Ampersandesign is an Oxford based agency offering print and web orientated brand communication and graphic design. Ampersand Design has over 40 years combined experience.
Good design is good business. Lester Beall

Touch paper

As colour, taste and texture combine to describe our experience of food, so our visual impressions are completed by a fusion of senses that cluster – like pixels – to finish the overall picture. When it comes to visual communication, the sense of touch is notably influential in igniting response.

Our immune systems harden to junk that fills inboxes and letterboxes, but our resistance weakens towards the things that penetrate our senses – objects that can be touched, and whose effects can be felt. Our increasing reliance on electronic communication is undisputable, however, there’s nothing that quite matches the ability of print – by its very tactile nature – to engage on a more intimate level.

Pairing design effects with choice of printed surface allows the sense of touch to close the loop between what’s seen and what’s perceived. For anyone doubting that paper is the second most sustainable industrial resource, Two Sides will dispel some popular myths. Designing for print, we can make informed choices that fit the requirements of a design brief, and speaking of choices… G F Smith’s range is rich enough to get us salivating at the prospect of adding tactile substance to visual and verbal content.

We’ve been working for several years with a particular client who recognises the value of sensory appeal through her printed message: Julia Beusch is an accomplished jewellery designer whose joy of working with precious metals and gemstones is reflected in her printed sales material.

As a piece of Julia’s jewellery becomes a part of the wearer’s ‘signature’, so the way she corresponds with each individual is equally personal. Though her work is showcased online at and displayed in her Oxford studio, what’s apparent is the ability of print to reach the hearts of her customers and connect them quite personally to her handicraft.

Whether drawing on the thrill of entering a sweetshop, alluding to their desire for beauty and permanence or sharing the excitement of opening a jewellery box, the concepts behind her printed cards reveal as much about the recipients as they do their sender. Rich in use of texture and colour, Julia’s printed mailers are enthusiastically received and talked about at her private views.

This year’s theme mirrors the personal journey Julia has made over the years and celebrates a recent milestone: the relocation of her inspiring new workshop to Oxford.

Julia’s private viewing invitations are printed and finished to high standard by KMS Litho. This year, we paid a visit to Baddeley Brothers in Hackney, where her cards and stationery received gold foiling, embossing and gilt edging. We were greeted by Chris and Charles Pertwee and given the tour of the works. We couldn’t resist buying copies of their new book, published by Spitalfields Life Books, knowing we could get them signed later that day by the designer, David Pearson. (See below our favourite quotes from Baddeley Brothers’ book – you’ll just have to imagine the scent of ink and texture of the pages...)

Seeing all the stunning effects that could be achieved with paper through intaglio, thermography, foiling, engraving, embossing and letterpress lit the tinder of our creative imagination. We left with a collection of sumptuous samples and plenty of ideas to share with clients who, like Julia, appreciate the value of touch to support all that they accomplish through their digital communications.

A beautifully produced piece of print adds substance to messages relayed through other media. Mail order companies such as Boden depend on their catalogues as their shopfront, sending out 20 million annually in the UK. This kind of organisation places the printed catalogue at the heart of its communications. Purchases are made through the colour infused, story led catalogues, as shoppers flick through the uncoated pages, before turning to their screens to fill their baskets.

At its most effective, marketing is a truly multi-media experience, enriched through personal contact and tactility. No matter what your business, the laws of attraction are the same. As designers of print, we can help create the spark.

11th December 2015