It is now divided into various broad classifications by the customs of the trade. Of these the widest is the division between so-called “fine” and “coarse” papers. In general, all papers intended for printing purposes (and this will include also those that are used for writing) are called fine papers. Wrapping, roofing and building papers and those forms of paper board used for making boxes and containers are described as “coarse.” Newsprint, which is the cheapest and least durable printing paper, is classified by itself. Blotting and tissue papers are specialties of wide use, and tend to fall into the group of fine papers, though tissue, of course, is used but incidentally for printing purposes.
It is with “fine” papers that the user of direct advertising is almost entirely concerned, and of these only we shall speak in any detail. The three types of fine paper that make up almost all advertising are: (a) cover paper; (b) book, text or printing paper; (c) writing and bond paper. These in turn have many variations, arising from the materials of which they are made and from. the character of the finish applied in the later stages of manufacture. Indeed, it is felt by many that there are too many papers on the market, that the grades overlap one another, and that the essential differences between many of them are so microscopic as to constitute no sound reason for their existence. A distinct effort toward a greater standardization has been in progress for some time, led mainly by the United States Department of Commerce. But this movement is not confined to paper alone. It applies equally to many commodities. Its development is slow, but unquestionably it will in the end result in a great simplification of the paper market, to the final advantage of all concerned.
From the standpoint of the advertiser and printer, the three great divisions of fine paper alluded to above are of prime importance; for from one of them, or from two of them in combination, he will be able to build every standard form of direct advertising.
As manufacturers of Buckeye Cover and Buckeye Antique Text papers, we are primarily interested in the two first named, though for many years we have manufactured for our merchants various writing and bond papers. From this it will be apparent that The Beckett Paper Company is vitally interested in the development and improvement of direct advertising in America, with which we have been associated, as makers of raw material, from its very beginning. For many years our Buckeye Cover has been in universal demand in the production of fine, but not extravagantly expensive, advertising. This line we have more recently supplemented with the Buckeye Text papers, to the end that the printers and advertisers of the country shall have at their disposal the complete materials for the making of a catalogue, booklet, or any other form of direct advertisement, of Buckeye quality and Buckeye economy.
Cover paper is much the most recent development in the three general classifications of fine papers for advertising, and it unquestionably owes its great development, if not its very existence, to the fact that the mails have come into use as a carrier of advertising direct to prospective buyers. Just where the first paper that is typical of modern covers was manufactured is not quite clear. We have heard that the C. H. Dexter Company, of Connecticut, was among the first, if not the very first. Buckeye Cover was created in 1894, and is among the very earliest. Quite possibly it is the oldest existing brand, and it certainly is much the most widely known and used, occupying nearly one-fourth of the entire cover-paper market of the nation.
The purpose of cover paper is obvious. It was brought into being because it was necessary to protect catalogues and booklets that were to be sent through the mails and to be subjected to considerable use. In very early days such catalogues and pamphlets as were issued were what is called “self-contained;” that is, they were bound in the same paper that constituted the text pages, though often a heavier weight was used. These papers were too tender and weak for many purposes, and very often the books arrived in damaged condition or soon became untidy and “dog-eared” from use. The appearance of the family almanac toward the end of the year in the homes of forty years ago will afford an illustration to those old enough to recall that once-popular domestic institution.
Strength or toughness was, therefore, a primary characteristic of early cover papers, and it remains to-day the first and most vital essential. A cover paper that is not strong enough to withstand the wear and tear of transportation and daily use falls short of its prime purpose.
But it was very soon apparent that strength alone was not enough. Into the art of direct advertising came rapidly developing standards of beauty. Advertising must attract as well as inform, and the first impression of any catalogue or booklet is formed from its cover. The introduction of beautiful colors into cover papers was a logical step, and by the makers of Buckeye Cover it was taken very early. Naturally there was a good deal of experiment and some mistakes were made. Colors were developed in the early days that experience proved to be unstable, of too limited appeal, or impractical for various other reasons. From time to time new colors were added and old ones dropped, until finally the Buckeye Cover line developed into twelve standard colorsif white and black be regarded as colors. This has been found to meet practically every printing requirement, and with the development in advertising art and in the manufacture of color plates, it makes possible an endless variety of effects.
Color in cover paper has another decided advantage apart from its increased attention value. It enables the artist and engraver to so prepare designs and plates that the printer can use the color of the paper for one of the colors in his final picture. This results in the saving of one printing in all color work, and very often results in a finer effect than would otherwise be possible, because in those parts of the design or picture in which the color of the stock is utilized the beautiful texture of the paper itself is preserved unaltered, and it contributes to the softness and distinction of the effect. The saving in money when a two-color effect can be had with a single printing, a three-color effect with two printings, and a four-color effect with three printings, will be apparent to even the least experienced. Moreover, by the intelligent use of Ben Day screens an even wider variation in tone may be had with a minimum of presswork.
Closely related to strength is another quality that is vital in cover paper. It must fold without cracking or breaking, for nearly every advertisement contains one or more folds. To this we give great attention in the making of Buckeye Cover. In the first place, strong fiber must be used, and it must be so treated and beaten in manufacture that these fibers have length as well as strength. Paper making is purely a felting process, and if the matted and interlocking fibers are very short they are likely to pull apart under the stress of folding. The double thick cover papers are made by pasting two sheets together, and are much stiffer and stronger than single sheets. It is necessary to “score” a double thick cover paper, just as it is a piece of bristol board, before a fold is attempted, and it is well to know that the fold should be made on the convex instead of the concave side of the crease. The grain of the paper should be considered when practicable. In paper manufacture the fibers have an inevitable tendency to arrange themselves parallel to the sides, or deckle straps, of the paper machine as they flow in liquid form over the wire, exactly as a log floating down a stream is likely to float “endwise.” The consequence is that there is a perceptible grain in paper. When a sheet is cut off at the end of the machine the grain will be parallel to the machine, while a fold directly across the sheet at right angles to the machine will be “against the grain.” The folding qualities of all papers are better “with the grain” than against it. In our Buckeye Cover “scoring and folding” instruction cards, we score both ways, demonstrating the possibility of making perfect folds of double thick Buckeye Cover either with or against the grain. But this involves proper scoring. In all single thick Buckeye Cover no scoring is necessary, though it may improve the final result. But the general rule of folding “with the grain” is always a wise one.
Toughness in a cover stock is desirable for another reason. In a great deal of high-class advertising the finest effects are obtained by embossing. If the letters or design are merely pressed into the stock by means of dies, it is called “blind embossing;” but if a color is printed on the stock before it is embossed, bringing out the de-sign or letters in color, a finer and more effective result is obtained. To withstand the severe stresses of embossing dies a cover paper must have long and substantial fiber. We have specimens of em-bossing on Buckeye Cover in which the dies used are so deep that there is a difference of level in the various planes far over a quarter inch, and the appearance of the finished work is much like that of a plaster relief cast. This is, of course, a supreme test of the em-bossing qualities of the stock rather than a commercial demonstration, as a cover design so deeply embossed would be in danger of crushing in daily use.
The finish of the surface has a great deal to do with the effectiveness of a cover page. Any great printer will tell you that to get the finest printed results a paper must be used that has an interesting texture. The antique finishes are in most general use, because they are somewhat easier to manipulate in the print shop and because they preserve the texture of the sheet far better than any fancy finish. The ripple finish comes next in favor. It is produced on a plating calender by inserting sheets of very lumpy “ripple board” between the sheets of antique paper and then subjecting them to great pressure and some friction, as the “book” of sheets is run back and forth under the rollers of the “plater.” The effect is, as the name suggests, something like that of water stirred by a slight breeze, and a distinct sheen is imparted to the sheet by the pressure and slippage. A smooth or “plate finish” sheet is produced by using zinc plates instead of ripple board between the sheets, or merely by the skilled use of an ordinary supercalender with its alternate rolls of steel and paper. A crash or linen finish may be put on the sheet by substituting crash or linen cloth for the ripple board and pressing the texture of the cloth into the sheet. The linen finish is very much more common in writing papers than in cover.
There is a vast number of so-called “novelty” covers. Many of these are obtained by impressing the desired pattern into the sheet by means of a plating calender. In this way a great number of designs may be procured. By the application of coating and by special treatments on the paper machine, or after manufacture, a still different group of novelties is produced, many having some-thing of the appearance of leather.
While all of these find their use, they frequently impose sharp limitations upon the printer, requiring skilled treatment and appropriate engravings and colors. Because of these limitations we have endeavored to make Buckeye Cover a more standard type, adaptable to every kind of printing process and artistic treatment. It has always been the feeling of the makers of the Buckeye papers that the business of the paper-maker is to provide a sound and agreeable surface on which the printer will be free to exercise his craftsmanship to the utmost, freed of all restrictions occasioned by the special character of the paper. We cannot divest our minds of the belief that, after all, the embellishment of advertising is the function of the artist and the printer rather than of the manufacturer of paper. It was the chisel of Phidias that made the Melos Venus, and the brush of Leonardo that created the Joconde.
The name “cover paper” is in a sense deceptive and arises, of course, from its primary use. In his comment on typography already quoted the noted printer, Mr. Munder, properly directs the attention of his fellow craftsmen to the possibilities of adding distinction to their work by a more general use of cover stock. As a matter of fact, the actual binding of catalogues and booklets is now but one of a multitude of uses for which we sell Buckeye Cover. In any advertising in which color, strength, folding and embossing qualities and a distinctive texture are desirable, cover paper can profitably be considered. These advantages are obvious in the production of the better kinds of folders and broadsides, because they have to stand much rough handling in transit. For envelope enclosures and package inserts, the color and the eye-arresting effects it aids to produce are the main advantage, as strength is not so important in these uses. But there is, on the other hand, a very keen competition for attention among advertisements of this kind, and a paper that makes your insert stand out from the crowd is a decided advantage. For such uses as programs, menus and many types of greeting cards and announcements, cover paper is finely adapted. Store cards made of cover paper are likely to have a better appearance, and in those forms of cards, whether for wall, window or mailing, in which, by a combination of printing and embossing, a realistic representation of the merchandise is made, cover paper is pre-eminent. The reproduction of Van Heusen collars on Buckeye Cover cards may be cited as a good example. It is not easy to distinguish the reproduction from the original. Leathers and colored fabrics are frequently strikingly reproduced. The minor uses to which we have seen our cover paper successfully put are legion, including such novelties as cigar and egg containers. In general, it may be said that the advertiser and printer will do well to consider the possibilities of cover paper for any kind of work where both strength and good appearance are desirable.
To liken the cover to the clothing with which a person protects and adorns himself is an old but just simile. It is quite as important, relatively, that your advertising be so clothed as to make an agree-able first impression as it is that you wear garments that are of good quality and sound taste.
It would be idle to attempt to set down rules for the creation of cover design, as the subject is as wide as art itself. The first principle is unquestionably propriety. Whether you are using type only or a pictorial design, let it be suggestive of what you are advertising or of one of its outstanding qualities. If you are offering a fine product to a discriminating type of buyers, good judgment will suggest especial restraint and taste in your cover treatment. It is not necessary to use designs or brilliant colors to pro-duce effects that arrest and hold the eye. On the other hand, these treatments are sometimes desirable. If your product is colorful and suggestive of gayety, or if you are preparing advertising for distribution among any of the Latin peoples, who are so fond of color, it would be a mistake to dress it with too much dignity; and drabness is to be shunned on all occasions.
If we should make any comment of general application in cover design we think it would be this: Be careful not to clutter your cover with too much design. Don’t try to put your whole story pictorially on your cover. If you convey a suggestion and arouse a curiosity to look within, you have accomplished all that a cover can be expected to do. We have seen the effect of more covers spoiled by too much design than by too little.
The color of the cover paper should be governed by two considerations. It should be appropriate to the contents of the catalogue or booklet, and to the probable use to which it will be put. Very broadly, articles of luxury are best represented by the more delicate, and articles of pure utility by the heavier colors. An advertisement of jewels or laces could not appropriately be bound in brown or dark-blue or black, nor should dredges or lathes be advertised in turquoise or nile green. An example of the extreme propriety of color is the. use of Buckeye light gray or granite for concrete or stone work, because the texture and color of the paper irresistibly suggest these materials. In any multicolor cover design an effort should be made to secure part of the picture by an intelligent utilization of the color of the stock.
While well-conceived and artistically executed pictorial designs are most effective as a whole, very fine results can often be obtained by the use of type and rules alone. Embossing, of course, adds much to the effect of lettering.
When results approximating a water color or painting are de-sired, the offset process may be considered for large runs, as it produces soft yet colorful effects. The use of hand lettering on covers is, properly, very general, as more individuality is possible than with any standard type face.
Nearly everything that has been said with regard to covers is of equal application to envelopes, which are, we suppose, the most neglected of all sources of advertising value. The envelope is primarily protective, but the terrific competition of advertising demands of it more than the protection of the thing it contains. An envelope manufacturer happily describes it as “the first thing seen, the last thing thought about.” This is unfortunately true.
An advertisement going to the desk of a busy man who receives much mail is in great danger of going unopened into the waste basket if the envelope does not carry a suggestion of something of quality and interest within. On the other hand, if it makes a distinguished appearance, in happy contrast with the general run of the mail, it is certain to gain consideration. When catalogues and booklets cost from ten cents to two dollars each, it is false economy to send them out in a tawdry envelope containing no suggestion of the beauty or worth of the contents.
Again we quote from a comment, written for The Beckett Paper Company, by Mr. Norman T. A. Munder:
“However handsome or valuable may be the booklet or other form of advertisement sent out, if it reaches the prospect in a mediocre or shabby-looking envelope, he immediately labels it `unimportant,’ and it is mighty likely to have a swift journey to the waste basket without being opened. People expect valuable things in fine packagesa diamond in a handsome box, not a match box; a high-grade man in good clothing, not in shoddy; a worth-while something in a quality envelope, not in manila. Business men like to pick up in the morning mail a handsome envelope, interestingly treated, and they will look for something worth while inside. If the booklet enclosed has an interesting cover the recipient will go farther into it and into the message it brings. Why will some short-sighted advertisers invest the proper amount in really attractive advertising and then, to `save’ a very small proportion of the total expenditure, send it out in a cheap-looking envelopea direct invitation to the waste basket?”
The answer to Mr. Munder’s pertinent question is, we think, not obscure. The reason this grave mistake is habitually made is pure thoughtlessness. The advertiser and the printer are so en-grossed in their major task that no thought is given the envelope until the job is almost ready for the mail. Then any kind of make-shift envelope that can be quickly secured is used. As a matter of fact, the envelope is the sole insurance of fine advertising, and should be as much a part of the plan as the cover or text. Many good printers have told us that when they sold a fine job they could, by merely suggesting it, sell a cover paper envelope to match in at least nine cases out of ten. This is good business from every standpoint. It makes more work for the printer and gives the advertiser a result that far more than offsets the trifling additional cost of using a cover paper envelope to match.
It was this situation that led us to bring out Buckeye Cover envelopes, and to stock them so that they might be more readily obtained. An envelope of the same color and texture as your booklet or catalogue, with a corner device suggestive of the con-tents, is an invaluable adjunct to good direct mail advertising.
The text, or printing paper, constitutes the largest item in the preparation of most advertisements that partake of book form. Of these papers there are many varieties and grades. The antique printing papers, with or without deckle edges, are now used in a very wide range of the finer advertising. They are suggestive of the early and much-admired hand-made papers of past centuries, and lend themselves readily to the most artistic and distinguished results. The surfaces are varied and interesting, and their non-reflecting qualities make them the easiest of all papers on the eyes of the reader. Almost all really fine printing is done on papers of this class, and these papers are the joy of the artistic typographer.
The quality of such papers varies according to the materials used in their manufacture. This ranges all the way from pure wood pulp to ioo per cent rag. The chief advantage of the rag stock is its enduring quality rather than its appearance. A pure rag paper will last for many centuries without material deterioration, as an examination of the early books in any important library will disclose. By the proper admixture of rag and wood pulp, papers may be produced which will lose nothing in appearance and will have a far greater span of life than is ordinarily required. While those who want the very best, regardless of cost, will continue to prefer pure rag printing papers, the great bulk of the better printing and advertising requirements can be adequately met by the papers of mixed content. It was this fast-growing demand for a paper of really artistic appearance and of enduring quality that led The Beckett Paper Company to bring out its Buckeye Antique Text papers as a complement to Buckeye Cover.
Like most other text papers, these stocks are made in both laid and wove. These are terms familiar to all users of paper, and they have their origin in the early days when all paper was made in hand molds. The Chinese are commonly supposed to have been the first paper-makers. Their primitive molds, in use perhaps as early as the beginning of the Christian era, consisted of frames of bamboo, over which was stretched a woven cloth. This produced a sheet having something of the uniform texture of the cloth, and thus originated the descriptive name of “wove” as applied to all papers having an uniform and unmarked surface.
In another form of mold fibers of bamboo or similar plant were laid in parallel lines and held in position by being sewed at intervals with horsehair, flax thread, or the like. The paper taken from such a mold showed the patterns of the cross fibers and the sewing, and .thus early these cross marks became known as “laid” marks, and the line of the sewing as “chain” marks.
The paper machine, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, displaced the hand mold, but the wove and laid papers continued. The effect is now secured by means of the “dandy roll” revolving against the sheet when it is still wet and impressionable and before it has left the wire of the Fourdrinier. The “wove” dandy roll is covered with plain wire screen, while the “laid” dandy has cross-wires to make the laid marks and chains extending around the roll at short intervals. In some antique papers in which an effort is made to imitate the early papers accurately, intentional irregularities are introduced into the manufacture of the dandy roll. Laid marks may be accentuated or diminished by increasing or reducing the pressure of the dandy roll on the forming sheet. They are most readily seen when the sheet is held to the light, as they are produced in exactly the same way as are the watermarks so commonly employed for the identification of writing and printing papers.
Many smoother forms of book paper are manufactured and are in wide use because of their adaptability to special kinds of work and their lower cost. Periodicals and commercial books could not advantageously be printed on rag content antique finish papers. The ordinary sized and super-calendered (S. and S. C.) book papers are made of wood pulp, usually a mixture of sulphite and soda pulps. They are comparatively inexpensive, much better looking, and more lasting than newsprint, and smooth enough to accept any form of ordinary commercial halftone. When a lower finish is wanted, only the calenders attached to the paper machine are used. This produces a sufficiently smooth but less brilliant surface, and is known as machine finish. The so-called “English finish” is between the two.
The introduction of the halftone engraving process, about the year 189o, was quickly followed by a demand for a very smooth surface, capable of receiving the impressions of the finest screen halftone plates. The coated papers or enamels were the response. The utmost detail in a halftone plate can be preserved in printing on these papers, in the manufacture of which every microscopic irregularity in the surface of the paper is filled with an impalpable China clay, fixed with casein, a glue made from milk. By calendering, a surface almost glass-like is produced. The great advantage of paper of this type lies in its receptiveness to very fine and light impressions. Its principal objections are its reflecting quality, making it rather hard on the eyes in any continuous reading, and the brittleness due to the coating. These have been met in some measure by the introduction of duller coatings and ivory and India tints and by the making of special sheets described as folding enamels.
Writing and bond papers constitute the third great classification of advertising papers. They vary from the highest grade bonds and ledgerswhich are made of nothing but new rags, and are the most enduring papers obtainabledown through a multitude of gradations to the all-wood sulphite bonds. Generally speaking, bond and writing papers are characterized by hardness, which makes them stiff and “crackly.” They must be heavily sized so that liquid ink will not spread and run through the fibers. Since books of record and many letters are important through long periods, the better grades of writing and ledger papers must be free from rapid deterioration and must be strong enough to stand indefinite handling. This involves the liberal use of rag fiber in manufacture, and the very best bonds and ledgers are, of course, ioo per cent rag.
But there are many less exacting uses for papers of this type, and a grade may be found suitable in price and character for every one of them. The three main subdivisions are: permanent, semi-permanent (or statutory), and temporary. Papers of the second class are intended to endure long enough to meet all ordinary legal requirements, but papers in the third class are not intended for records or documents that are to be retained through a considerable time. A large manufacturer of bond papers enumerates the various uses of this type of paper as follows: letter-heads, invoices, statements, checks, drafts, notes, contracts, purchase orders, receipts, inter-department letters, file copies, acknowledgments, price lists, mortgages, deeds, stock certificates, insurance policies, inventory forms, requisitions, shop orders, stock reports, receiving reports, time slips, memoranda, reference booklets.