There’s this idea that in order to produce high-quality print, one must have clients with deep pockets. I was a paper rep for many years and I can tell you some of the best print projects I worked on didn’t have huge budgets. In fact, it’s often just the opposite. Producing great print is not about having a great budget, it’s about having great relationships. You can tell a lot about the relationship between a designer and print rep by the quality of the project’s print production. When production details are so well executed they blend synergistically with the design, that’s the tell-tale sign of a strong relationship between designer and printer. And this was the case with the NewBridge 2017 Annual Report.
The Design Collection by Neenah features luxuriously tactile and colored papers available for commercial printing. It houses 15 different papers in one place, and features a richly colored grades like Stardream, Esse, Oxford, So…Silk, Plike, Slide, Astroking and Wild. That’s only half the story. Texture is the other word synonymous with The Design Collection. With finishes like Canvas, Felt, Pearlized, Heavy Vellum, Hi-Tech and Diffused, creatives have plenty to choose from. Options are good, right? Sometimes it makes it difficult to decide exactly what paper to use with a specific technique. That’s one reason why we love samples so much. Creatives and clients alike are visual. Thankfully, there’s Neenah’s new lookbook, The Design Collection – Surface Issue.
It’s no secret we’re big fans of the National Stationery Show. So when our friends at Legion Paper asked if Parse & Parcel would like to participate in this year’s promotion, we jumped at the chance. Last year was the first time we partnered with them on the promo and had a blast with it. For this year’s promo, Show Us Your Money, participants got to create their own money to help celebrate the occasion.
With each issue of The Parcel, we like to include samples of “real-life” projects to demonstrate what is possible even under real-life constraints. We found a beautiful example we included in the summer issue of The Parcel. Oberlin Illuminated is an elegant, high-end photo book commemorating the end of a seven-year, $317-million fundraising campaign titled Oberlin Illuminate.
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.
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.
I first learned about the talented creative team of Oat when I was writing about their work for a feature on Oh So Beautiful Paper. The brand identity work I profiled was such a great example of the kind of print results that can be achieved when combining different paper stocks and production techniques. Jennifer Lucey-Brzoza and Rory Keohane are the principles of Oat, a multi-disciplinary design studio in Massachusetts. It was during this process they shared they were getting ready to launch their new stationery line, NOAT. Turns out I was already a fan of NOAT and didn’t even realize it.