How to Access Sample Services – Even if You Don’t Have a Rep

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I recently asked a group of designers if they ever felt like their comps looked better than the final results. The comments are ongoing, with reasons ranging from unrealistic expectations to lackluster production, but one point keeps coming up – it’s about the relationship designers have with their suppliers. After working with creatives for a while now, I know this to be true but am baffled by the number of suppliers who don’t understand the concept. So many reps fail to do one critical thing – do what you say you’re going to do. So often designers will meet with a rep initially, listen to their pitch, actually like what they see/hear enough to engage with them when they have an appropriate project, only to be let down when it comes time to the rep actually providing the service they need. It gets even worse if the designer is a freelancer. Whether that thing is a quote, suggest options, or provide sample services, there is no relationship without trust. 

The Perfect Mix of Black & White with a Touch of Glam

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There’s something about mixing and matching unexpected elements I just love, but it’s not always easy to pull off.  Combining upscale glam with industrial utility, the team at Ghost managed to do just that with the branding they created for The Factory. Like a swanky new year’s eve celebration in the gritty part of the city, this identity and packaging design is the perfect mix of black & white with a touch of glam.

Choosing Environmentally Friendly Paper

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I get asked a lot about what are the best environmentally friendly papers for print. Most people believe that just because a paper has 100% PCW that it must be the best choice for their print project, but that’s not necessarily the case. In honor of Earthday, I thought I’d share some tips on choosing the best environmentally friendly paper when it comes to print.

The Disconnect Between Availability of Premium Papers & Designers

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I was scrolling through my facebook feed when a post from a design friend stopped me in my tracks. “Dear paper companies – cease and desist showing designers premium / unique papers that when we actually go to use them – you inform us right before press you cannot fulfill an order. I am so over print production.” I cringed, this is the exact opposite reaction every paper company wants a designer to have about their products. As someone who has lived and breathed paper for the better part of my career, I have to wonder why the disconnect between availability of premium papers and designers still happens?

Spec Rep Secrets: Learn by Making Mistakes

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I guess it’s true what they say, you learn by making mistakes. While I’ve certainly learned a lot throughout my career, I’ve also made my share of mistakes – and a few of them were doozies. I remember one mistake I made early on as a spec rep. I was working with a young agency, they were small but doing some pretty amazing work. I got involved with the paper for an identity system for a sizable law firm. Let’s just say when things go south on a project, the last client you’d want to have an issue with is a law firm.

Spec Rep Secrets: Start with the Envelope

Colorful identity system by Stitch Design

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.