Neenah and Design Army Reinvent CLASSIC® Papers Portfolio

Neenah has just released its long-awaited CLASSIC® Papers portfolio. When CLASSIC® was first launched in 1962, it instantly became a market favorite. Now it’s bigger, bolder, and more colorful than ever. This significant brand refresh, more than a year in the making, includes eight new timeless colors and two new, high-touch textures, all showcased in a new, 3-volume swatchbook set and a new promotion.



Design Army, the creative firm that partnered with Neenah to curate, reorganize and rebrand the CLASSIC® Brands produced this video, Making of a CLASSIC®: Behind the Scenes, to take viewers through the process of developing the new CLASSIC® Papers colors and textures, the thoughts behind the swatchbook reorganization, plus an inside look at the development.



The eight new CLASSIC® colors are Imperial Red, Cobalt, Military, Aubergine, Chambray, Cool Gray, Cadet Gray, and Bare White (not shown).


New Imperial Red is a color that refuses to be ignored.

Pum Lefebure, Design Army’s Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer said, “The choice of color is really an emotional decision. Every designer has different tastes. If I look at a color and I’m not inspired, I’m not going to use it. We had to think about who would be using the colors we created, and what the colors will be used for. The colors couldn’t just be cool for this year – they have to also be cool next year, and the next. Every single color in the CLASSIC® palette tells its own story, but they also work well together.”

New Cobalt is a punchy, sophisticated color that’s both trendy and classic.

The new colors in the collection were inspired by feedback Neenah heard from designers and printers during nationwide, in-person research. Neenah Senior Brand Manager, Kathy Kemps says, “Designers were looking for new, fresh grays, so we created two beautiful shades. Though they like the Patriot blue that’s in the line, they were looking for a brighter, more exciting blue, so we created Cobalt. This new palette is meant to be classic and timeless, and provide designers everything they need to be inspired to create.” The portfolio now includes 36 beautiful colors across the nine CLASSIC® Brands.

The newly refreshed line is simplified and organized into three swatchbooks: CLASSIC CREST®, CLASSIC® Linen, and CLASSIC® Textures. The latter includes the two new branded textures, CLASSIC® Woodgrain and CLASSIC® Techweave, in addition to the brand’s staples, CLASSIC® Laid, CLASSIC COLUMNS®, CLASSIC® Stipple.




The new CLASSIC® Woodgrain texture provides an environmental aesthetic to any project. It’s appealing surface has all of the appeal of wood, with none of the limitations.




CLASSIC® Techweave was developed to fill a void in the market for a texture that represented the technology industry. This new texture is high-touch meets high-tech. “I really like the geometric shapes in the CLASSIC® Techweave texture, because it feels very techy but at the same time, it makes me thing of textiles. It has both elements. The naming of this texture was important. We wanted it to be thought of as ideal for technology products, but also for things like catalogs and ads for high-tech sports brands,” said Lefebure.




The new, oversized Think CLASSIC® Papers promotion (10.5 x 11) showcases the complete portfolio with 64 pages (some of which you’ve seen above) filled with design, art, photography, typography, digital printing, embossing, foil stamping, metallic inks, die cuts, and French folds.


Each stop-and-stare page showcases a different piece of artwork, produced with a different production technique.


New Aubergine is a dark, rich neutral that coordinates well and enhances other colors.
New Military is a complex color that can adapt to become earthy or really chic.


Of course, with the addition of new colors and textures are more digital choices, more duplexes and more envelopes.

The result of the work: the most comprehensive, single-grade refresh Neenah has ever undertaken, with a modern palette of colors and textures that are bold, fresh, and classically timeless.

“We worked hard to create a collection of papers that would remain fresh and act as a foundation for beautiful projects. We hope the new CLASSIC® Papers will continue to inspire designers,” said Kemps.