Light Farms Identity

The folks at Tractorbeam have done it again.  This is an amazing example of an identity that stands out in every way. The client, Light Farms, is an 806 acre master planned community that’s being developed as the ‘gateway’ to Celina, TX. Tractorbeam created a “modern yet endearing identity inspired by the farm that gave name to the development. Cohesive brand collateral, website and community signage work together balancing tradition with a vision for the future.” We agree.
LightFarms_Portfolio_1_768From a paper perspective, we love the use of coated and uncoated finishes throughout, it gives the system a great tactile sense. We dare a perspective buyer not to pick up this collateral.
LightFarms_Portfolio_9_768For us the star of system is the accordian fold brochure. this can be tricky, with such heavy ink coverage if you go too heavy on the basis weight you risk cracking on the fold – this is where mock ups are essential during the print production phase.
LightFarms_Portfolio_5_768They chose a clean, muted neutral for the letterhead, business cards and envelopes (check out Classic Crest for a huge range of colors and weights). The square flap on the #10 envelope is a perfect place to showcase the logo. Since most identity systems these days are small in quantity, start with then end in mind. That’s the envelope – find one that the client can easily re-order. Most envelopes are packed in quantities of 2500 per carton. The paper companies are getting smarter about this by converting the envelopes themselves and selling them in smaller quantities on their websites.
LightFarms_Portfolio_2_768Another smart selection was the combination of a text and cover paper on the cover and inserts of the brochure paired with a beautifully sleek coated paper – perfect for making those illustrations pop. To learn more about paper combinations like this, join Parse & Parcel.
LightFarms_Portfolio_11_768 TB_folder

Shed Lab Sketchbooks

We love these sketch books from Shed Labs.  Utilitarian in design and function, they combined the best of both worlds when it comes to paper. By using a premium sheet for the cover and an economy grade for the pages, they got a big bang for their buck.

In our opinion they chose the perfect cover stock for this design – French Construction. This paper represents the rewards of “hard work.”  The covers are printed on 100# Steel Blue, Factory Orange and Safety Green. Since the piece only requires one sheet of cover, it makes sense to splurge here given the size of the product (3.75″ x 5.25″ finished). The one consideration we’d stress is to make note of the grain direction since scoring is required and this is 100# cover stock. The guts are printed on 60# Text Lynx Opaque Ultra from Domtar – a dependable yet budget friendly choice.

shedlabs1

shedlabs2

To achieve the white color on the cover, they mixed varnish with a subtle gray – very clever. Additionally, the books were designed as a continuous piece of art – so one begins where the last one left off. Interested in learning more about pieces like this? Join Parse & Parcel and sign up to receive The Parcel.

shedlabs3

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.

pencil1

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.

pencil5
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.

pencil3 pencil4 pencil2

An Annual Report with No Ink

They don’t get produced the way they once did, but annual report design has not lost its creativity.  In this bold annual report for Noble Development created by Farmgroup – the piece was produced without one drop of ink. The creative team let the paper be the star of the show, employing strong print techniques like embossing, die-cutting and unique binding to carry the company’s message: “be different. be noble.”  I have to give as much credit to the AE on this one as the creative. I can’t think of too many CEO’s that would opt for such a daring statement – but more really should.

FG01

The secret to producing such incredible results lies within the paper stock.  With all the folding going on in the bindery, if you use too heavy a basis weight you run the risk of cracking, but with such few pages you need the piece to have some heft to it reinforcing the messaging.  This is where samples play a critical role in the process. To insure you’ll get the kind of results you’d expect, order a mock-up on the actual paper stock you’ll be using.  In this case, the annual is on three different stocks in very bold, yet corporate colors: white, black and gray. The paper has a simple, raw surface allowing the tactile feel of the sheet to be the textural backdrop for the heavy embossing and die-cutting techniques. To learn more about mock-ups and what’s in the sample studio – join Parse & Parcel.

fg03

fg08

fg05

fg10

fg07

Mix and Match Paper Stocks

We love it when we see designers mixing up paper stocks on a project.  And there’s no better time to give it a whirl than with an identity system.  We stumbled across this suite for Define Bottle, designed by Akula Kreative – and we love how they mixed and matched stocks.

DefineBottle-Luxury-Stationery-Suite-2

For the letterhead they went with a classic – literally.  Classic Crest 24# Writing – with a slew of white options this paper is a great staple to anchor any identity system. Printed with three PMS colors. For the envelope they opted to go with a color, smart choice.  In this case they selected Construction Cement Green 70#T by French Paper – and added a nice detail by selecting the #10 policy envelope (open end). Other nice details include the wrap around address label printed one color on Mactac’s Metro grade, the euro-flap announcement envelope and the washi tape detail.

All in all, a great example of why mixing it up when it comes to paper stocks really works. The secret to keeping costs in check is working with your paper rep ahead of time to make sure the stocks you’ve selected (and sold the client on) are readily available.  To learn more about readily available paper stocks, sign up to join Parse & Parcel.

DefineBottle-Luxury-Stationery-Suite-11

Hudson Made

hudson-made-parse-parcelWe fell in love with the simplicity of the packaging of this product – one color, letterpress printing embodying the spirit of craftmanship. Hudson Made packaging clearly references a nineteenth century design – a time when products were individually produced and hand packaged. Beautiful work by the team at Hovard Design.

Hudson Made is an online retailer specializing in highly curated, artisanal products made by hand in the Hudson Valley, the North Country and Brooklyn. All of the products sourced and produced are created in small batches resulting in limited quantities – and is 100% American made. We love that.

fancyblackstack

B&SS_citron_neroli_frontback

fancy_black_all

Do Not Open

It’s no secrect, we love mail. And we can’t think of a better way to start the week than by receiving a beautiful hand-lettered envelope designed just for you. If you agree, then you will LOVE the new project from the talented letterer and designer, Erik Marinovich. Inspired by gifts he’s received from colleagues, Marinovich would send out oversized hand addressed envelopes that included a thank you note and tote. After seeing his intended recipients were pinning the envelopes up on their walls, he decided to launch Do Not Open – a personal project.

DNO4All that’s required is a submission of an address and (for a fee) you’ll receive a beautiful and unique hand-lettered envelope. No two addresses will look the same and the envelopes are standard issue #7 kraft bubble mailers sized 14 1/4″ x 19. Don’t hem and haw on this one, the project is limited to 250 envelopes.

While we love the simplicity of the kraft mailer, being paperphiles we can’t help but wonder how incredible these works would be designed on oversized envelopes constructed of cover weight paper – equally durable yet less bulky, lending themselves well for framing such original works of art. To learn more about envelope options and resources available to graphic designers, join Parse & Parcel.

DNO1 DNO2 DNO3

Images via DoNotOpen.it

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

engrave1

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.

engrave5

  • 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.

engrave4

Shades of Radiant Orchid

radiantorchid_banner

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.