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Paper Selection


The overall impression of a print communication is affected not only by its design, but also by the quality of paper on which it is printed. An integral part of the 3M Brand Identity System is the placement of the 3M Red logo and 3M montage on a field of white. To maximize the impact of the logo and montage, specific papers have been selected and approved for all printed literature because of their brightness, whiteness, and overall feel. A complete list of the five approved papers is available to employees on the 3M Source Web site. Suppliers can call Xpedx at 612-781-6611 or 1-800-328-2504.

When selecting which paper to use, consider the intended audience, the business, brand or product, and your objectives. Your choice of paper should depend on whether the communication is more “informational” or more “promotional.”

Informational Materials

The majority of communications distributed by 3M are informational materials. They are intended to provide more in-depth or instructional information. For instance, product catalogs and our annual report provide information about our products and company to readers who are already aware of, or have expressed a preference for, 3M. For most 3M communications, we recommend printing on Opus. This is an industry standard paper with a strong, smooth finish and brightness. It is a cost-effective option for printed materials requiring a coated sheet.

Promotional Materials

Promotional materials are intended to directly influence a buying decision. They focus on the emotional response of the intended audience, and are often printed on higher quality paper to provide a more positive impression of the product or business. Examples include a direct mail piece promoting the purchase of a 3M product or a recruiting brochure touting the benefits of working for 3M. For high-end promotional materials, we recommend printing on McCoy. McCoy is a premium grade paper with an ultra bright white shade that provides perfect contrast for the 3M Red logo. Carefully weigh the advantages and the costs of using McCoy, however, as the price point is significantly higher than for Opus.

If you are creating a packet of materials or developing an integrated campaign of multiple printed pieces, use the same grade of paper (at different weights, if necessary) for all of the pieces.

You can order swatch sheets with 3M Red formulations and paper swatch books by contacting Xpedx at mn.samples@xpedx.com.

Paper Ordering Process (United States)

Xpedx is 3M’s contracted printing paper merchant in the United States. Include paper selection with project instructions when contracting print communication services. Provide the printer with your 3M accounting information and purchase order (PO) number. The printer should place the paper order with Xpedx directly at Xpedx at 612-781-6611 or 1-800-328-2504.

Please contact Lynne Blakeney at 651-736-9636 for additional guidance on paper standardization or selection.