One of the things I love about having my own business is the fact that I can create the kind of projects I like. There are a few types of paper promos I adore, and gift wrap is at the very TOP of my list. So when it came time to think about the holiday promotion for The Parcel this year, I knew what I wanted to do. As luck would have it, literally the day I started planning the project, my friend Christine Wisnieski, sent me an email about paper recommendations for a new product line for her shop, gilded gift wrap, and a collaboration was born.
I love working on collaborations but they can be tricky, especially when the parties involved aren’t clear on the vision for the project. I’ve been involved in my fair share of mill buy-ins and unless everyone is honest about their expectations and contributions (financial or otherwise) it can lead to disappointment. Lucky for me, I am very familiar with Christine’s work (and if you’re a fan of P&P you are too). She designed our entire brand identity: logo, stationery, packaging and website. Suffice it to say, I trust Christine and her vision, so collaborating on this project was kind of a no-brainer for me. We worked out the details of our responsibilities, Christine designed the gift wrap and packaging, I contributed the papers used and we split the cost of the print production.
Christine’s process actually began two years ago, she explains. “Over the last five years, I’ve spent my days developing American made brands for clients I adore. I’ve handpick clients who I believe in, share common goals with and who inspire me. This fall, my Cleveland-based studio began creating products of our own. We wanted to work with remarkable materials and like-minded manufacturers to produce memorable well-made moments for all to enjoy. The first product — gift wrap. As someone who believes in tactile experiences, each year I hand paint found paper to wrap up gifts for family and friends. This fall, I evolved those original patterns into gift wrap perfect for any time of the year.”
The inspiration for the design came from a DIY workshop Christine held at The Cleveland Museum of Art. She was teaching how to create beautiful graphic prints with a simple potato stamp. I love that kind of creative simplicity. Parse & Parcel was the paper sponsor for the workshop and fell in love with the geometric prints she did in black and white (I wanted to purchase them and hang in the sample studio). Christine planned to introduce another paper product to her shop, so she took a few of these prints and turned them into gift wrap. Sign me up!
The next step was determining the paper and print production methods. Christine envisioned a gold/black combination for the wrap, so I started to investigate paper options available in a finish and weight that would be appropriate for folding. While there are a ton of black papers on the market, there a very few that are available in a text weight – so we were able to narrow the field pretty easily. Our choices were black vellum stock in either 70# or 80# text. I sent samples over to Christine to try, and the 70# text worked the best for this application. At the same we investigated print production methods. We had seen beautifully produced papers that were screen printed, so we wanted to see what that would cost and how it would look. We sent in some sample sheets for the screen printer to test (they tailed it in on a job) and it was not working. On top of that we got back our estimates and it cost less to print offset, so we moved forward with that print method.
Using such a dark paper stock we had concerns that the gold metallic wouldn’t have enough “pop.” In the past when I worked on projects using dark stocks and metallic inks, printers would often recommend a hit of opaque white under the metallic. Of course that would impact our budget as would additional hits of ink if they proved necessary. There was only one way to know for sure. We sent more samples for testing, this time we had ink draw downs done. This may not be something every printer is just going to offer up, but both Christine and I had a relationship with this printer (she’s used them numerous times, and they did the box sleeve for The Parcel). We got back the draw downs in a day or so, and absolutely LOVED the results. One hit of metallic gold was all that was needed!
Next we looked at papers for the belly bands and matched the gold from the draw downs to papers we liked. We looked at a kraft paper and some gold metallic papers, I sent over more samples for Christine and her team to try. We did some mock ups and in the end decided that the gold metallic paper perfectly complimented the design of the gift wrap. Now that we knew the papers, I got the sheet size and quantity needed from the printer, ordered the paper, and in a about week we got our gilded gift wrap!
In case you did notice, our secret weapon for insuring a successful print project comes down to one thing – samples. If we didn’t take the steps we did regarding paper samples for testing, draw downs and mockups we would’ve had disappointing results and blown our budget. Samples help take the guesswork out of the process.
We’re just about finished packing them up to include in The Parcel this month. Featuring shimmery gold metallic ink in two graphic patterns: gilded square and gilded bar, I know you’ll love them as much as we do. We’re shipping out the gilded gift wrap to The Parcel subscribers all month long! Subscribe now and have the best wrapped gifts under the tree.
Show us your presents wrapped in our gilded gift wrap and we’ll share it on our Instagram feed. #parseandparcel #deliveringpaperinspiration