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STATIONERY DELIVERS MESSAGE IN LIVING COLOR

SHARE STATIONERY DELIVERS MESSAGE IN LIVING COLOR

"Nobody throws my business card away," said Paul Wakefield, the president of Touch-it Inc. of Ogden, Utah. "It's alive and they want to see if it keeps on working."

Well, if not alive, certainly lively. Wakefield's card changes color from a deep purple to a light pink where it is held between thumb and fingers. But put it down on a cool surface, and it quickly reverts to its original color.Wakefield is betting that the market is ready for business and greeting cards, school supplies, stationery, direct mail solicitations and placemats that turn different colors in response to body heat or some other heat source.

His new product line includes paper sheets for printing, school folders, greeting cards and gift wrapping paper.

Standard 8 1/2-by-11-inch paper will sell for $36 to $38 for 500 sheets, which Wakefield said was comparable to the high grade paper used in ink jet printers.

Like "mood ring" jewelry, the technology is based on thermochromic chemistry - materials that change color with changes in temperature.

The dyes containing these chemicals are microencapsulated and attached to the top of the paper, similar to the process that produces carbonless carbon paper. Wakefield said the chemicals contain no heavy metals and the paper can be recycled.

He contends that paper that changes colors while being held will attract more attention than plain old "dead" paper, as he calls it. Because the reaction is reversible, his notion is that people will absorb the message printed on the paper as the colors change.

Or maybe they'll be busy looking at their fingers, wondering why the color is not rubbing off on them.