Open Enrollment | Subscribe to Printing Impressions HERE
Follow us on
Sabine Lenz

Making the Grade

By Sabine Lenz

About Sabine

Sabine Lenz is the founder of, the first online paper database and community specifically designed for paper specifiers.

Growing up in Germany, Sabine started her design career in Frankfurt, before moving to Australia and then the United States. She has worked on design projects ranging from corporate identities to major road shows and product launches. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, her list of clients included Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Deutsche Bank, IBM and KPMG.

Seeing designers struggle worldwide to stay current with new papers and paper trends inspired Sabine to create PaperSpecs, an independent and comprehensive Web-based paper database and weekly e-newsletter. She is also a speaker on paper issues and the paper industry. Some refer to her lovingly as the "paper queen" who combines her passion for this wonderful substrate called paper with a hands-on approach to sharing her knowledge. 


Stationery with Style (Video)

Michelle Yang, Ben Graham and Steve Watson from Seattle-based design firm Turnstyle, created an identity and corresponding stationery system that is not only graphically memorable, but also sports a tactile memorability—all while oozing sophistication.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Keeping Score: Business Cards vs. Smartphones

When do you give out most of your business cards? Yep, when you see people. And as a lot of business is done face to face, there's nothing like a really nice business card to break the ice when you first sit down to meet a client or network with a peer at a tradeshow.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Enchanted Wedding Invitation (Video)

This week, Sabine Lenz, from PaperSpecs, highlights a wedding invitation line from RoxyLou Design + Press in North Attleboro, MA. A flowing engraved script; a tender pink, gold and yellow palette; romantic curling tendrils and tiny butterflies make up this beautiful invitation.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Business Cards Made From Wood - So Yesterday, Or Is It?

Over the last few years, we’ve seen our share of wood veneer business cards, but the veneer and printing industries have evolved. But let’s back up for a second and look at the amazing way these substrates are created. And believe me, this is worth a sales call to a potential customer all by itself.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Stitch the Stars Calendar Craft Kit (Video)

Mama's Sauce, a boutique letterpress and silkscreen print shop in Orlando, FL, designed this fun and interactive 2013 calendar craft kit. Printed on French Paper in Construction Nightshift Blue, this piece was designed for the hands-on personality.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

The Martini Client – Stir Them with a Twist While Adding a Twist

It was around Valentine’s Day when a red-striped promotional piece captured my paper lover’s attention within a millisecond. GLS, a single-source marketing services provider based in Minnesota, used CMYK and a triple hit of white to produce a beautiful striped pattern and ribbon effect. But it was the striking look and velvety feel of some of the hearts and stripes in the design that left me weak in the knees.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

ID Image+Design Identity (Video)

So how would a designer drill down to the core identity for a dental design firm? Take a look at this week's video from Sabine Lenz to find out.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Is Good Business Sense Derailing Your Success?

You have no choice. When a hand-addressed envelope crosses your path, you won’t be able to toss it out. Your impulse to find out who made the extra effort to get your attention is too great. You have to open it. And this is your first step to success.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

The Red Night Invitation (Video)

This invitation grabbed our attention here at PaperSpecs. Red wines are the theme of the evening, and the letters R-E-D figure as the prominent design element in a clever marriage of the word and the color.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

QR Codes: The Silent Killer of Your Brand

Marketers seem to think that the mere use of a QR code is enough. Utilizing a QR code without a major incentive will leave a bad taste in your client’s mouth and might end up doing more damage to the brand than good.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

The Best Design Doesn't Live in a Cloister (Includes Video)

The best design reflects the culture of its time. And that's what I love about this invitation for the annual Luminocity Gala 2012, which is known for being a fashion-forward event. Drawing inspiration from the fashion forecast, the designers incorporated trending colors and styles.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Help Your Clients Cheat...and be Rewarded

As we all know in marketing, we have mere seconds to grab the buyer’s attention and interest. Rising to the top of the pile of glossy magazine-style catalogs that 99 percent of retailers send, the Anthropologie catalog always catches my immediate attention. Yes, it’s gorgeously designed. But more importantly, it’s printed on uncoated paper...well, the cover is. And this is what I mean by cheating.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Revista Cruce Magazine: A Textural Experience

Spanish magazine Revista Cruce, is gorgeous from the first of its 44 pages to the last. The variety of papers used in the magazine work together seamlessly—conveying the personality of the publication, enhancing the stories and bringing out the best in photographs.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

5-Day Mail Delivery: Your Door to More Business

We’ve all seen the signs for years. Three pieces one day. Five the next. Mondays, now that’s another story...10 pieces in my mailbox this week. While our e-mail inboxes are bursting from perpetual overload (I’m lucky if I keep mine under 100), our physical mailboxes become emptier and emptier.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Attido Identity

The package that you are about to view from the team is a clear example of how "less is more." The bold black type on bright yellow stock screams strength and detail awareness, and conveys a simple, clear identity that oozes trust.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Cheap Design Can Cost You

For whom do you create your promotional materials? If your target group includes a number of creatives and marketing professionals...I rest my case. Think of your reaction to a badly printed piece. Yep, be honest now. I’ve seen my fair share of ineffective, ill-conceived printer self-promotions. But I’ve also seen some incredible, breathtaking ones—all of which were created in collaboration with a great design team.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

Is Print Dead? Why the Question Just Won't Die

At first, I dismissed the online discussion surrounding this question with a shoulder shrug and a “Really? Are we still talking about this?” Digital may sing and dance, but when I hold a good printed piece, it communicates in tangible ways that tablets and smartphones can’t.

Industry Centers:

Gather Journal Uses Uncoated Stock to Set the Plate

The Gather Journal, a new food and lifestyle magazine, has published a gorgeous premiere issue. Printed entirely on uncoated stock, the journal’s deeply saturated images evoke an intimate mood on this paper. From the mouthwatering recipes and photography to the nutritious essays and enticing graphic design, it is satisfying in every way.  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

If You Make Just One Resolution, this Should Be It!

I’ve always been a proponent of clean mailing lists. Why would you want to ship your or a client’s direct mail piece or catalog to anyone that is not remotely interested? So, as we approach the New Year and resolutions are bound to be made:  Read More >>

Industry Centers:

The Beauty of this ‘Gala on the Bridge’ Invitation Spans Its Design and Materials

We at PaperSpecs would happily pay the toll to cross this bridge. The event invitation is an amazing blend of design and materials, right from the covers on. Two sheets of actual wood veneer have been printed and tipped onto the first and last panel of an accordion fold.  Read More >>

Industry Centers: