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Feature Presentation: A River Runs Through It – July 2020 | Design & Paper Spotlight

Let’s Get Literal (LGL) is a fun, interactive series of designs based on “literal” interpretations. LGL combines several things we love – movies, design and creating campaigns that delight and engage people. This year’s calendar theme is MOVIE TITLES and it’s up to the end-user to guess and then check their answers at

July’s design was inspired by Montana’s rivers.

  • Designer: Heather Cramer
  • Movie Title: A River Runs Through It
  • Design Style: Photo manipulation
  • Ink: 4 Color Process + PMS Metallic 8242
  • Paper: Neenah CLASSIC® Woodgrain, Antique Gray, 80C

Designer’s Commentary with Heather

One of my favorite pastimes is fishing and camping in the great outdoors, so the 1992 movie A River Runs Through It was an easy choice as one of the titles for our literal calendar page design. Directed by Robert Redford and adapted from the novella by Norman Maclean, it’s a wonderful film about time, memory, love, understanding, bonding, the role of nature and how it shapes our lives.

I knew immediately that I wanted to portray a river flowing through the space between 2 giant letters, “I” and “T” standing firmly on opposite bank shores. 



It was definitely a process deciding what graphic style to use to convey this. I tried a colorful, stylized illustration first, but it just didn’t excite me. I considered a traditional lino-cut style, thinking the entire graphic could be embossed on a nice smooth sheet, but, another designer was using an emboss for their design, so I abandoned that notion. I considered a pencil sketch, but this didn’t pair well with our intent to add some sort of “shiny” element to each page.

Finally, I found a wonderful stock photo that matched the vision in my head. I manipulated the image to make it feel more time-worn, altering the colors to be less realistic with brighter yellows and more vibrant cyans. I added brush lines and grunge effects to add texture and grit. I had to steal some rocks from other photos to wind the river to fit my composition. I had one version with the image filling the entire page, and another that was framed within a circle. I opted for the frame to showcase more of the paper, to keep the calendar dates clean and unobstructed and to make it feel more like glancing out a window at a place you'd rather be.




Now for the paper! I wanted a natural texture in a neutral tone. Neenah’s CLASSIC® Woodgrain Paper in Antique Gray added the aesthetic charm of wood grain which seemed to be the perfect background. 






For the “shiny” element, I was going to add PMS Metallic 8242 as a  “touch” plate to the river in the photo. But, I was so happy with the color of the water, I decided to utilize the metallic ink for the quote on the back and the dates of the calendar.




You can see the Antique Gray is a nice neutral compared to a white sheet.

I'm extremely happy with the finished product. It printed flawlessly and consistently, and I hope the design conveys a nice peaceful moment for folks when they look upon it.


CLASSIC® Woodgrain is available in 16 eye-catching colors including 6 whites perfect for image reproduction, plus 1 duplex combination. Bare White and Solar White are compatible with digital printing. Comes in 7 basis weights from 80 lb. Text to 165 lb. Double Thick Cover. For more information and a peek at color options, visit our friends at Neenah.

If you’d like to make your next print project have maximum impact – Sigler is ready to help. CALL US AT 515.232.6997 or jump right in and fill out our project planner.

To download A River Runs Through It for your screens, click here.

Didn't receive a Sigler calendar this year? Never fear. Download a free printable version here.