Myth Busting: Surprising Stats on Paper and the Environment

Busting Myths about Print and Paper

Paper is a sustainable, green, renewable resource – but the paper and printing industry still have to work hard to increase the realization of this in consumers’ minds. Somehow, a lingering, hazy misconception persists that “PRINT/PAPER BAD, DIGITAL GOOD” when it comes to the environment – simply not true. Perhaps a lot of this false information was perpetuated by the “help the environnment, don’t print out this email” tagline so many folks attach to their digital messages. (This myth is also debunked here.) Its is eye-opening to consider just a couple of facts about the environmental integrity of the print industry. Think about this:

The U.S. forest products industry plants more than 4 million trees… EVERY DAY!

Every day. That adds up to 1.5 billion a year. The result: the US has roughly the same number of forest acreage as we had 100 years ago, before industrialization began! Forest growth exceeds tree removal by 36% each year. (source)

Now on the other side of this equation lies the common misconception that desktop and mobile information consumption is greener than print – consider these startling facts:

A person who reads a printed newspaper daily for a year uses 20% less CO2 than one reading news online for 30 minutes each day. (source)

By 2020, data servers in the U.S. will be the single largest users of electricity. (source)


No one’s trying to tilt at windmills and say paper should always be used over digital communications. But it is very important to have an accurate understanding of the environmental impacts of our energy and information consumption habits throughout the communicaitons “mix.” Paper is biodegradable, sustainable and produced by an industry hard at work to maintain a healthy environment and the healthy forests that are essential to the industry’s survival.

Rely on your printer for advice and direction with your concerns about sustainability and you or your business’ commitment to being a good environmental steward. They should be able to offer you information and options for paper, ink and FSC certified products that will help you print and market in a sustainable manner. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer. The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

Explore Emerald in 2013 – Pantone’s New Color of the Year

Emerald 17-5641

The Color of the Year for 2013: Emerald.

Each December, Pantone® makes their selection. As the Pantone Matching System is used across all creative industries as a color standard, the annual selection has come to be influential for many designers and is chosen with careful consideration to the marketplace and overall consumer culture of the day.

Pantone says their choice for the new year is “a vivid verdant green” that “enchances our sense of well-being further by inspiring insight as well as promoting balance and harmony.” That’s a big job for one color! They note that green is “the most abundant hue in nature, the human eye sees more green than any other color in the sprectrum.”

Emerald is Pantone's color of the year

I’m beginning to notice that all the Pantone Color of the Year choices seem to fit together nicely in a single palette of colors. While it is a very pleasant, organic palette I just might use on a project soon, I’d really like to see a choice from way out of left field for 2014….. something dark or unexpected to inspire some variety.

We’ve written in this blog before about “color psychology” which interprets perceptions of green as balanced, organic, rejuvenating and renewing. The association of the color with the gemstone adds an element of luxury and sophistication to the hue, but also a feeling of hardness or durability. Does PMS 3278C do it for you? Visit the Pantone website to download the color palettes for Adobe applications and begin to make emerald. the star of your next marketing campaign.

Rely on your printer for advice and direction in creating and distributing your newsletters, by mail or online. They should be able to provide you with everything from encouragement all the way to the complete design, layout, copywriting, production, multi-purposing and distribution of your periodic marketing outreach. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!
ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

We Love Paper: 4 Favorites and a Few Resource Tips

We love paper. Its feel, smell, texture, weight. Selecting the right paper for a print project is an important part of the design of any printed piece. We understand that most designers and print buyers are not experts on paper, nor do they have the time to become one! They, therefore, rely on a good relationship with their printer to make smart paper selections. It can get confusing: matte, glossy, semi-gloss, premium, UV coating, lamination, caliper, grain direction, brightness, opacity. Then there’s all the information about recyclable content, chain of custody and other green concerns. Throw in the chemistry involved when ink or toner hits the paper and you encounter terms like dot gain, absorbency, coating, rasterization. A lot of science lives behind the manufacture of paper and the printing process itself. So how do you begin to choose the right paper for your job in the face of so many choices? Paper choices and the confusing selection available

Let’s start with a wide view, by looking at a few manufacturers of quality lines of paper for print. Below are a few of our favorites – papers that are affordable, yet offer top quality performance. They all come in offerings of varied finishes, grades, weights, colors and are optimized for both press and digital printing.

Sappi Flo – an industry standard print paper at an affordable price. High quality and environmentally sustainable. (Sappi also produces a hilarious online video series about the insanity in a local print shop called “Off Register.” Well worth checking out!)

Domtar Cougar – a great environmental choice, Cougar papers offer vibrant color contrast, smoothness and high quality.

Classic from Neenah – the Classic line from Neenah, aptly named, offers best-in-class quality, performance, compatibility and availability. The family includes Classic Crest, Classic Columns, Classic Cotton, Classic Laid and Classic Linen.

Mohawk – fine paper and envelopes, engineered for brilliant color, runability and detailed images.

There are five basic grades of paper: bond, offset or uncoated book, coated book, text, and cover. Within each of these grades are varieties of content, appearance, end use, original purpose, grain direction, finish, opacity, brightness… you get the idea. You have a LOT of choices. And in the realm of specialty papers, there are even more. With your printer’s help, you can narrow down what selection will work best for your project and budget. All major paper manufacturers are happy to supply samples, information and guidance on paper purchases.

In the process of browsing for the right paper, you might get curious about some terms you run across, such as sizing (a solution added to paper pulp to make it less absorbent), brightness (the percentage of a wavelength of blue light that paper reflects), caliper (the thickness of a sheet of paper, measured in 1/1000ths of an inch and referred to as point size), or acid free (paper with no acid, they have a pH higher than 7 and alkaline properties to resist aging). For a great detailed glossary of all things paper, check out the Glatfelter site. They are a global provider of specialty print papers. Or call us. As mentioned earlier… we love paper.

ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

Print Green: a Glossary of Green Acronyms & Terminology

Good for the environment. Good for business. The printing industry has a renewed commitment to environmental sustainability, due in part to an undeserved assumption among many that printing and paper are destructive to the environment. Paper is a renewable resource, and the printing industry works diligently with conservationists, forest management and environmentalists to ensure healthy working forests. To be sure you are supporting that effort – and to show your customers and others your commitment – read up on these common acronyms and the green terminology used when discussing green print and environmental matters:

Acronyms and Terms used in Green Printing

FSCThe Forest Stewardship Council, an international non-profit organization that sets standards and provides certification, trademark and accreditation for companies working with responsible forestry around the world.

SFIThe Sustainable Forestry Initiative, non-profit organizaton that promotes sustainable forest management across North America and certifies fiber sourcing requirements to promote responsible forest management.

PEFCProgramme for the Endoresemnt of Forest Certification, promotes sustainably managed forests through independent third party certification.

COC – Chain of custody. This is the path paper travels, beginning in the forest and continuing through harvest, transport, manufacture, printing and finally purchase.

PCF & TCF – Processed Chlorine Free and Totally Chlorine Free. Refers to paper produced without the use of chlorine or chlorine compounds. PCF paper contains recyclable content, while TCF is 100% virgin paper.

ECF – Elemental Chlorine Free. Refers to paper that does not use elemental chlorine to bleach wood pulp white in the manufacturing process. It uses chlorine dioxide instead.

Enhanced ECF – Enchanced Elemental Chlorine Free, uses hydrogen peroxide or ozone, rather than chlorine or chlorine dioxide, to bleach wood pulp white.

Green-e – the nations’s leading certification program for renewable energy. Green-e is a consumer protection program, selling renewable energy and greenhouse gas reductions in the retail market, and certifying products produced with these green standards.

Rainforest Alliance Certification – comprehensive program to promote and guarantee sound environmental improvements in agriculture and forestry. The Rainforest Alliance certifies goods and services that protect the environment, wildlife, workers and local communities.

Post-consumer waste – paper that has already been used by consumers once and is recovered for recycling.

Pre-consumer waste – paper that has been produced but never been used by the consumer.

recycled fiber – Fiber that has been recycled and reprocessed into a new product. It includes both post- and pre-consumer waste.

endangered forest – any rare, threatened or biologically significant forest area that cannot be logged or harvested without risking irreparable destruction.

virgin wood – wood that has been harvested from the forest, whether sawn or whole, before it has been processed further into paper or other products.

Remember, paper is renewable, sustainable and biodegradable. Responsible use of paper is green. Next time you get an email with that little disclaimer about saving paper, if you really need a printed copy, go ahead. Print that email out if you need to – guilt-free.

Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.


GO GREEN – Conservation Stamps Promote Sustainability

At Imagesmith, we work toward sustainability in our business every day. As a provider of mailing services, we are happy to see that the U.S. Postal Service shares that commitment and is promoting social awareness with their latest stamps: “Go Green.”

Energy & Resource Conservation


USA Go Green Postage Stamp
Use 'green' stamps to highlight your commitment to the environment.

The sheet of 16 Forever stamps was issued on April 14, 2011 and highlights simple messages for energy conservation: sharing rides, using public transportation, turning off lights and leaky faucets, recycling, use of energy-efficient lightbulbs, and other easy practices everyone can implement. When you use these stamps on your personal mail or business communications, you both show your interest in sustainability and help promote awareness of the things everyone can do to help.

A History of Conservation

The press release from the USPS about these stamps and the first-day-of-issue ceremony, explains how the organization has a long history of conservation and sustainability. Their first electric vehicle? 1899! The USPS operates over 44,000 alternative fuel capable delivery vehicles today and are the only mailing/shipping company in the world whose stamp and shipping supplies earned “Cradle to Cradle” Certification, meeting standards for human and environmental health and recyclability.

The “Go Green” stamps can be ordered online at

ImageSmith offers complete business mailing services – give us a call at 828.684.4512 or contact us online for great information on ways to save money on your next marketing/mail campaign.