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.
With one new brewery opening every day, craft beer has to be one of the hottest markets for design. From logo design to website to product packaging, each element plays an important role in the success of any startup. And craft beer is no different. But the key to standing out in a crowded market comes down to one important aspect, branding. To insure success, a new brewery must define critical elements like its core values, messaging and positioning. But knowing how to do it all can be overwhelming for any startup. Luckily there’s this great new resource, the Craft Beer Branding Guide from CODO Design & Neenah Packaging.
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.
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.
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.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the conveniences of technology. The immediate gratification I get from the click of a mouse suits my impatient nature and life in the 21st century. But truth be told, I’m old school, my heart belongs to analog. Like many creatives, I’m smitten with the tactile nature of print, especially the techniques whose methods and tools of the trade remain largely unchanged. So I was thrilled when I saw the newest limited edition print added Neenah’s site, The Beauty of Letterpress: The Art of Making An Impression designed by Earl Gee.
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.
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.
Just when I didn’t think they could get any better, Issue No. 7 of the Mohawk Maker Quarterly – Character, comes along. Putting out quality editorial and design content is tough, but to do so on a consistent, quarterly basis is pretty impressive. In fact, I’d say it speaks to the character of a company – and Mohawk has always been one paper maker who walks the talk. So it’s not lost on me that the paper selected for its production, Mohawk Loop, reinforces the theme of this issue. From the companies and artisans profiled in it, to the paper it’s printed on – when it comes to character this issue of the Mohawk Maker Quarterly has it in spades.