50 Shades of Teal, but not the Right One

It didn’t seem like such an unusual request when a printer friend of mine asked, “Can you help me find a matching color?

“I checked with my paper merchants, but they couldn’t help. If we can get this paper, we have a client for life,” this printer explained.

Well, I do like a good challenge!

One of the benefits of keeping a paper database of more than 4,300 papers up to date is that we have ample paper samples at our fingertips. So it was easy to narrow down my search electronically and then compare the exact shade of teal from the letterhead sample my friend sent to our swatchbooks.

Off I went merrily comparing.

What started out as a “this-won’t-take-long” project turned into my own, personal mission. I couldn’t have been more determined had he said, “Go ahead. I double dog dare ya!”

None of the papers I pulled was an exact match (and believe me, pull I did). The teal-ish color was just a bit more green than most. And the letterhead sample was just a tad smoother than the wove options that were at least a close color match.

I hate to admit it, but I finally had to declare defeat. In all likelihood, the original sheet had been discontinued a while ago, and even our backup books couldn’t help anymore.

If All Else Fails…

This might have been the end of my story; and if the need had been for 5,000 sheets of 8.5×11˝ paper, it probably would have been. But this was a big client with a huge order, and I didn’t want to let my friend down. It was a make-or-break situation.

Luckily, there was still one more option to explore.

Custom-made Order

Even my printer friend was not aware of this option. So, listen up—most mills offer a custom-making program.

Sabine Lenz is the founder of PaperSpecs.com, 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. 

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  • Paul Gardner

    Even having ordered special runs many times, I was surprising indeed to learn that 25% of Neenah’s production is making orders!

    Seems that customization is a high-value approach not just for printers, but for those supplying printers as well.

    Any time I hear someone say "customer for life", I’m listening.

    Thanks for the insight!