Neenah unveils unexpected design combinations in its newest book – The Alchemy of Design

Alchemy is an ancient practice that blends science with spiritual beliefs. Practitioners of early Greek alchemy believed that nature’s four basic elements – air, fire, water and earth – were the basis of all matter. The practice later became more scientific, often used in attempts to magically transform lesser-valued metals into precious gold. Neenah has embraced this concept of combining and transforming in its newest promotional book, The Alchemy of Design. Auburne Gahlman, Marketing Manager at Neenah, explains: “This is an inspiration book that reinterprets the meaning of alchemy within the realm of print design, where the four essential elements are audience, message, paper and print. The Alchemy of Design demonstrates ways to creatively combine those elements to amplify everyday design projects. Even those projects that have lower design budgets are still expected to have high impact. Throughout the book, the designs explore mixing and mingling of paper colours and textures, inspiring designers to think outside of that one swatchbook.”

Neenah Astrobrights’ hangtags.
Neenah Astrobrights’ hangtags.

Designed by Willoughby Design, The Alchemy of Design blends three different Neenah brands – Royal Sundance, Astrobrights and Environment Papers – in highly creative and unexpected ways. Presented in a beautiful, die-cut slipcase, the 9” x 11” double-sided accordion-fold book takes deep dives into four different branding projects (for a total of over 20 printed pull-out samples) each using the three different Neenah grades to add layers of colour, texture and impact. For example, Earth | Worth is a handcrafted ceramic home goods brand featured in Alchemy.

Neenah Revel In The Rain promotional package.
Revel In The Rain promotional package.

Knowing that a brochure is the single printed piece most handled by its loyal and potential customers, the brand uses the toothy texture of Royal Sundance to evoke the weighty and natural essence of its products. The brand package extends to the smooth touch and natural shades of Environment, coupled with an accent of Astrobrights’ Terra Green, to create a hangtag system (above). Using three complimentary papers for a hangtag system, and printing them all in one signle run with one colour, is a low-cost/high ROI idea for expressing the brand’s personality at the point of sale, said Neenah.

A free copy of The Alchemy of Design (valued at $10.99 USD) is available through Neenah representatives.




Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.