Best Printed Napkins of 2017

Best Printed Napkins of 2017

Welcome to 2018!

2017 brought us many unique napkins: branded napkins, napkins with interesting art, napkins with unique marketing messages, etc.  We saw a trend towards minimalism, with a clear focus on simpler colors and designs. And as expected, the 2-ply white beverage napkin remained the most popular product through the year.

As we launch into the new year, we are preparing for another great year.  Will we continue to see simpler napkin designs, with an emphasis on white space and monochromatic colors?  Or will the printed napkins in 2018 follow predicted graphic design trends, emphasizing split-tones, gradients, and retro styles?

As the world grows more digital, businesses drown in digital noise. We take pleasure in providing both large and small businesses with a unique medium for marketing and branding. We hope that custom napkins in 2018 will continue this trend, and that we will see some truly great prints in the coming year.

So let’s get started! Here are our picks for best printed napkins of 2017!


the best Custom printed napkins of 2017


Union on Yale – paper linen beverage napkin

2 red and 1 white "Union on Yale" beverage napkins, showing the evolution of the logo
Beverage napkins for “Union on Yale,” through the years

Union on Yale is an American restaurant and bar in Claremont, California. They first ordered custom printed napkins in April of 2013. Since then, the Union on Yale beverage napkin has undergone three distinct evolutions, from red with text logo, to red with visual logo, to the current adaptation: a paper linen beverage napkin with a custom printed turntable.

The Union on Yale turntable napkin of 2017 remains a strong favorite of ours for three distinct reasons:

  1. Paper linen done right: The sturdy construction of paper linen gives the napkin a heavy, luxurious feel.  It is thick and absorbent, the perfect coaster for drink condensation, yet thick enough to handle stronger messes, such as food. Additionally, paper linen napkins require no embossing, so the available printing area is bigger. The Union on Yale artwork utilizes this attribute, and the artwork extends across the full napkin surface.
  2. Expansive, yet minimal: The artwork is large.  It covers most of the front panel. Nonetheless, the fine lines and single ink color give it a minimalistic appearance. Together, these elements give the design a modern, graphical edge.  The artwork is expansive, yet complete. No excess colors or details detract from the design.
  3. Functional: The turntable perfectly frames the bottom ring of a cocktail glass.  Together, the napkin and drink act as a single statement piece.  The napkin plays multiple roles.  It is the necessary coaster, catching drink condensation, and it is the marketing prop, elegantly framing cocktails for advertising campaigns.

Serving this brunch inspired craft cocktail today. Bacon included ?Enjoy!

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Devour Catering – 2-ply white beverage napkin

Logo for "Devour Events Catering," close up
“Devour Events Catering” white beverage napkin

Another 2017 favorite of ours is the beverage napkin for Devour Catering.  Devour Catering is a full-service catering company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  They began ordering custom napkins in June of 2012 and their 3 color, 2-ply white beverage napkin has changed very little since then. The artwork remains clear, clean, and visually pleasing.  The signature female chef steps high, walking towards the viewer, while the company text sits boldly to her right.

We find this artwork particularly effective because:

  1. Compact and functional: The artwork occupies relatively little of the available print space.  It is about one inch long, spanning the length of the napkin face with a margin of half an inch between the artwork and the coined edge.  The top of the napkin remains blank, leaving a significant amount of white space to use for serving food (see below).
  2. Professional yet playful: The artwork speaks to Devour Catering’s brand identity.  The graphic is bold, clear, and whimsical, and it remains consistent across all printed materials, from disposable tableware to advertising fliers.


Havana nights – 3-ply white beverage napkin

selection of best printed napkins from "Havana Nights," demonstrating both cartoon and typographical art
Assorted printed napkins for the Cuban Food Market; “Havana Nights” napkin with matching coaster in bottom center

The Cuban Food Market in Miami, Florida prints colorful, engaging napkins every year. Starting in 2010, this Floridian grocery, party, and supply store consistently orders 3-ply white beverage napkins with bright, fun patterns.  The Cuban Food Market acts as a distribution center, repackaging the napkins for sale in their store and selling direct to consumers.

Throughout the years, the Havana Nights napkins have included colorful renditions of Cubano dancers and partygoers.  The 2017 napkin deviates by using black typography, with the words “Havana Nights” repeated over and over in a geometric pattern.

“Havana Nights” is a best printed napkin of 2017 because:

  1. Graphical and bold: The mixed typography provides a bold, yet elegant look. The artwork is clear, clean, and impactful.
  2. A matched set: Uniquely, the Cuban Food Market also orders matching “Havana Nights” coasters. The two products are sold both together and separately.  Ultimately, the two products complement each other while providing the customer with choice for tableware.


In Summary

2017 brought us many unique printed napkins. Our “best printed napkins of 2017” provide only a small sample.  Nonetheless, Union on Yale, Devour Catering, and the Cuban Food Market elevated their napkins above the rest. Their napkins are original, quirky, clever, and fun. Each speaks to a unique brand identity. And each demonstrates creativity through simplicity, emphasizing simple colors and clear white space.

As we look into 2018, we are excited to see your artistic direction.  The custom printed napkin still provides the best small canvas for marketing messages, and we look forward to seeing your unique creations in the new year!

Happy New Year, everyone!





Inspired for the new year?  Reach out to us and we’ll get things started!

Still need more inspiration? Check out our gallery for more ideas!

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