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Wondermade Packaging

 

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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.

NOAT – A Stationery Line Designers Can Appreciate

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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.

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.

Spec Rep Secrets: The Big Lie About Coated Paper

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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.

The Magic of Digital Metallic Inks

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So I’m going through the new promotion from Domtar, Mark Your Mark, when I saw something that stopped me mid flip. While the piece itself is about identifying different market segments, what really caught my attention was the design for the restaurant segment. This particular sample set contained a menu, coaster, order pad and business card. I immediately noticed its elegant simplicity – black and white illustration with a pop of gold ink. I flipped to the production notes and read two words that stopped me in my tracks. Digital Gold. Wait, what? Yes, gold digital metallic ink. Now my print peeps are going to tell me this technology has been available for a while. And yes, gold digital metallic inks have been available for a few years. But the print results I saw in this piece looked so much better than anything I had ever seen done before. What I saw was true digital metallic inks – gold flecks and all.

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Paper & Ice Cream!

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There’s nothing like the promise of paper samples and sprinkles to get busy designers to take a break and venture out of the studio for an afternoon. Last week we teamed up with two of our faves, Millcraft and Neenah, to host an intimate paper & ice cream social for creatives.

Showcasing the brand spanking new swatchbook release of The Design Collection, creatives got a first-hand look at some inspiring ways to use color and texture to enhance their print design. Along with the swatch book update, Neenah released a fab little sampler of designer’s fave techniques produced on the fifteen different grades that make up The Design Collection.

Progressive Annual Report – How Nesnadny + Schwartz Uses Paper Specification to Create Award Winning Annual Reports

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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.

You Can’t Judge a Book by its Cover

Oh, really? Tell that to Jessica Hische. She’s built a pretty fab career designing book covers (among other things) for Penguin and Chronicle Books, with the sole purpose of being judged.

The reality is our work is being evaluated all the time. And I can think of no other profession where judgment is more intense than in graphic design. When someone is paying you to literally make their brand look good, you can believe they’re judging you and your work long before you ever meet them.

Foil Stamp Thank You Notes

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m a sucker for a nice looking foil stamp. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about that shimmer that gets me every time. It’s kind of like in high school when you find out the boy you’ve been crushing on is going to ask you out. It’s just so fun and exciting. Well, I get the same fluttery feeling every time I see the sheen of a foil stamp. I know something special is in store. And that’s exactly the feeling we wanted to share with our latest subscriber exclusive – foil stamp thank you notes!

The Secret to Producing Memorable Print

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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.