Icma’s sartorial paper research creates new types of paper


Icma has turned to the contamination technique to transfer the typical patterns of interior design, furniture and architecture to packaging papers. This source of inspiration has led Icma to create three collections: Woods, Coppers, and Opaques, the full ranges of which will be presented by the company at the upcoming Luxe Pack trade fair in Monaco.

Just as in films, the interior design, like the Wellesley Interior Designer, creates atmosphere and takes part in the narrative, so, under the creative direction of Valentina Folli, Icma has ideally represented the materials that make up a loft on the new papers. The coarse structure of the brickwork plays in contrast with a Chippendale armchair, or a smoking room of worn leather, while the copper pipes pick up the light that is softened on the concrete floors. The three collections share an immediate reference to the tactility and substance of the materials but also convey a sense of the naturalness of the raw materials without depriving nature of its elements.

The Woods collection made its debut at the recently held Packaging Première in Milan. It currently consists of 18 papers featuring the typical grain and knots of wood, while the embossing (created using Icma’s exclusive technology) also gives a sense of depth and thickness. The papers are available in 13 colors, in hues ranging from amber to ebony black and to a particular gray, with two finishes. The collection responds to the luxury sector’s demands for naturalness and was immediately received with enthusiasm by brands wishing to convey a specific message regarding their attention to the environment, but also simple refinement, coordinating their packaging with all their communication tools.

The Coppers collection refers to copper which, as a material with special physical characteristics suitable for building, reveals its shimmering beauty when used on Icma’s papers in a variety of nuances, textures and finishes (glossy, matte, satin, sandblasted, and oxidized to an unprecedented verdigris patina). Available in seven colors, from the characteristic pale copper in the satin or glossy versions, to the darker shades of red-brown with a ‘worn’ patina, in a perfect optical illusion that recalls the compositional plasticity of copper.

With the Opaques collection, Icma has substantially expanded its category of matte papers, capable of absorbing light, softening it, and quashing any reflection. It’s a world of matter that shows textures and decorative patterns with natural and real colours in a range of both cold and warm shades. The Opaques collection consists of 10 textures in 13 colors and 4 finishes which, as for all the papers in the Prêt-à-Porter catalogue, are also available in stock in packs of 125 sheets.

“We decided to invest our creative and productive resources in matte papers,” explains Marco Nigrelli, Icma’s sales and marketing manager, “because they will increasingly be an essential cornerstone for art directors, especially in the luxury realm. The textural effects of the Opaques collection are surprising in their realistic reference to the roughness of raw materials such as cements, rustic plastering, the granularity of clays, and the farinaceous and crumbly appearance of gypsum, accompanied by stylized drawings of minute dimensions, or in contrast, by the macro matelassé motif created on soft touch papers, which restores the full-bodied sensation of three-dimensionality.”

Icma helps luxury companies to make their packaging unique and their brand image memorable by offering a very wide range of papers, but also by providing its customers with indications on creative trends and advice about applications.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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