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.
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.
Spring is my favorite season. Partly because I live in Cleveland, where it’s gray from October until April. And while I like gray, that is a long time to go with out any sign of life or color to be seen. So when those first shoots of spring bulbs poke their heads through the earth, I get all the feels. That’s a sure sign it won’t be long before the raucous color of spring takes over the landscape. The fresh, vibrant shade of spring green is among my favorite colors of all time. So imagine my delight when I saw Greenery was announced at the Pantone Color of the Year.
Part Two –Plus a GIVEAWAY!
Fresh Takes on Classic Type on CLASSIC® Papers by Neenah is a bold, interactive new promotion designed by Kansas City-based Willoughby Design. Combining the beauty of type, design and production, the book merges contemporary typefaces and design with the textures of legendary CLASSIC Papers. The 9.5″ x 12″ book features six French-fold spreads featuring an interactive story crafted specifically for each typeface. Each spread contains a pull out, pop up, or put-it-together piece to help tell the story, and a quote from each typeface creator. In our previous post, we shared details an overview of the piece and its debut at our celebration – A Toast to Type. In part two of our series, we take a deep dive into some sweet type, design and production.
Part 1 – Plus a GIVEAWAY!
It’s a given in design that trends are part of the landscape. Something gets hot and suddenly it’s everywhere (um, rose gold foil). To me the interesting thing about trends is how they build on themselves. And type design is no different. Trends come and go but true classics always inspire. And inspired is exactly how one feels after experiencing Neenah Paper’s newest promotion, Fresh Takes on Classic Type.
At first look, I knew P&P had to do something fun to share it with our audience. So we invited a group of local designers to join us in the sample studio for a Toast to Type! A celebration of type, design and paper.
When it comes to commercial printing, coated paper is used on the majority of projects. It is considered the workhorse of the print industry. When used thoughtfully, it can be an amazing conduit for beautiful design and production. Printers love running it, and with good reason. It provides a bright, consistently even surface allowing for minimal dot gain, great ink gloss and produces crisp, fine results. Plus it’s fairly easy to run on press. Sounds like a dream, right?
But all too often it’s because of these very reasons that designers do not bother to specify coated papers. Most tend to rely on the printer’s house sheet when printing on coated paper with budget driving that decision or give vague specs like a “No.2 coated.” I’ve seen this happen a thousand times. And the big lie about coated paper most designers don’t know is that they’re giving up way too much for little to no real impact on the budget.
I’m tired of the little black dress. Yes, I’m guilty of having one in my closet that I rely on way too much. On paper it checks all the boxes: it’s black, it fits and I can wear it to a number of events. So yeah, technically it works. But does it WOW? No way. And I have to admit, sometimes I want a little wow factor. Well the same can be said about the paper specified for print. Basic white papers are fine for everyday projects. But if you’re looking to create a project that wows – the package that’s too irresistible to touch or the catalog to beautiful not to take – then color and texture are where it’s at. Lucky for us we don’t have to look too far, because Neenah Paper gives us the best of both worlds with their comprehensive new swatchbook, The Design Collection.
Progressive Annual Report – How Nesnadny + Schwartz Uses Paper Specification to Create Award Winning Annual Reports
There are just some projects that are iconic, and the Progressive Annual Report is at the top of the list. Mark Schwartz, the late founder of Nesnadny + Schwartz, built his career on bold moves – and the boldest had to be in 1982, when he called up the CEO of Progressive and offered to take photos for their annual report. Since then Nesnadny + Schwartz’s annual reports for Progressive have won more than 500 national awards. And one look at this year’s report, it’s easy to see why. But there is a tremendous amount of work that goes into producing such an amazing finished piece. We ought to know, Parse & Parcel constructed the paper dummies for the project. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is seeing the progression of a project from concept to production.
But how does it feel?
That’s the one key question I ask before I make any decision. That one word – feel, applies to so much. If you think about it, it can mean the actual texture of a thing, the mood or emotion something evokes, the way something looks, smells, sounds or tastes. Thoughts are cerebral but feeling is existential. Feeling provides us with context that is imprinted on us long after the thought is gone. For example, I had not thought about my grandmother’s kitchen in decades, then last weekend I was cooking chicken soup. I’ve had chicken soup hundreds of times since I was last in that kitchen (she passed away over 25 years ago), and never once did I think about that space. But as I was stirring the soup and got a whiff, I instantly felt like I was 8 years old, standing on a stool in that tiny, brown and gold kitchen waiting for the soup to be done. I love that feeling. Every time I experience one of those moments is priceless.
I love sending cards. I think it’s one of the most sincere ways to convey a sentiment. Whether it be an expression of gratitude, joy or love – it truly is the thought that counts. But I confess, I am not a fan of card shopping. Mainly because I struggle to find one that’s equally appealing in graphics and message. And don’t even get me started on the envelope. For me, a card is a reflection of the giver and just like choosing what outfit to wear to a shindig, requires a careful amount of thought and creativity. This process would be so much easier if I could just take the image in my head and create my own perfect card and envelope. Well it just so happens that a small group of creatives and myself were able to do just that. Inspired by the arrival of The Envelope Kit from Neenah, Parse & Parcel hosted a Valentine’s Day themed Crafty Hour in the sample studio this week.