“Basically, when the customer wants to add value and a certain feeling to their product, it’s our job to know which papers are available on the market and how the quality differs”
The importance of choosing the right paper for a product should not be underestimated. Roel Baaima and Stefan Schiffer from MSM Media in Hamburg know this well. For 20 years, the company has been advising customers across Europe on which paper to choose to achieve the desired result.
“The feel of the paper is very important. And then the paper is no longer just a paper, because there are very big differences,” says managing director and founder, Baaima. After many years of working with graphic printing machines, he knows in detail what is needed from a paper for the desired result. So too, does Stefan Schiffer, managing director, who grew up in a family of book printers.
“Basically, when the customer wants to add value and a certain feeling to their product, it’s our job to know which papers are available on the market and how the quality differs,” says Schiffer.
A neutral advisor
But exactly which paper works best is a more difficult question still. As a neutral advisor, MSM Media has to have an overview of production throughout Europe. “There is constant change. New products are launched, others disappear, and in some cases paper of a certain quality is only produced for a short time,” says Schiffer, outlining their task.
A clear trend across Europe is a growing interest in uncoated matt paper for magazines.
“This is, of course, related to carbon footprint. In the Scandinavian countries particularly, there is an increased interest in it,” says Baaima, adding, “It’s also easier to read on matt paper. Your eyes don’t get as tired as they do on glossy paper.”
Enhancing the publication
Publishers and magazines often turn to MSM Media to enhance their publications. But mail-order companies too, realise the importance of choosing the right paper to print their offers.
“They look at how different papers affect their turnover. Are they gaining or losing customers, increasing or decreasing orders? You wouldn’t think so as an outsider, but the choice of paper is so important,” says Baaima.
Monsieur stands out
When a magazine changes its paper, the result can be a completely new product. For the re-launch of exclusive lifestyle magazine Monsieur, for example, MSM Media suggested using Holmen TRND paper.
“The format was significantly reduced with the re-launch. We needed an effect to make it stand out. So we suggested Holmen TRND, because of its feel and high volume,” says Schiffer.
Lower weight keeps postage costs down
Despite a page thickness of 0.16 mm, Holmen TRND weighs 40% less than comparable papers. And weight is something MSM Media keeps an eye on to keep customers’ postage costs down.
However, the decisive argument in favour of Holmen TRND was its appearance. With a matt and slightly rough surface, Monsieur continues to catch the eye in the magazine rack, despite its now smaller format.
“It’s also easier to read on matt paper. Your eyes don’t get as tired as they do on glossy paper.”
Several issues have come out since the relaunch and the choice of paper has been more than well-received. “110% enthusiasm. The reception couldn’t be better,” says Schiffer.
This text is written by Carl Undehn and was originally published in PAPER 6. Images by: Jann Lipka.