known, and I hope that one day I can give half as much to the world as he did. My biggest regret is that the last time I saw him that he took the blame for me accidentally throwing away my 5th retainer at McDonald’s. He told my parents that he had rushed me. I was ever able to thank him. Pop I’m sorry, and I miss you more than anyone knows.

So, please listen to the song, and more importantly tell the important people in your lives how much they mean to you.

Jimmy Eat World “Hear You Me”

Thanks to everyone who has supported this project over the last year. Stay tuned as I begin wrapping up the poster and shirt prints of the poll winners to find out how you can get one. Also, I’m going to be developing the sketch of the day project into a book tentatively titled “Synesthesia” with additional goodies, finished art and stories.

Like what you see feel free to email me at and don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook. Check out the Creative Squall website to see how sketches grow up to be complete ideas.

I’m not the biggest fan of guitar, especially acoustic, but I’m absolutely amazed by the sounds that Rodrigo y Gabriela are able to make. I don’t think I’d be overstating their talent when I say that they may both be the most talented guitarists and possibly the best musicians that I’ve ever heard. Their sound pulls in the influences of flamenco and classical guitar, but the speed and technicality at which they play is other-worldly. Throw in the fact that they both are able to drum, hammer and tap the percussive backing to their songs all while hitting a million clean notes in one beat, and you have the ingredients for possibly the coolest video and audio presentation ever. They are currently touring in support of their new album. Though they aren’t coming to Dallas, I’m thinking about driving to Austin or San Antonio just to see them live. To put that in perspective, I have never driven more than an hour to see a band.

Rodrigo y Gabriela “Tamacun”

Like what you see feel free to email me at and don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook. Check out the Creative Squall website to see how sketches grow up to be complete ideas.

A couple of weeks ago I did a song for Blakroc, The Black Keys hip-hop outfit. I was surprised that I hadn’t done a sketch for The Black Keys yet. If you aren’t familiar with them, their sound reminds me a bit of Jimi Hendrix with a heavily distorted blues sound and songs that typically deal with heart break and messed up relationships. They just released a new album that is supposed to be incredible. I haven’t heard the whole thing yet, but the bits I’ve heard are awesome. I guess I’ll be purchasing that album soon.

The Black Keys “Strange Times”

Like what you see feel free to email me at and don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook. Check out the Creative Squall website to see how sketches grow up to be complete ideas.

Troubled Hubble is a great indie rock band that has some of the funniest titles and themes of songs much like Minus the Bear, though they sound nothing alike. Troubled Hubble reminds me of a poppier version of Primus. I felt it was appropriate to take a literal approach to their song about passionate canoeing.

Troubled Hubble “I Love My Canoe”

Like what you see feel free to email me at and don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook. Check out the Creative Squall website to see how sketches grow up to be complete ideas.

Sleigh Bells is an awesome new act from New York that is loud, distorted and a blast to listen to. I believe they are electronic, but the distorted sounds remind me of many early eighties punk bands which is probably why I like them so much. The album is on its way to my house as I write this. I think it was just released last month, though the band has amassed a huge following in the last year, particularly at SxSW. I hear elements of M.I.A.‘s influence in some of the material particularly the song “Rill Rill” which I almost did a sketch of.

Sleigh Bells “Tell ‘Em”

Like what you see feel free to email me at and don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook. Check out the Creative Squall website to see how sketches grow up to be complete ideas.

I remember describing Deerhoof to my wife as a blend of the best parts of Sonic Youth, Mice Parade and Cibo Matto. Knowing that she likes all of these bands a lot, I told her that she’d love Deerhoof. The CD is on the way, so we’ll see how she feels. They’ve been on my list of must buy albums for about 3 years now, so I felt it was time to make the commitment and actually own an album by Deerhoof. I love the fact that they are able to take loud and raw sounds and intermingle them with open spaces and somewhat airy vocals. “Siriustar” in particular sounds like it could fall apart at any moment, which is what makes it so endearing to listen to.

Deerhoof “Siriustar”

Like what you see feel free to email me at and don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook. Check out the Creative Squall website to see how sketches grow up to be complete ideas.

Bettye Swann rereleased an album of songs recorded from 1968-1970. I first heard of her on a special episode of All Songs Considered earlier this year which featured great break up songs. Her soulful voice and honest delivery of “(My Heart Is) Closed For The Season” made me instantly fall in love with her sound. The album is full of some of the saddest and best R&B songs I’ve heard in a long time. The liner notes inside the album tell about how Bettye got sick of the games and mistreatment that she endured during her long career. Basically, she wasn’t happy with what she did, so she left the business, and disappeared completely. The person who recompiled the songs was able to find her, and had a couple of phone conversations. She lives in Las Vegas and works with children with educational problems. He said she couldn’t sound happier. It’s a shame that the music industry treated such a gifted singer so bad, but ultimately she’s doing what she truly loves now.

Bettye Swann “Little Things Mean A Lot”

Like what you see feel free to email me at and don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook. Check out the Creative Squall website to see how sketches grow up to be complete ideas.

It’s official! I’ve finalized the artwork to be used on posters & shirts for Cityview. Look for them at Cityview’s upcoming shows, and buy a couple for family and friends. They’re a great band, and you should get in on the early merchandise. It’s going become a collector’s item when they break big in the national market. Plus, who hasn’t owned an abused teddy bear. The shirts will be printed on a nice creme color shirt.

Here’s what the final poster art looks like.

Like what you see feel free to email me at and don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook. Check out the Creative Squall website to see how sketches grow up to be complete ideas.

The Fate Lions are a great new Fort Worth band that I would classify as indie pop. There songs are reminiscent of Fountains of Wayne, The Deathray Davies and Dressy Bessy with catchy hooks, infectious melodies and vocals that make you want to sing along. I haven’t seen them live yet, but I hope to soon. I predict that they will be a huge national act in the next 2 years.

Fate Lions “Astronaut”

Like what you see feel free to email me at and don’t forget to become a fan on Facebook. Check out the Creative Squall website to see how sketches grow up to be complete ideas.

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