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French Paper Visit

I spent half a day at French Paper on my way out to Grand Rapids for a visit to The Factory and a little gig with the AIGA of Western Michigan. The Niles Michigan mill has a special place in House history because Andy and I stopped there nearly two decades ago in the first day of our partnership on our way to our first press check for our first client.

Paper is still a relevant, effective and necessary means of communication. While it might be a bit of industry propaganda, this video produced by International Paper provides an alternate view on the effectiveness and perceived efficiency of digital media as a marketing tool. Through attrition, plant closings and mergers, our choices for high-quality printing papers are rapidly diminishing. For our own sake, we hope that designers will help keep small mills like French afloat by carefully considering their paper choices.

We hope more designers make this pilgrimage, so here are some snaps to whet your appetite:


…if you like French.


Ghosts of colored paper past. French has the best spectrum in the business.


French re-uses water used in the manufacturing process for the week, so Monday is white paper day and the colors get progressively darker. Wednesday was a blue day.


All trimmings and scrap are re-used to make darker papers.


Each paper carton is packed by hand, giving French a unique and effective step in the quality control process.


French has generated their own power since 1928. The first of four turbines, this one has been running for 83 years.


Jerry and Brian French.

Posted by on October 30, 2011