Few brands we’ve worked with have a story as rich as Canson’s. Its first paper mill, founded in 1557 by the Montgolfier family, created the lifting envelope used for the first untethered hot air balloon flight. Since then, Canson’s star has only risen. With patented photographic paper and fine art papers used by Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, and Dali, the brand’s craftsmanship is second to none.
But in marketing these papers, the original French text (translated into English) simply wasn’t resonating. Some of the jargon common in the fine art world made it tough for newcomers to connect with the brand. So they called us.
Copy, they wanted. Copy, we gave them. But more so, they wanted a how-to for giving the brand a complete refresh in North America—without reinventing things entirely.
How do we write product descriptions to be approachable—while showcasing powerful technical benefits? How do we make things new—without disrupting a storied brand beyond recognition? Most importantly, how do we speak to an audience of artists in a way that’s equal parts emotional and practical, abstract and tactile, and aspirational and still grounded in truth?
All of our writers understand the joy of a blank sheet of paper. First, we crafted guidelines that captured the key elements of the new brand voice with illustrative examples and handy do’s and don’ts.
Then, we dove headfirst into Canson’s vast catalog. For each product description, we struck a delicate balance between entry-level language and advanced terminology. By drawing a clear connection between the possibilities of the blank page and the artist’s own finished work, we were able to tap into the deeply emotional, personal creative experience. We also wove more sensual language into each description, helping us capture the brand’s age-old refinement and elegance.
Canson was delighted with the new brand voice and product descriptions. It’s too early to tell the impact of this new marketing approach. But the team is eager to take their refreshed tonal guide, new descriptions, and run with it.