There are innumerable finishes to paper each designed
for different kinds of printing. Some are rough and
masculineothers delicate and feminine. Some are
soft and suited for old Caslon typeothers have a
hard, smooth surface better fitted for the sharp, clean
lines and delicate serifs of the Bodoni types and for
the production of fine screen halftones.
When a mailing piece looks good and feels good,
how about making it attractive to the ear? That's a
strong sense, too. Some letterheads have a delightful,
crisp crackle. Many circulars rasp unpleasantly on
our ears as we handle them. A few simple experi
ments with folders, letterheads and books on your
desk will convince you that you do listen as you read.
And we can also gratify the sense of smell. "Your
Nose Knows" was a slogan with a lot of truth in it. The
odor of some papers and inks are unpleasant. Many
impressive-looking folders and catalogues actually
smell badly. When the eye says "buy," it's a pity to
have the nose say "don't."
Efforts made to perfume papers and inks are entirely
legitimate. Meanwhile, why not recall that brown
wrapping paper reminds us by smell, as well as sight,
of the ordinary purchases we make in stores. News
print paper simply reeks of newsthe association
can't be escaped, especially while the ink is fresh.
The time will come when a folder offering tweed
clothes will have a subtle fragrance of tweed, when
all mailing pieces will be scientifically scented to
arouse a "memory pattern" and stir the appropriate
Will the reader realize it? Not necessarily. These
psychological approaches to the senses are very
subtle things. We will probably never make a direct
appeal, through the printing press, to the sense of
tasting-at least, we will be satisfied to make the
mouth water through pictures and descriptions, rather
than invite the reader to munch the mailing piece. Yet
the gum on envelope flaps does need a bit of research,
such as has been recently given to the gum on postage
stamps. The person who licks your return envelope
might be given an unexpected treat.
Finally, a middleman like me is trained by experi
ence to remember that the reader has a sixth sense.
Common sense. How often we all forget it! How often
we advertise cheap articles so tastefully that the logi
cal customers are scared away. How often we sink
below the standard of taste which really good articles
need? How often we expect a surrealiste artist to
interest and convince the bourgeoisie? How often we
expect some trick of color or design in printing to
please a reader who is only interested in knowing if
a pair of shoes is worth the price we ask for them?
Capture as many of the five senses of the reader as
you can, in every printed item you publish. Capture
his sixth sense, too. He won't know or care how
laboriously you are stalking him through the mazes
of 10,000 different printing papers, 500 type faces, and
the like. He will respond to you through his eyes,
fingertips, ears, nose, and tongue, if you have dis
played at least as much of the common sense which
you expect from him.