NewPage Launches Sterling Premium
I have to say when I first heard about it, I was a little skeptical. After all, it's coated paper, what could be so different? As a former spec rep, I should have known better. When I saw a status update that asked what if you could get premium optics and performance that reflects today's economic pressure to get more with less? I'm like, yeah, what am I going to give up?
Suffice it to say NewPage has hit it out of the park and has lived up to the campaign tag line - It Shifts Everything.
For starters, forget what you know about the coated paper ranking based on the TAPPI scale for U.S. and Canadian papers. Prior to now, all coated paper's rankings were subject to one attribute: brightness. While brightness is important (the brighter the sheet, the more light that's reflected off of it - thus the more brilliant the printed image - you can learn more about this here), it's not the be all and all. And with the onslaught of imported papers from Europe, Asia, and South America all operating on a different scale (ISO or D65) you are never truly getting an apples to apples comparison. And in my opinion, there are many equally if not more important attributes in coated paper that can make or break a great printed piece, like surface uniformity or smoothness, finish, and bulk. What I LOVE about this campaign is NewPage walks the talk. To see what I mean, all you need to do is look at their BEAUTIFUL print promotion, "Shift Your Thinking."
The piece was designed by Froeter Design in Chicago and features product images from American companies (NewPage products are Made in the USA after all). The photography is stunning, from the minute I opened the book with a quad tone image on the inside cover on the Sterling Premium Dull 130# cover playing off of a match metallic blue with spot dull UV varnish on the Sterling Premium Dull 80# cover - I was hooked. While my NewPage rep gave a great presentation, I was in my own paper, print, and design nirvana. I could not stop feeling the pages, the surface of this sheet is amazing - you have to see the way the solid black looks on it, talk about luxurious!
Sterling Premium comes in Gloss, Dull and Matte finishes - and while I normally lean towards a silk/dull sheet, I am completely smitten with the matte finish. I defy you to find a better coated matte surface. That's right, I said it. Our rep gave us "The Pepsi Challenge" and we had to pick out what we thought was the best looking printed image (same image three different papers: Sterling Premium, McCoy, and Utopia One) and it was unanimous, the best looking matte in the bunch was Sterling Premium. Not only is it a premium sheet, but bonus: it's priced out the same as a domestic #2 coated (for those of you not in the know that's the equivalent to Productolith, the former Sterling, Utopia 2, and Opus).
You can request your own copy of Sterling Premium, Shift Your Thinking here. And Millcraft starts taking orders on it August 6th - you can place your order for Sterling Premium on mymillcraft.com or through our order desk. All I can say is it's about time!