James Cropper is shining a light on its darker range, Black – a colour for which the mill holds recipes for over 50 different shades

James Cropper is internationally renowned for its expertise in colour, but all too often people imagine the colours of the rainbow, all bright yellows and vivid blues. However, James Cropper is shining a light on its darker range, Black – a colour for which the mill holds recipes for over 50 different shades – alongside Italian paper specialist Fontana Graphica at this year’s Packaging Premiere exhibition in Milan.

Black paper is known for adding an element of sophistication to a brand’s packaging and with James Cropper’s expertise in creating blacks, you can be sure to strike the right note with this, the darkest, most elusive of paper colours. James Cropper combines technology, science, art and skill to give unrivalled choice in both ready-made and bespoke black papers, matching pigments with textures and rigorous in-house testing to ensure the desired impact is achieved. Six ready-to-order FSC®-certified black papers are available from stock, with other blacks developed as custom projects.

  • Black Bowston – made from 100 per cent recovered fibre for applications ranging from photo albums to security envelopes
  • Vanguard Black – a smooth graphic printing board in a wide range of substances
  • Natural Obsidian – a non-carbon black made from pure fibre and perfect for luxury packaging
  • Comet Carbon – a unique paper with a shimmering surface suited to graphic and structural design
  • Coffee Espresso – a paper innovation, containing up-cycled waste from coffee cup production
  • Cocoa Dark Chocolate – an award-winning fine paper containing 10 per cent cocoa shell for packaging and graphic print.

It is important to note that colour can be just one element of a perfect match! A deep black paper is the perfect contrast to many types of printing foils, giving an excellent lift to the printed image. If metallic foils are specified in the final product design, it is best practice to choose a non-carbon black paper, such as Natural Obsidian, because if a carbon black paper is used, it is possible for metallic foil to react with the paper and become mottled and blotchy in appearance. When designing papers for packaging, James Cropper’s master colour blender not only assesses colour, but considers other attributes required in the final product, such as light-fastness to ensure the pack does not fade over time, and rub-resistance to ensure that the pack colour does not transfer to contents or clothing.

To sample James Cropper’s ready-to-order Black collection, visit Fontana Graphica on Stand A46 at the Milan fair, taking place from 16 to 18 May 2017.

To find out more about how James Cropper can help take your brand to the dark side, contact our luxury packaging director, Susan Wilson, via email:, or phone: +44 (0)1539 722 002.

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