To me there’s nothing better than a blank page. I love the idea of fresh starts, and while that may be a bit difficult to achieve with carry over of daily business happenings, I get great satisfaction in starting a new month on the calendar. I think of all the possibilities, look back at the previous month’s accomplishments and bring over good items that I didn’t get to tackle. Before I know it a new plan takes shape and then its all about execution. While it’s easy to get caught up in the to-do list, I find that planning little moments of surprise into my day helps me hold on to that feeling of possibility. One of those unexpected moments happens every time I logon and see the month’s wallpaper greet me, it’s a happy little surprise every time. It’s April 1st and that means new wallpapers are here.
It’s official, spring’s here. I know the calendar says the vernal equinox began on March 20th – but I have my own system. Living near the Great Lakes most of my life, I know a date on calendar means nothing in terms of reality. So I rely on something much more scientific, my senses. While I saw a few snowflakes flying this weekend, I also saw the first harbinger of spring in my book – the crocus. I base the next three months on this sighting alone. I know in 10-14 days the hellebores will be in bloom, followed shortly by the forsythia and cherry trees. That’s my signal to breakout the putrid liquid fence. This step is a necessary evil because it prevents the deer from devouring my spring landscape. As a gardener, I live for my display of spring bulbs. Tulips are by far my favorite – probably because much like paper, they come in an abundance of gorgeous colors.
What’s your favorite color? Most people know instantly what their color of choice is, for me this is a tough one. I find it’s a lot like choosing your favorite ice cream flavor, it kind of depends on my mood. Lucky for me I’m in The Sample Studio all day and can easily find a hue to suit my needs, from white to black and every shade in between. While some may think being surrounded by all this color can make one jaded to it, I am gitty when a mill revamps a grade and colors are re-imagined. Just last week I attended a meeting with some industry paper peeps where we were shown the recent grade refresh of Neenah’s Astrobrights offering. While the rep from Neenah spoke about the big changes to the grade (major additions of basis weights), I could focus on nothing else but the new lemon-lime duplex colors in the new Astrobrights swatch book.
There’s no doubt about it, it’s been a long winter. We’ve been dealing with arctic temps since late November and the snowdrifts are so high the dogs don’t even want to trudge through them. I think we’re all ready to say goodbye February, hello March. This is the month we start to feel hopeful again – temperatures rise, the birds return and the landscape begins to reveal itself once more. So we’re celebrating the hopefulness of March in this month’s wallpaper design with a blend of type and illustration.
One of the perks of my job is that I get to see some pretty amazing paper promotions. Over the years I’ve amassed quite a collection of fab samples showcasing every print technique imaginable. I refer to my sample library often, especially when a designer asks to see something special. The one area of my stash that is in hot demand these days is luxury packaging. It seems everyone with a new business or product is embracing the tactile medium of paper as a means of differentiating their brand. There’s tons of great info online about haptics (the science of touch), but to me there is nothing quite like experiencing the real thing. I always thought it would make so much sense to just have one really well executed packaging piece that highlights paper as an essential part of packaging design. So when I opened the new Neenah packaging promotion – The Power of Paper: On Neenah, I almost passed out.
With temps hovering around twenty degrees this week, we didn’t need Punxsutawney Phil to tell us winter will be sticking around for at least six more weeks. All this frosty weather means we’ll continue to be spending a lot of time indoors and plugged-in, but there’s no reason we can’t make things a little brighter while doing it. So we’re happy to share our February wallpaper featuring a sweet Valentines themed illustration by Chris Corsi. We love the idea of hand-delivering a valentine to that special someone.
I was scrolling through my facebook feed when a post from a design friend stopped me in my tracks. “Dear paper companies – cease and desist showing designers premium / unique papers that when we actually go to use them – you inform us right before press you cannot fulfill an order. I am so over print production.” I cringed, this is the exact opposite reaction every paper company wants a designer to have about their products. As someone who has lived and breathed paper for the better part of my career, I have to wonder why the disconnect between availability of premium papers and designers still happens?
I don’t know about you, but right about this time of year I reach the end of my rope with winter. Growing up in Buffalo you’d think I’d be used to lake effect snow and sub-zero wind-chills by now, but somehow the winters of my childhood seemed so much more fun. I’m not so sure we can do anything about the weather, but we can do something about making things here a bit more fun. We’re introducing a new feature on the blog and maybe just help warm-up with wallpapers this winter. Each month we’ll share a new wallpaper from illustrator and P&P staffer, Chris Corsi, which you can use for your desktop or phone.
It’s no secret I’m a sucker for great packaging. If you follow Parse & Parcel on social media at all, you know how deep my affection for well crafted packaging design runs. While this obsession might seem natural for those who live and breathe design all day, there’s actually some science behind it. Numerous studies on haptic design (see no. 4) show that simply touching an object increases our perception of ownership over that object. That explains my collection of luxury packaging boxes. After seeing the recent rebranding project for Bing Bang NYC Jewelry, I see my box collection growing.
It’s nothing new to see a cookbook that focuses on the food, but the concept behind MENÜ has certainly caught my eye. The book tells the larger story of twenty-two chefs who are changing the gastroculture in Budapest, Hungary. With a mix of culinary talent, the design celebrates the concept of food as community in an experiential way. Wanting to convey its similarity to that of a rare object, MENÜ is a limited edition print collection of stories and food.