By definition, the word classic means “serving as a standard of excellence : of recognized value.” In other words something that stands the test of time. Neenah’s CLASSIC® Brands have been around for 55 years. And that’s saying something in an industry that’s pretty fickle when it comes to paper grades with staying power. To give you some context, I started in the industry around the same time Survivor first aired. I’ve seen more papers come and go than torches snuffed out by Jeff Probst. So yes, it’s safe to say the CLASSIC® Papers live up to their name. But how exactly does a brand that is so iconic and classic undertake a refresh? Well, that was a collaborative process between Neenah Paper and Design Army that was a year in the making. I say it was well worth the wait because the results are stellar.
Most people think great design is the key to producing amazing print.
Great design is only half the battle. In my opinion, the reason many print projects fail isn’t because of the design. It’s because of a lack of detail.
Designers who are known for creating amazing print design, are involved in every aspect of the process – from concept through to production. And that includes specifying and sometimes even sourcing the paper.
For some of you, this may seem like a no brainer. But I’d ask you, how often are you settling for the printer’s house sheet on your work? Be honest. When was the last time you actually had work produced on the paper you envisioned using and specified for the job?
You can blame it on a lack of budget, availability issues, or a tight deadline. Those are just excuses. Every print project faces those same challenges.
The truly memorable, award winning work excels not in spite of, but because of those challenges.
Liz Bartucci is one of those rare individuals that can blend her creative skills to create a unique and recognizable style all her own. Known for her beautiful calligraphy and unique style of illustration, she shares her distinctive art each week on Instagram. Liz captures the spirit of pop culture icons and their infamous words, using a combination of stipple illustration and calligraphy to create much coveted works of art. As part of a collaboration with Parse & Parcel, we are thrilled to debut, The Designer Series, a collection of prints inspired by Liz’ passion project on Instagram, Sunday Sketches.
For Parse & Parcel, 2016 was a year filled with inspiration, experimentation, collaboration – and change.
We hosted three events in the sample studio, complete with three large-scale paper installations. Added a new intern to our team. We traveled back and forth to NYC, first to judge the Louie Awards, then later for the National Stationery Show. Connected with design and paper peeps in Atlanta for How Design Live. We got to be a sponsor for AIGA’s Get Out the Vote campaign. We revamped the delivery for our flagship product, The Parcel – shipping four times a year (winter, spring, summer, fall). Learned all about digital metallic inks, tried our hands at letterpress and wrote articles for some of our fave online, and print, publications.
You would think this would be enough to do for one year but not quite…
Spring is my favorite season. Partly because I live in Cleveland, where it’s gray from October until April. And while I like gray, that is a long time to go with out any sign of life or color to be seen. So when those first shoots of spring bulbs poke their heads through the earth, I get all the feels. That’s a sure sign it won’t be long before the raucous color of spring takes over the landscape. The fresh, vibrant shade of spring green is among my favorite colors of all time. So imagine my delight when I saw Greenery was announced at the Pantone Color of the Year.
Part Two –Plus a GIVEAWAY!
Fresh Takes on Classic Type on CLASSIC® Papers by Neenah is a bold, interactive new promotion designed by Kansas City-based Willoughby Design. Combining the beauty of type, design and production, the book merges contemporary typefaces and design with the textures of legendary CLASSIC Papers. The 9.5″ x 12″ book features six French-fold spreads featuring an interactive story crafted specifically for each typeface. Each spread contains a pull out, pop up, or put-it-together piece to help tell the story, and a quote from each typeface creator. In our previous post, we shared details an overview of the piece and its debut at our celebration – A Toast to Type. In part two of our series, we take a deep dive into some sweet type, design and production.
Part 1 – Plus a GIVEAWAY!
It’s a given in design that trends are part of the landscape. Something gets hot and suddenly it’s everywhere (um, rose gold foil). To me the interesting thing about trends is how they build on themselves. And type design is no different. Trends come and go but true classics always inspire. And inspired is exactly how one feels after experiencing Neenah Paper’s newest promotion, Fresh Takes on Classic Type.
At first look, I knew P&P had to do something fun to share it with our audience. So we invited a group of local designers to join us in the sample studio for a Toast to Type! A celebration of type, design and paper.
Image via Studio of Christine Wisnieski
Starting a business is hard. Really hard. I can’t tell you the countless hours I’ve spent developing the concept behind Parse & Parcel. There are so many details and a ton of planning involved. And no matter how much you plan, things are always changing. The tough part is how to plan for change without knowing exactly how things will change. This is a problem every business faces, but it’s especially difficult when you’ve got a physical product and you’re trying to find the perfect packaging solution – and you’re a start-up.
I first learned about the talented creative team of Oat when I was writing about their work for a feature on Oh So Beautiful Paper. The brand identity work I profiled was such a great example of the kind of print results that can be achieved when combining different paper stocks and production techniques. Jennifer Lucey-Brzoza and Rory Keohane are the principles of Oat, a multi-disciplinary design studio in Massachusetts. It was during this process they shared they were getting ready to launch their new stationery line, NOAT. Turns out I was already a fan of NOAT and didn’t even realize it.
So I’m going through the new promotion from Domtar, Mark Your Mark, when I saw something that stopped me mid flip. While the piece itself is about identifying different market segments, what really caught my attention was the design for the restaurant segment. This particular sample set contained a menu, coaster, order pad and business card. I immediately noticed its elegant simplicity – black and white illustration with a pop of gold ink. I flipped to the production notes and read two words that stopped me in my tracks. Digital Gold. Wait, what? Yes, gold digital metallic ink. Now my print peeps are going to tell me this technology has been available for a while. And yes, gold digital metallic inks have been available for a few years. But the print results I saw in this piece looked so much better than anything I had ever seen done before. What I saw was true digital metallic inks – gold flecks and all.