What’s Eco Friendly & Drives up Response Rates? Introducing Seed Paper!

by Rich B

Paper that Grows into Flowers!?
Nope, we’ve not been taking psychedelic drugs – there is actually such a thing as paper that grows into flowers!

We’ve been playing around with it in the Webmart Yellow Shed and it’s great. We think some of you (and your customers) will love it.

So here’s some information on what it is, how it’s used and, more importantly, how it’ll appeal to your customers.seed-paper-germinating We’ve also given a little background for your designers, outlining some of the considerations  to think about when designing for seed paper.

What is Seed Paper?
It’s a handmade, 100% recycled paper that contains living seeds from a range of flowers (see below). The papers contain natural pigments and printing inks are soy-based (so are REALLY environmentally-friendly!). When doused in water or planted in soil, the seeds start to germinate and because the paper’s uncoated and it’s pretty absorbent, it quickly turns into a mulch, freeing the seeds to grow.

What does it mean to your customers?
Seed paper has two main benefits. It’s a great way to show off your environmental credentials, but it’s also an incredible way to drive up response rates. Let’s take a look:

seedpaper-bookmark-webmart

Seed paper shape attached to a bookmark.

Environment
Not only are you communicating with your customers but seedpaper doesn’t get recycled – it gets planted! The pulp of the paper is 100% recycled in the first place, and when it’s planted, turns to mulch, naturally biodegrading once the seeds grow into flowers. Many customers pass the paper on to their kids or grand kids to grow or just put it in a flower bed to see what happens; so your eco-credentials gets passed from person to person!

Improved Response Rates
Which brings us on to the second point. Seed paper is not thrown away! It tends to be retained, shown around, popped into pockets or handbags to be shared later with kids or keen gardeners – or anyone else who might show an interest. That of course means that your message and brand have more of an impact than using standard papers. But there are very tangible results too.

Accompanying redeemable vouchers with a seedpaper shape (such as a star or other brand-relevant shape such as the flower on the bookmark above) drives up voucher redemption rates.

One example we’ve seen for a major supermarket chain’s promotion is that using seedpaper drove up a redemption rate of around 5% (non seed paper) to over 26% simply by the inclusion of a seedpaper shape! Customers made a mental note of it, retained it, shared it then redeemed it.

Job done seedpaper!

Flowers
Seed paper can be created with the flower seeds below (chosen as they offer the best combination of size, survivability (is that a word?!) and bloom). Which seeds can be used is determined by the thickness of the paper.

Five Spot, Candytuft, Baby Blue Eyes, Flax, Siberian Wallflower, Scarlet Zinnia, Sweet William Pinks, Corn Poppy, Tall Spurred Snapdragon, Northern Lights, Catchfly, English Daisy, Gloriosa, Black-Eyed Susan.

Artworking & Printing
Seed papers are uncoated and tend to have a rough surface. They’re also ‘sided’ meaning the surface of each side is different with one side being the print side. The reverse can be printed on but the rougher surface has to be taken into account when artworking. Larger type and darker ink colours are suggested for legibility.

Seed Paper Colours

Some seed papers are available in a range of colours

Also, because it’s uncoated, it’s more absorbent which means inks will be absorbed into the paper and appear lighter than might be expected with coated papers. For this reason, it’s advisable to see paper proofs. More artworking guidelines are available from your Print Consultant.

One of the main concerns when creating seed paper is to keep the seeds in great shape. Which also means the printing process has to be right so the seeds aren’t squashed or heated or sealed. Inkjetting is the preferred process as it doesn’t employ heavy roller-pressure or ovens to dry the ink. Letterpress can also be used  (on the thicker papers) but it’s important any printer understands how to handle the paper and has the right equipment to produce a great job but without damaging the seeds.

Products
There’s a range of paper thicknesses available from 130-250gsm, some are suitable for four colour printing, others aren’t.  Some papers are available in a range of colours too. Since we can print digitally on some papers, it’s also possible to do some simple personalisation too. As always, get in touch with your Webmart Print Consultant to find out more.

Uses
Seed paper has many uses, but here are some of the most popular to get your creative juices flowing:

Seedpaper-shapes

Seed paper ‘shapes’ and business cards.

  • Books and brochures
  • Postcards
  • Business stationery
  • Product boxes & tags
  • Cup holders
  • Envelopes
  • CD covers
  • Seeded shapes
  • Beer mats
  • Bags
  • Business card holders
  • Cotton-bound books

Ordering & Pricing
Because seed paper is made to order (most customers have specific colour, weight and seed requirements) lead time is longer than normal. Expect average orders to turn around in 3-4 weeks.

To get an idea of pricing, call your local Webmart Print Consultant who will be able to advise you on specifications and get you a price or contact them through our web form.

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