When it comes to developing a retail brand, most designers will tell you the devil is in the details. Making sure brand identity and messaging connect with its audience involves many elements that require thoughtful attention to detail – especially print collateral. In fact, it is scientifically proven that consumers form powerful, emotional connections through touch. It’s called haptics, and when thoughtfully incorporated into a retail brand’s print collateral, it has the ability to turn customers into brand loyalists. And Neenah is leading the charge, inspiring a revolution of sorts with its newest promotion. CLASSIC® Retail Revolution is a resource for designers working with retail clients to help them see new and unique ways to use printed pieces as a tangible element of today’s retail experiences.
I’m half-way through my midday americano, when I suddenly remembered today’s the day. I pack up my planner and search for the nearest post office. Two minutes later I’m standing in front of Mrs. Pacindo at the USPS in Independence, Ohio, gleefully asking for the new Love stamp. By the look on her face, I could tell she thought I was a little too excited about a stamp. But today is the day that love flourishes for stationery enthusiasts, as the new USPS Love Stamp designed by Anna Rifle Bond (of Rifle Paper) debuts.
There’s this idea that in order to produce high-quality print, one must have clients with deep pockets. I was a paper rep for many years and I can tell you some of the best print projects I worked on didn’t have huge budgets. In fact, it’s often just the opposite. Producing great print is not about having a great budget, it’s about having great relationships. You can tell a lot about the relationship between a designer and print rep by the quality of the project’s print production. When production details are so well executed they blend synergistically with the design, that’s the tell-tale sign of a strong relationship between designer and printer. And this was the case with the NewBridge 2017 Annual Report.
The fun thing about what we do at Parse & Parcel, is getting to see glimpses of projects as we consult on paper and production. And rebranding projects are some of our favorites – especially those that take special consideration of the details. Our friends at the Studio of Christine Wisnieski share some insights into their process, and beautiful details, for the Harness Cycle rebrand.
When we first saw the Craft Beer Branding Guide by the guys at CODO Design, we knew it was one for our keeper file. Born out of the website bearing its name, CODO teamed up with our pals at Neenah to produce a print version in pocket guide format. While the subject may be about craft beer, the strategy behind branding craft beer can be applied to many verticals. Especially those who have a physical product as part of their business. We shared the piece in the spring issue of The Parcel, it was an instant subscriber favorite. So we partnered up with our friends at AIGA to bring the team from CODO to Cleveland to share a bit about their business, their work and their love of craft beer and branding. It was a packed house at Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland for Craft Beer Branding with CODO Design & AIGA. Cody and Isaac dug deep and shared some really great insights into how they doubled down on a niche market to take their design firm national.
Parse & Parcel readers know we’re on a mission to make resources available to all creatives. So when we learn about like-minded endeavors, we have to share. Like so many creatives, we enjoy the pleasure of discovering a little gem. Especially those that have been given new life. This was the case when we were setting up the sample studio. In addition to the massive amounts of paper and print samples we keep on hand, we’re smitten with nostalic design memorabilia. When Jesse Reed and Hamish Smyth launched their reissue of the 1970 New York City Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual on kickstarter, we backed it in the first few days. Its home is on the coffee table in our lounge area and always gets by our design friends who visit. There is definitely something about analog resources that attracts creatives. Luckily, Jesse and Hamish launched Standards Manual, a book store for designers.
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…