Ink on Paper

Presented by Nathan Mallmann of Neenah Paper and Mike Flanders of Mallard Ink

Nathan Mallmann and Mike Flanders co-presented an informational seminar promoted as, helping to elevate your print projects. The presentation was engaging and informative, sparking constructive questions and conversations from the audience.

Mallmann began the presentation stating, “The world goes around in white paper by volume, but I’m here to introduce you to some cool and creative options.”

Mallmann followed with some high-level background information about paper used in the print industry and specifically about the Neenah Paper Company, stating that most of their paper is produced in Wisconsin and the wood comes from sustainable forestry lands.

“Did you know that paper production is one of the greenest industries,” Mallmann asked the audience? “Recycling is a very big component of what we do.”

Mallmann explained Neenah’s “Circle of Life” recycled paper production concept:

  • Trees used to make the paper pulp come from well managed forestry lands
    • For every one tree that is taken, three are planted
    • The forests are self-rejuvenating
    • There is little disruption to the wildlife and the land stays in tact
  • Paper is manufactured using the pulp produced from the wood of those managed forestry trees
  • The manufactured paper is sent to the merchant (printer)
  • Printers use this paper to produce projects for their customers
  • Customers use and then recycle the printed pieces/projects
  • That paper is de-inked and mixed with forestry wood to make new pulp
  • That pulp is sent to paper manufacturer and the process begins all over again

“Making paper is the unique process of turning a pulp-slurry from 98% moisture to a solid substrate with only 4-5% moisture content, “Mallmann said.

Mallman further explained that in the future he expects industry recycling efforts to continue and grow. He also expects managed forest lands to become even more sustainable and envisions continued improved efficiencies in the paper production process.

During his presentation, Mallman also explained the many different types of paper that are produced such as textured, coated, uncoated, colored, and so on. He presented the audience members with a sample book that demonstrated various paper options, implying a multitude of creative opportunities.

Flanders continued the presentation explaining the components of ink used in printing and offering a tutorial about the four-color printing process and the use of Pantone PMS ink colors; how they can be used together or in separate processes depending on the customer’s print project specifications. He then offered examples of pigmented inks, metallic inks and pastel ink colors.

“Using ink in a printing process is like making a cake,” Flanders said. “You can buy a box of mix off the shelf or you can buy all the ingredients separately and mix them yourself.”

He used that analogy to help explain using manufactured PMS colors or producing colors using the four-color (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) printing process.

“The determination of which ink process to use, or a combination of both, is completely determined by the scope of the project,” Flanders said. “It can be basic or it can be very complex.”

He further explained why it is so important to pre-plan printing projects from start to finish. Flanders said every aspect has to be considered from paper selection to ink color usage to additional processes like using aqueous coatings, spot varnishes or UV coating. He also acknowledged post-printing options such as foiling or laminating.

“You have to know your finished product,” Flanders said. “The ink has to work with the paper, whether it’s coated or uncoated, and it has to be able to work with all of the creative aspects and additional processes of the project as well.”

Flanders concluded the presentation explaining Mallard’s environmentally conscious production process. He explained their manufacturing facility uses solar power and the majority of their ink components are actually “edible oils”. He used a Crisco example and said they avoid petroleum-based ingredients as much as possible, but when those are used they’re regulated.