• Steven Heller

An ’80s Retrospect: Productolith Paper Promotion

By: Steven Heller

We’re in a more sustainable world where paper companies do far less elaborate paper samples. That’s a good thing for the globe, but I’m still nostalgic and wistful for those collectible feats of design extravagance that started in the ’70s and spread through the ’80s. Here’s one by Rick Valicenti for Consolidated’s enamel offset printing paper, Productolith, which sounds a bit like a mash-up of El Producto and Kodalith.

The brochure begins with the intro, “What’s in a name?” Everything. Just ask the Wisconsin man who invented MIZZENPRATZ. Or the New York woman who came up with GNORKL. “No matter how great the product, how inventive the idea, it helps to have a good hook to hang it on.”

This conceptually photo-typographic promotion is one of the few I saved and savored from the years of design indulgence. It signals a time (1987) before the computer, when making expressive type was a revelation and photography was another dimension.

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