Beautiful paper is at the core of everything we do here at Paper Source – it’s in our name – and we take every effort to find partners with the same passion for paper! One of our long time partners, French Paper Co., is a sixth generation family owned mill that has perfected our colorscope to bring us our vibrant cards and envelopes.

We spoke with Brian French and learned more about French Paper’s rich history, where they draw inspiration from and why paper is still important.

Established in 1871, French Paper is a sixth generation, family-owned paper mill, located in Niles, MI. In our 145 year history, we have been fortunate enough to help develop new technologies and trends, such as recycled paper-making, imitation parchments, renewable hydropower, color capabilities and more.

Being raised in the French family, it’s pretty obvious to see that paper is a huge part of my life. My sister and I quite literally grew up with a paper mill in our back yard. It’s hard for something like that to not impact your personality. I think paper matters to everyone because it’s one of the few material interactions that can shock your senses. The more we as a society look at slick shiny screens, the more a beautiful colored sheet of paper stands out. Being able to offer our customers a vehicle to deliver their message in a lasting, textured, attention-grabbing way is pretty awesome.

Without a doubt French Paper draws its inspiration from its customers. Our client base stretches everywhere from fortune 500 companies to ad agencies to scrapbook artists, and their projects never cease to amaze us. At the end of the day, we love to have fun with paper and keep it interesting just like everyone else, so getting to be an integral part in a final product that someone poured their heart into is plenty of inspiration and motivation to keep us going.

I’m always amazed by custom orders with inclusions or special fibers. We have been able to create papers that included a small portion of a company’s product such as coffee grounds, grape skins, or carpet fibers. I think it’s really neat to bring a paper full circle and tailor it precisely for a brand to tell a story.

We are lucky enough to have been one of the first partners that Paper Source allowed to be a part of their incredible brand back when there was only one store. Our close proximity and shared love for colored papers has created a strong, long-lasting relationship ever since.

I wish we could take credit for the amazing colors that Paper Source creates, but the biggest step in the process is the shade selection, and that’s up to the creative geniuses, not the paper guys. Once we receive the specification, we typically run through a process of colorant planning, fiber selections and then the creation of test sheets. Lastly, since we are so close to the Paper Source home base, we have their team come to the mill to make final adjustments during the manufacturing run itself. These steps seem like a lot, but our goal is to assure that everything is precisely as it was envisioned throughout the planning process.

-Brian French


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  1. […] summer, we worked with our long time partner, French Paper Co., a sixth generation, family owned paper mill, to create a limited edition color. Infused with a […]