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.
I start my workday pretty much the same way, by grabbing a sheet of paper and scrawling out all the things I want to accomplish. My method is to write down everything in my head. Once it’s on paper I can stop obsessing and start working. Of course I am overly ambitious, and by Friday my desk is cluttered with piles of half completed lists. I needed a better way to plan my workday and projects. I tried tons of analog options. After spending a small fortune on pretty, but non-functional planners, I was at a loss. Nothing worked for what I needed. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and am so excited to share Parse & Parcel’s very first stationery endeavor – The Planner.
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.
For most designers the process of creating is rarely a straight-forward line from concept and completion. Projects might be easier with a clear path to success, the reality is it rarely works that way. And that’s a good thing, life and work are about the journey, not the destination. The route between process and product is often a roundabout one, filled with equal parts joy and frustration. This issue of the Maker Quarterly is dedicated to that process. Designed by Hybrid Design, this issue celebrates the conscious path the makers take on the way to the destination. On top of that, Mohawk goes meta by bringing us inside the process of the making of the Process Issue.
With one new brewery opening every day, craft beer has to be one of the hottest markets for design. From logo design to website to product packaging, each element plays an important role in the success of any new startup. And craft beer is no different. But the key to standing out in a crowded market comes down to one important aspect, branding. To insure success, a new brewery must define critical elements like its core values, messaging and positioning. But knowing how to do it all can be overwhelming for any startup. Luckily there’s this great new resource, the Craft Beer Branding Guide from CODO Design & Neenah Packaging.
What form of media does the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rely on to welcome new members to the club? Print, of course. And why not? After all print has been proven to form some of the most personal, intimate connections with its audience. The team at Design Army created an experience around becoming a new member to this elite group. See how Design Army used the power of print and packaging to create a special experience for each new member.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – packaging design is all about the details. It has to be, especially when it’s geared towards the B2C market. The whole point is to get noticed enough that the consumer actually picks up the product. It’s not enough to merely have an attractive color palette and a standout logo mark – while those are critical elements of branding, they’re table-stakes in the world of packaging design. If you really want a product to get noticed, one needs to create an experience filled with excitement and the promise of delight for the buyer/recipient. And that’s exactly how I felt from the moment I first laid eyes on the Wondermade packaging.
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.
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.
When I was a kid I couldn’t wait until I turned 18. I was so annoyed by adults telling me what to do all the time – clean your room, practice the clarinet, be nice to your sister. Sheesh. To me, turning 18 meant freedom. After all, I would technically be an adult and that meant I could do what I want, right? Yeah, I know. But the one thing about turning 18 that remains as true today as it was all those years ago is the right to vote. Given the state of today’s politics, I can think of no greater privilege. So when Parse & Parcel was asked to participate in the AIGA Get Out the Vote exhibit, I leapt at the chance to be a part of it.
AIGA’s Get Out the Vote campaign calls on the power of design to motivate the American public to register and show up to vote on election day. Designers are encouraged to join the campaign by designing and sharing a poster. AIGA has partnered with the League of Women Voters to present an online gallery of non-partisan posters for printing and public distribution. In addition there are two exhibitions that coincide with both the Republican National Convention in Cleveland (July 18 – 21) and Democratic National Conventions in Philadelphia (July 25-28), as well as the AIGA Design Conference in Las Vegas this fall (October 17 – 19).