Neenah CLASSIC® Refresh Aims To ‘Evolutionize’ Design and Specification Process

Merging Paper With Design Technology

The world of print design is evolving into a hybrid of technology and age-old techniques. To help designers navigate this intersection and seamlessly merge paper with technology, Neenah has refreshed its CLASSIC® papers swatchbook, which features a new numbering system explicitly designed for its Neenah Swatch Pro™ extension for Adobe Illustrator®, Photoshop®, and InDesign®.

“This innovative thinking essentially ‘evolutionizes’ the design process by allowing designers to quickly move from swatchbook to screen, to instantly see their designs transformed with color and texture,” says Ellen Bliske, Director of Product Management for Neenah. “By more closely aligning these two creative tools, we help designers streamline their paper selection and specification process.”

The Neenah Swatch Pro™ has progressed from the revolutionary, first-ever paper extension for select Adobe® software, created to transform traditional print design. With the addition of the numbering system, along with other recent advancements, designers can search for paper by attribute, such as color and texture, and quickly incorporate it into their design by using the number they see in the swatchbook. This new technology simplifies paper specification for designers at all levels. In addition, when packaging print files, the paper specifications are clearly identified for the printer.

“While our team was working remotely and sharing files, we said to ourselves, there must be a better way to connect the physical swatchbook to our digital desktop,” says Pum Lefebure, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Design Army. “Previously, we worked on the creation of Neenah Swatch Pro™ allowing designers to simulate Neenah colors and textures in Adobe Creative Cloud programs and it did not take us long to put a ‘phygital’ formula together. We had an aha moment: why don’t we assign a unique number to every paper color and texture and make it even easier to pull a paper choice on screen? Designers know what they want when they see it, and this is a simple, streamlined way to have it populate right into your design. The spec is accurately captured in the file for the printer, eliminating any guesswork on their part.”

The updated CLASSIC® Papers swatchbook is the first of Neenah’s product lines to adopt the numbering system, acting as a guide to help designers familiarize themselves with the way these tools now work together. Neenah has also combined its previous three CLASSIC® Papers swatchbooks into one comprehensive showcase of the entire offering, neatly organized by color family and numbered for convenience. The new book also features a selection of printed samples designed to inspire and highlight the beauty of print on paper.

“When considering paper for their designs, a shelf full of swatchbooks can leave a designer wondering where to start,” says Bliske. “From there, they have to either imagine how the design will translate on different papers or spend time scanning and color-correcting that digital ‘paper swatch’ to better visualize the result. Neenah continues to adapt to the way designers work with and specify paper and advance our tools to seamlessly work between their physical and digital worlds. We see these continued advancements as integral in guiding the next generation of designers through the print design and production process.”

Neenah is also releasing a complementary mini-promotion to accent these creative tools “The Perfect Canvas 2.” This highly-tactile promotion encourages designers to think intentionally about the role of paper in the design process. Showcasing the same artwork across different paper samples, Neenah illustrates that texture and color not only change the feel of the printed piece but set the tone for the recipient. This promotion explores how each choice made in the design process — from color and texture selection to the ink and foils used — can evoke a different feeling and messaging for the intended audience.

With this comprehensive design system, Neenah is addressing the future of specification head-on,” says Bliske. “We’re focused on supporting the design community by placing tools in their hands that evolve with them. Whether refining our swatchbooks or promotions or adopting new technologies that integrate and inspire next-level designs, Neenah will be right there beside them.”

To obtain the new CLASSIC® Papers swatchbook, or a copy of “The Perfect Canvas 2”, reach out to your local Neenah sales representative or Neenah distributor. To learn more about Neenah Swatch Pro, or to download, visit