Sue Charlier on the upsides of digital in the printing industry

[Sami Jensen] The National Stationery Show was full of paper people like Sue Charlier of Independent Printing Company. She spoke with us about the importance of choosing a good substrate, how digital printing has changed the embellishing process, and why she loves Mohawk Via. Charlier’s optimism concerning the return of print production to the U.S. and her faith in the buying power of younger generations is inspiring.

Charlier, who has worked in and around the printing industry for 18 years, says that her most important piece of advice for stationery start-ups is to pick a paper that you love, one that will duplicate results time after time, that you can afford long-term, and stick with it. If you switch papers, it’s the first thing a consumer will notice. She should know. Independent’s Greeting Card division produces work for nationally recognized greeting card and stationery designers and publishers.

Though Independent Printing works with many different paper companies, Charlier says that her company prints more greeting cards on Mohawk Via than any other. Why? “It’s readily available, it’s available in a couple of different finishes, and the color selection — the whites and the cream colors are available.”

When we asked Charlier about the future of printed artifacts in a digital age, she was optimistic. In her discussions with college students, she finds that the majority of them will still purchase a greeting card for Mother’s or Father’s Day or for close friends’ birthdays … rather than sending a text or a message on Facebook.

Charlier believes that digitization has had a lot of positive impact on greeting card production, especially with regards to the processes of printing and finishing. With tabletop digital finishing equipment, it is now easier and less costly to add embellishments to greeting cards and stationery.

Another trend that makes Charlier hopeful for the future of printed artifacts and the American economy is that print production is returning to the United States.

Because of the consumer interest in environmental papers, Charlier suggests that start-ups explore environmental paper options and select a grade that is FSC certified or contains postconsumer waste content (or both), as long as it still falls within the company’s pricing structure.

Sue Charlier is an account manager at Wisconsin-based Independent Printing Company. These video segments are taken from Sue’s interview at National Stationery Show 2011, by Pamela Williams, editorial director and managing editor, Felt & Wire. View the entire video here. We’ve previously published three interviews from the Stationery Show, including this interview with Christopher Wu, co-founder of Paper Culture; this interview with Harold Kyle, founder of Box Car Press; and this interview with Amy Feezor, copy director, Real Simple magazine.

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Comments (2)

  1. Posted by lee moody on 09.8.11 at 1:01 pm

    LOVE and VIA in the same sentence makes my day …week….month..well, you know !
    Sue is so RIGHT ON ! It’s a sparkling testimony ~ they are in the fast lane and enjoying it. I certainly enjoyed her take on our industry. Great read and so true 🙂

  2. Posted by Allyson on 09.8.11 at 3:22 pm

    Love this interview! It was a pleasure to sit and talk with Sue again at this year’s NSS! 🙂

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