Act Now! A Peek Inside

We finally dug into the new direct mail promotion from Sappi and is does not disappoint. If you don’t already know, Sappi makes coated papers and is probably best known for their McCoy brand. All we can say is this is one piece you don’t want to miss. It’s chock full of good marketing info, making it a cinch to sell client’s on why they should use direct mail. Did you know that among 18-34 year olds, mail is the preferred means of receiving communications from their favorite brands?

Act-Now-2-720Designed by VSA Partners in Chicago it’s printed entirely on Opus, which BTW is a very affordable option if your client’s on a budget. Within the mailer, there are previously printed campaign materials designed by VSA that serve as direct mail case studies—publications for Facebook, D’Addario and Chicago’s local The Butcher & Larder. If you’re a foodie, you will want the piece for The Butcher & Larder poster alone! This piece is a great road map on what to think about when creating a direct mail campaign – maybe if Bank of America had a copy they wouldn’t have such a disaster on their hands now.

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Be sure to join our mailing list for the latest on what’s happening in paper, print and design. In the meantime, here’s a peek what’s inside Act Now.
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Olympic Logo Retrospective

While the 2014 Winter Olympic games get underway in Sochi, we can’t help but notice the logo everywhere. Created by a team of Swiss designers at Interbrand Agency, the logo was described by the selection committee as “the first digital brand in the history of the Olympic movement.”
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As the New Yorker pointed out the current logo veers far from the original concepts which had a more refined feel to them featuring floral illustrations inspired by Russian art and natural elements. The official logo features no drawings (a rarity among Olympic logos) as well as all lowercase lettering, the five rings and a web address. Using a typeface similar to the Revue font, the Sochi logo has taken a beating for being too simplistic and difficult to read.

Not sure about that, but it’s clearly a departure from the original concepts as well as past Olympic logos.  Check out our pinterest board for a retrospective of Olympic logos past, in the meantime here’s a glimpse.

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USPS Love Stamp Release

It’s here, just in time for Valentine’s Day.  The USPS 2014 Love stamp was released for sales today.  The stamp, Cut Paper Heart, was designed by Art Director Antonio Alcala featuring illustration by Q. Cassetti.

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“It is meant to be decorative, happy,” Cassetti said, “not necessarily a valentine, but love all year round.”

The digital illustration depicts a large white heart enclosing a smaller pink heart with a saw-toothed edge along its left-hand side. Surrounding the central hearts are pink swirls with smaller hearts embedded in the design, and a ragged-edge motif that echoes the edging on the small pink heart.  The hearts and swirls are contained within a red square that has “pinked” edges, as if cut with pinking shears. A white border frames the entire design.

Cassetti hand drew the illustration so that she could keep the scale of the details appropriate to a stamp-size design. She then scanned the drawing and modified it on the computer. “The goal for the finished art is to have it not appear to be digital,” Cassetti explained.

For a look back at some of the stamps in the Love series, check out our Pinterest board.

A Self Promotion that Delivers

OK, we know self promotions had better be good. It’s your shot at wooing perspective clients and demonstrating how your creative skills can impact their business. While we’ve seen a lot of creative promos over the years, this one by Pencil Agency in London caught our attention.

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The agency is known for creating bespoke content for clients across all channels  but with a particular love of print. With this in mind they decided to promote themselves as well as the importance of curated content for brands and produced a beautifully designed newspaper.

The piece was printed using navy and fluorescent orange inks – while we’re not sure of the paper selection given the nature of the piece we think French Paper Durotone Newsprint Extra White or White would be quite fitting. What really caught our eye was the custom made envelope they created converted out of navy paper (yes you can find some beauties in this shade, Neenah’s Oxford Blue Chip or Classic Crest Patriot Blue come to mind). Given the nature of the deep shade, the envelope is most likely produced on a cover weight stock giving it extra importance when held, enticing the recipient to open it. Upon opening the flap, a touch of fluorescent orange on the liner is revealed – a really nice detail.

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A custom envelope like this one is a great way to standout on a clients desk, insuring your brand’s message reaches its intended audience.  To see how you can received inspiring printed samples like this one, sign up to join Parse & Parcel.

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Interactive Print

Ed15_promoPaper has been around forever, it’s the original communicator. Ed 15 – Interactive Print from NewPage shows how paper + print just keep getting better. Finding new ways to connect to the audience as well as with other media, proving collaboration trumps competition anytime.

To have that kind of staying power, print has been re-imagining itself since Gutenberg invented the printing press. Just look at the current ways it’s engaging with other media to convert readers via augmented reality, QR codes, or SMS technology. If that wasn’t enough proof, the piece showcases a variety of print techniques from using thermochromatic inks that reveal themselves with sunlight, heat, touch, UV, even water. Want to see it for yourself? Join us to receive an invitation to Parse & Parcel.

 

The Craft of Engraving

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Developed around the 16th century, engraving or intaglio printing, is a method of printing an image from lines cut below the surface of a metal plate. The feel of an engraved piece happens when the paper is pressed into a metal plate. If you are a fan of engraving or thinking about using engraving on your next project, you’ll want to check out this amazing site from Neenah Paper dedicated to the craft: The Beauty of Engraving. The site has a comprehensive gallery including curated collections – the current featured gallery is curated by Jessica Hische.

Paper is meant to be touched, to see these techniques first hand, sign up to receive The Parcel.  In the meantime, here are a few things to keep in mind the next time your working on a project using engraving.

  • Engraving will give the sharpest image, the die is cut by hand, either chemically etched or burned via laser.
  • Photos and continuous tone illustrations are etched into a plate, image reproduction is as clear as lithography.
  • Engraving is not inexpensive, so it limits its applications – but plate sizes are small (limited to 5″ x 7″) and can maximize impact on a project.
  • Engravers use special inks for copper and steel dies; steel is often used for the longest print runs and higest quality. Limited quantities can be done with copper dies, up to about 5,000.
  • Know your paper stocks, coated papers tend to crack – so make sure you test the paper you’re using. Caution should also be taken if using laid papers as they can cause feathering. The engraver can compensate for this by adjusting the ink flow or pressure on the die.

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  • The quality of the paper is critical, because of the craftsmanship and sharpness, engraving requires fine papers – cotton or wove stocks offer the most beautiful results.
  • Always use match colors for engraving, four color process in not suitable with this technique – it uses different inks than litho inks.
  • The technique lends itself to using lighter inks on darker papers due to the high opacity of the engravers inks.
  • Be careful is using gloss inks, they can take on a metallic appearance.
  • Avoid trying to reproduce large areas of color – they can appear mottled or uneven. Instead, think about an outline of the image with a screen tint.
  • To eliminate the debossed impression engraving leaves on the back of envelopes, convert the envelopes after they’ve been engraved. Be sure the engraver prints the envelopes with the flaps open to avoid debossing.

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Shades of Radiant Orchid

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It’s official. Radiant Orchid is Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2014. If you look at the color wheel, the hue is a sharp contrast to last year’s Emerald. According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director for the Pantone Color Institute, this years selection is an “invitation to innovation. The purple family offers opportunity to do creative things.” Apparently that’s what we all want right now.

One group who’s sure to be looking to this color for inspiration in 2014 is brides. By the time the first crocus sprouts up in Spring, brides will be blushing for invitations in this shade. And why wouldn’t they? With a bevy of options to choose from, no need to limit the invitation elements to shades of white – from cover weight to announcement envelopes, there’s a hue of Radiant Orchid to make creatives swoon. Here’s a list of our paper pics in the PMS 18-3224 range:

Check out our Radiant Orchid Gallery on Pinterest.  To see more inspiration on the 2014 Color of the Year, join Parse & Parcel.

Brilliant Bubbly Design

Just in time for the holidays, venerable Veuve Clicquot gets creative with the new ‘Fashionably Clicquot’ packaging, combining both fashion and function. When its cover is removed, the Fashionably Clicquot’s pleated paper pack unfurls to transform it, from an elegant package containing the Veuve Clicquot Yellow label, to an ice bucket!

The pleated ice bucket and carrier case all-in-one pack also boasts an easy-to-carry ribbon handle and black printed graphics. These details reinforce the luggage theme found in a range of Veuve Clicquot objects.

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The Basics of Menu Design

Forget about making the best sellers list, what every one is reading these days are menus.  The newest print promotion from Neenah is dedicated to a subject near and dear to the graphic designer’s heart (and stomach) – Menu Design. And a well designed menu can more than cover its expense in just one days tally, while a poorly designed one can have customers saying “check please” instead of asking to see the dessert menu.

The last time Neenah did a print promotion on menu design was more than 5 years ago – and we still have freelance designers asking if we can score them one. Once you look through this promo, you’ll know why. Did you know a menu program should run for thirty-six months or that the biggest mistake in menu design is how the prices are listed?

Make sure you don’t miss out on great promos like Neenah’s Menu Design, join us and sign up for The Parcel.

Here’s a peek inside
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Mohawk is for the Makers

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Mohawk is no stranger to fans of paper + print. If you’ve been following them over the past few months, you’ve no doubt witnessed their brand transform – new logo, new website and new promotions. They recently launched a fab new campaign that celebrates craft in a digital world, with some new promotions all about the Maker Movement.

The concept was designed and created by Hybrid Design in San Francisco. Meant to celebrate Mohawk Superfine and tie into the company’s existing “What Will You Make Today?” mantra.  The team at Hybrid felt “heading down the traditional paper promotion trail wasn’t right for the new Mohawk of today. We needed something different, so we started thinking about Mohawk in the “maker” context. And a campaign was born.”

The campaign consists of three new publications which “feature the stories of printers, designers, manufacturers, artists, artisans, musicians, and all those who make their living as makers.” The Mohawk Declaration of Craft, The Mohawk Craft Cooperative, and The Mohawk Maker Quarterly publications promote and underscore the importance of craftsmanship and collaboration in a digital era. In addition Mohawk’s partnering with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia as Supporting Sponsor of the 2013 Martha Stewart American Made program and awards ceremony. Learn more about the Declaration of Craft and the Maker Quarterly, sign up to join Parse & Parcel.

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All images via Mohawk