Designing the perfect packaging solution for start-ups

Designing the Perfect Packaging Solution for a Start-Up

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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.

Guide for Creating Memorable Packaging

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Get the Free Guide with our Top Tips for Creating Memorable Packaging

I have a thing for little blue boxes.

Of course, the ubiquitous blue box of Tiffany & Co. makes me swoon. I’ve saved every one I’ve ever gotten. Every. Single. One. (Which is currently four, btw).

Every once in a while I’ll peek inside the drawer I stash them in for safe keeping. Just looking at them makes me feel all fuzzy inside.

But this isn’t anything unusual.

The Difference Between Average and Awesome Comes Down to Character

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Have you ever seen a print promotion so awesome you wanted to kiss it? Ok, maybe that’s taking my adoration of ink on paper a little far but I swear that’s how much I love the new piece, Character, from Neenah Packaging. I know what you’re thinking – Neenah has a crazy budget and if your clients had their budget you’d produce something awesome too. But here’s the thing, it’s not about the budget, it’s about inspiration and execution. After examining this promotion, I am convinced the difference between average and awesome comes down to character.

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.

MailChimp Playing Cards

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When I first started email marketing for my previous employer,  we had three e-newsletters we published regularly. Given that our audience was made up largely of commercial printers, we’d get some flack about using email to distribute the content (it was 2008 and anything digital was seen as the enemy). Some customers were constantly complaining about it.  The worst part though was the email marketing solution we used – it was painful. I knew when I started Parse & Parcel I’d still use email (in addition to the USPS) to communicate content and share with our audience, but I couldn’t wait to find a better email marketing solution.  I chose MailChimp because it offered a ton of features. After sending my first email I was smitten, I even convinced my former employer to give it a try. Now I’ve fallen in love with MailChimp all over again, this time for their beautiful use of my favorite media – print!  In collaboration with Fuzzco and Theory11, they’ve gone and created some stunning MailChimp Playing Cards.  

Parse & Parcel Recognized with Graphic Design USA 2015 American Package Design Award

The Parcel - print and paper samples delivered to your doorstepSo we’re kind of excited around the sample studio today. About a month ago, we found out Parse & Parcel was recognized with GD USA 2015 American Package Design Award. Today the print edition of GD USA arrived and we’re featured among the winners in the luxury packaging category (page 135). I have to say, as a business whose mission is to inspire and educate the graphic design community, the fact that the packaging for The Parcel was recognized by the design industry is especially rewarding.

The Power of Paper: On Neenah

power-of-paper-parse-parcelOne of the perks of my job is that I get to see some pretty amazing paper promotions. Over the years I’ve amassed quite a collection of fab samples showcasing every print technique imaginable. I refer to my sample library often, especially when a designer asks to see something special. The one area of my stash that is in hot demand these days is luxury packaging. It seems everyone with a new business or product is embracing the tactile medium of paper as a means of differentiating their brand. There’s tons of great info online about haptics (the science of touch), but to me there is nothing quite like experiencing the real thing.  I always thought it would make so much sense to just have one really well executed packaging piece that highlights paper as an essential part of packaging design. So when I opened the new Neenah packaging promotion – The Power of Paper: On Neenah, I almost passed out.

A Sucker for Great Packaging

bing-bang-parse-parcelIt’s no secret I’m a sucker for great packaging. If you follow Parse & Parcel on social media at all, you know how deep my affection for well crafted packaging design runs. While this obsession might seem natural for those who live and breathe design all day, there’s actually some science behind it. Numerous studies on haptic design (see no. 4) show that simply touching an object increases our perception of ownership over that object. That explains my collection of luxury packaging boxes. After seeing the recent rebranding project for Bing Bang NYC Jewelry, I see my box collection growing.

About + Samples – by Arjowiggins

Arjowiggins Creative Papers have developed a limited edition book, About + Samples better known as “A+S61.” Designed by stereochromie in Paris, the piece is meant to serve as a working tool and a beautiful object. The promotion was designed for “art directors and those brands wishing to communicate in a way that is arresting and distinctive.” The ‘A’ tells the story of Arjowiggins papers and their intimate secrets. The ‘S61’ presents a selection of Arjowiggins 61 most coveted papers.

The two grades selected for the book covers are Curious Matter and Conqueror. The box encasing the books is produced on Keaykolour 100% recycled Camel. The packaging the promotion comes in is on Keaykolour 100% recycled Graphite. Deciding to highlight the paper itself, the design is understated and the debossed text appears like a shadow on the cover stock. Matching the minimalist design, the print technology has been kept simple as well, using unvarnished type printed in match silver to reveal the grain of the paper.

Developed as a limited edition sample promotion (only 1,000 were produced), it was sent to industry trendsetters with a focus in France, Italy, UK and Northern Europe – where Arjowiggins felt luxury brands and designers are especially active. Since the piece is so gorgeous, we can overlook the fact the promotion didn’t make it to North American – although we would love to see that arrive in our http://parseandparcel.com/the-sample-studio/. In the U.S., their Curious Collection of papers are distributed via Appleton Coated.

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A Designer’s Delight: The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Wes Anderson creates a world with his movies and the goal is for that world to come to life. His current film, The Grand Budapest Hotel certainly does that. Featuring a palette of pinks, violets and reds, the film tells the story of the charming, dedicated hotel concierge M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) as he fights to claim the inheritance left to him by one of his beloved clients (Tilda Swinton) from her villainous sons (Adrien Brody and Willem Dafoe).