If you’ve been following Parse & Parcel on twitter or facebook, you know we’re big fans of designer Dana Tanamachi. While we love all of her work, her chalkboard art installations are among our favorites. We’re so inspired we want to incorporate this technique into our new sample studio space, but how? We love the look, but the idea of taping and painting seems overwhelming under normal circumstances – never mind in the midst of a move. We almost gave up on the idea, but then we remembered wallCHALKER, the new product from MACtac.
I confess, I still read the paper. Not everyday, only on Sundays when I know I have the time to enjoy it. Maybe I’m old school, but there is something about the look and feel of newsprint that I trust. Don’t get me wrong, my feedly app is the first thing I check during the week, but on the weekends I’m all about slow information. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw the recent project by the team at Tag Collective for Schnitz, a restaurant in NYC, featuring a custom newspaper.
I love summer. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of being a kid, the days were long and filled with possibilities. By 8:00 am my sister and I were up and headed out the door, we’d round up our friends and off we’d go to explore, play, create – live . We didn’t worry about what to wear or if we’d look like dorks doing something, we just had fun. As adults we sometimes forget what it’s like to live each day with this sense of curiosity and adventure. The new print promotion by Domtar, LIVE on Cougar, reminds us to do just that – LIVE.
As a paper rep, my favorite projects to work on with designers were identity systems. They always seem to be the ones that offered the most freedom, especially when it comes to paper specification. Typically once the design elements are established, the focus turns to print and paper. So when it came time to pick the stocks for Parse & Parcel, I figured I got this. After all, paper is my specialty. But like a bride to be planning her wedding, I got so caught up in the details that I forgot my own rule when it comes to identity design. Start with the envelope first.
You know we love anything that makes accessing paper, and paper info easy. So we were thrilled to see our friends at Neenah just released a new version of their online paper resource tool – CabinetTM. Now you can gain access to all of Neenah’s swatchbooks online, so when you need to reference a sheets size, basis weight or color availability you’re not SOL if you don’t have the swatchbook handy.
I got an email last week from a former customer of mine wanting info on a printer’s house sheet, which was a private label. The job was scheduled to go to press that day and he hadn’t heard of the paper being used and wanted to know what it was. It’s a fair question. As a creative professional one’s reputation is based on the quality of one’s work, and when it comes to print, paper has a huge impact on the final results. So the fact that my former customer was reaching out to me for answers made me think – do designers really know what they are getting when it comes to a house sheet?
It’s kind of like asking if you know what you are getting when you buy a generic brand at the grocery store. For me, I frequent a local grocer that’s been operating in my city since the early twentieth century. The stores are clean, well stocked, their employees are friendly and knowledgeable, their commitment to sustainability very transparent and their prices are fair – not the cheapest, but that’s OK with me. I trust them to sell me a quality generic brand – not some chemical laden, GMO product imported from half a world away. Obviously not all generic brands are equal and the same goes for private label house sheets. It comes down to one thing – do you trust your printer? Hopefully the answer is yes. If you’re not sure, here are some things to think about when it comes to using private label house sheets.
I’m not not sure exactly when it happened but at some point during my career I fell head over heels for letterpress. Really, what’s not to love? From a light-weight kiss (slight impression) to an impressive bite (heavy indentation), letterpress imparts a tactile, hand-crafted feel that’s second to none. Which is probably why everyone from blushing brides to tech startup founders are swooning over the time honored print technique. To insure beautiful results, you’ll want to make sure you’re using the right paper – for many letterpress designers and craftsmen that means using a high cotton content sheet. One such grade recently added to the swatchbox is Strathmore Pure Cotton Letterpress Papers from our friends at Mohawk.
Since its beginnings in 1892 the Strathmore name has been associated with innovative cotton fiber papermaking. Its symbol is the thistle, taken by Strathmore’s founder Horace Moses, from the native flora found in Scotland’s Strathmore Valley. Strathmore Pure Cotton Letterpress papers have been designed to emulate the look and feel of handmade papers, with a luxurious surface that allows for a beautiful contrast between the sheet and the printed impression. Available in four colors: Ultimate White, Soft White, Smoke Gray and Chino – all have been carefully selected to meet the creative needs of traditional social stationers and new letterpress printers. Strathmore Pure Cotton Letterpress is available in two calipers: 18 pt for digital printing and 20 pt for letterpress printing. And there’s matching 80# Text envelopes available in square or Euro flaps!
The sheet is pure cotton in its makeup, which allows it to be bulky yet still feel soft. It’s this softness from the cotton that allows for a nice impression of the letterpress image. The bulkier 20 pt. weight allows for a heavy bite with little to no show through on the back, which is great for fans of overbite. And with that matching Euro Flap envelope, visions of letterpress lovelies already dance in our heads. Stay up to date on all the latest in paper (letterpress or otherwise), and join our community. And if you missed it, here’s a recent post on designing for letterpress in case you need a few pointers.
From the time I learned cursive in second grade, I’ve been fascinated with lettering. I love everything about it – the curves, the loops, the flourishes. I think I covered every square inch of my folders in middle school trying to perfect the lettering of my favorite band (The Doors) – I was 13 and had a thing for Jim Morrison. I drove myself nuts trying to get the proportions of the “o” correct. Now, anytime I see a sample featuring hand lettering it goes in my keeper file. So you can imagine my delight when I heard of Jessica Hische’s Daily Drop Stationery for the Luxe Project.
A letterer and graphic designer, Jessica Hische began the Daily Drop Cap project in 2009 illustrating a decorative letter every day until she completed twelve sets of alphabets. Now she’s turned the gorgeous project into a full line of stationery for the The Luxe Project by Moo. The collection includes a full suite of luxe products including letterhead, business cards, notecards and mini-cards (so cute) all printed on one of our favorite papers – Mohawk Superfine. The self professed crazy cat lady is donating 100% of the proceeds from sales of her collection to the ASPCA.
We were lucky enough to have Jessica answer a few questions for us. Check out Jessica’s insights on the Daily Drop Cap project, her take on ‘procrastiworking,’ and the importance of paper specification among other things.
True to form in their celebration of craft and the maker movement, our friends at Mohawk are celebrating their historic Strathmore fine paper brand with the launch of Strathmore Notes, a new line of fine paper journals. Also making headlines is the introduction of Strathmore Pure Cotton Papers (more on that in a bit). With it’s heritage stemming from Scotland’s Strathmore Valley and the country’s national symbol, the thistle, Strathmore has been delighting printers and artisans with it’s beauty and uncompromising quality since 1892.
Strathmore Notes is a new line of paper journals made from papers crafted in Mohawk’s century old paper mill in upstate New York. Each journal sports Strathmore Grandee Charcoal Gray on its cover, a true felt paper perfect for featuring the brand’s embossed thistle icon. Available in three paper styles with a colorful hand-sewn spine.
• Strathmore Pure Cotton Paper – featuring luxurious 100% cotton-fiber paper with a crisp wove finish and the prestigious Strathmore Watermark, orange stitching and matching foil stamp, unlined pages
• Strathmore Watermark Laid Paper – featuring luxurious 25% cotton-fiber paper with the prestigious Strathmore Watermark, turquoise stitching and matching foil stamp, unlined pages
• Strathmore Premium Smooth Paper – featuring a luxurious, super smooth finish, magenta stitching and matching foil stamp, with an innovative linear pattern formed directly in the paper
Strathmore Notes Journals are available in three sizes: small (3.5 x 5.5), medium (5 x 8.25) and large (7.5 x 10);each journal is individually packaged in beautiful, brightly colored wraps featuring designs depicting the iconic Strathmore thistle, complete with a selection of four customizable bookplates.
Each journal is individually packaged in beautiful, brightly colored wraps featuring designs depicting the iconic Strathmore thistle, complete with a selection of four customizable bookplates. As if that wasn’t enough, each Strathmore Notes Journal is linked to enhanced content via Mohawk Live, Mohawk’s mobile augmented reality app.
In addition Mohawk is introducing their new line of Strathmore Pure Cotton Letterpress Papers. We’ll be sharing more info on the new Strathmore Letterpress Papers in a bit, in the meantime sign up to join our mailing list and get all the latest paper inspiration delivered directly to you!
As a paper spec rep I worked with all types of creatives from art directors and production managers in big agencies, to designers in small to mid size studios, to students and freelancers venturing out on their own. A spec rep has one objective, to make sure their company gets the paper spec resulting in an order from the printer. It sounds easy enough but it’s not – especially if you’re the spec rep trying to justify the cost of your role within the company.
One reason is a lack of communication. Many spec reps never explain to their customer how the process works. They assume the designer knows to tell the printer to buy the paper from them. So when this doesn’t happen, eventually the rep stops calling on the designer. I have to say, I never experienced this. I figured if I was working with the designer on the job, supplying samples or securing special pricing, I should be clear about asking the designer to specify me on the print job. Most customers appreciate knowing this info up front – plus it usually opens the door for an honest conversation about the type of work they do and who they print with.