We love paper. As designers, we’re constantly following new advertising trends-responsive websites, 3D printing, avoiding QR codes at all costs-but there’s nothing like a perfect printed piece. We’re lucky to have some of the best paper in the world made just down the hill from our office. Finch paper is bright, smooth, and holds color beautifully. We love each opportunity we have to work with them and print on their stock.
2015 marks Finch Paper’s 150th anniversary. Founded as Finch, Pruyn & Company in 1865, they ran logs from the Adirondack Mountains down the Hudson River, and converted them into lumber for homes and businesses. In 1905, they began turning this lumber into paper. For the most part, Finch’s paper is still made the same way it was over 100 years ago-portions of some of their paper making machines have been on site since 1905.
Finch has long been an innovator in paper making, and has been at the forefront of responsible multiple-use forestry since hiring Howard Churchill, the nation’s first professional forester, in the 1910s. In 2007, Finch Paper sold their 161,000-acres of Adirondack forest to The Nature Conservancy who, in turn, entrusted the Finch foresters to continue responsible management of the forest.
Beth Povie, Director of Branding and Communications at Finch, contacted us late last year to begin work on a brochure to mark Finch’s 150th Anniversary. She challenged us to come up with something unique for this important piece. We discussed the idea of a pop-up, where the Finch 150th Anniversary logo that John Coleman created last summer could take center stage, while the overall look of the piece would match the general size and feel of existing pieces, so they could continue to work as a series.
We met with Eileen Murray, Secretary to the Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Eileen is one of the longest-tenured employees at Finch, and the company’s resident historian. Sitting at a long conference table, we began to dig through photos dating back to the late 1800’s and collateral materials from the 1950’s through present day. Eileen and Beth told us stories and shared interesting bits of Finch trivia. For example, the “Impact” line of 50 lb. Finch/Pruyn stock—in shades of Jonquil, Azure Blue, Coral and Mint Green—was the base stock for the printing of Monopoly money.
As the table began to disappear under a stack of historical materials, I thought about integrating a collage of these pieces into the booklet. I rushed back to the office and began scanning away.
John Coleman told us “make sure they show you the photo of the guys in the plant without shoes.” As a former employee of Finch, John’s familiarity with Finch’s brand standards, historical background and knowledge of the paper making process itself were extremely helpful throughout this project.
We began working on the production of the piece’s assembly in mid-December. Testing showed that we were able to build a template that printed two-sided on one 24” x 36” sheet, where the center pop-up section folded back up onto the piece-this allowed us to have a full four-color version of the collage appear inside the cone formed by the pop-up.
In addition to the booklet, we got the go-ahead to refresh the “How Finch paper is made” poster that the company has produced a few of times over the years. This poster is a fold-out piece that is inserted into the larger sales piece. One of the materials we borrowed from Finch was a 30 year old version of this poster. While the piece from the ‘80s was helpful for content, I was stylistically inspired by a line drawing of the paper making process from a piece of Finch/Pruyn collateral dating back to the 1950’s. I enlisted Will to help me brainstorm this insert, and he agreed to work on a “Willustration” that evoked that earlier style.
I joined Beth on a tour of the plant to see the paper making process first-hand. I was able to photograph various elements of the process for the insert, and even borrow some of the large photos hanging on the walls to round out the historical photos featured in the brochure.
Beth and I travelled to AM Lithography in Chicopee, MA for a press check. AM Litho specializes in unique packaging and intricate dies and folds, which made them an ideal choice for our gatefold working around a pop-up. We saw additional comps of the final die for the piece, and worked on press to ensure color was just right.
It was fascinating to be on press with Beth. She knows all the intricacies and strengths of printing on Finch stock-in this case, a Finch Fine, Bright White, Ultra Smooth, 65# Cover. Beth challenged me on some of my instincts with regards to color correction-for example, when the cover was reading too green, we bumped up the density of the Cyan, Magenta and Black inks instead of pulling back on the Yellow. Beth told us “the paper is starving. It’s craving more ink.” The proof is in the crisp, vibrant, finished product.
Since the early days of Finch, Pruyn & Company, paper making has been a vital source of employment in the Glens Falls area. The chance to work on the Finch account as I’ve returned to my hometown after years of being away has been a great opportunity. Finch’s history is a large part of this area’s history and it has been a great deal of fun working to bring that history to life.
Here’s to the next 150 years!