Closing the Loop

In my very early years at HOW, recycled paper (heck, the idea of recycling itself, even) was a very new thing. So new that nobody spec’d recycled paper. Printers refused to run it. Its inherent speckles, blotches and inconsistencies meant that photos printed poorly on recycled stock, and papers routinely jammed up printing equipment.

Much has changed.

On April 1, Mohawk Fine Papers announced the debut of an entirely new line of environmentally friendly papers called Loop. It’s the first major grade launch that’s caught our attention the way that Neenah’s Eames line did a couple of years ago.

Loop is notable for its breadth: what Mohawk touts as the largest assortment of 100% postconsumer-waste papers, 35 colors and 8 finishes (including a “silk” coated finish), matching envelopes, and a range of weights including paperboard for packaging.

Wisely, the new Loop promotion is trashcan-proof—it doubles as a desk calendar and is loaded with facts a designer can share with clients to convince them to use recycled paper, plus resources from AIGA’s Center for Sustainable Design and tips on printing and production. The promo was designed by Gaby Brink and her team at Tomorrow Partners. A companion swatchbook by Aurora Design reminds you why you’ve loved paper-company swatchbooks for your entire design career.

The papers themselves are lovely: speckly if you want your piece to look like it’s on recycled stock, or smooth and pristine if you want to be sustainable but not shout about it. The colors are natural without being crunchy-granola. The laid and linen stocks would do well for a schmancy identity system.