Last month I was having a discussion in my LinkedIn group regarding business card trends prompted by my previous blog post, Edge Painting is the New Black. A fellow member commented that 99% of his clients are looking to produce business cards in an efficient and inexpensive way, and most who do request a specialty print technique back off due to sticker shock. While I respect his expertise, I disagree that price alone is the reason for it. I noted that just a few years ago, the same could have been said for heavyweight, duplex business cards on premium papers. Then along came MOO.com – somehow they figured out a way to offer a well-produced, quadplex business card on a premium text and cover paper that was not only affordable but easily accessible to anyone. My hope was the same thing would happen with specialty print techniques. At the time I posted that comment, little did I know MOO was days away from launching a new product answering my request – MOO Letterpress, the feel of letterpress business cards made accessible and affordable.
It was love at first sight. I could hardly believe my eyes, but two of my all time favorite combinations were staring me right in the face: kraft paper paired with copper metallic ink. Oh Mohawk, you had me at hello. I was thrilled when I got the brand spanking new Mohawk Carnival + Via swatchbook last month. I didn’t think things could get much better with one of my “go-to” budget friendly grades…until I got the current copy of the Mohawk Maker Quarterly Issue No. 5 – PERCEPTION.
The first time I visited Florence I suffered from Stendahl syndrome. No, I am not kidding. I was in the my early twenties and had never seen so much beauty in one place. It was overwhelming. The syndrome itself can cause rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion – even hallucinations in some people who experience something of enormous significance, mostly pertaining to art. If you’ve been following P&P you know my love of paper, but when it comes to the craft of print, especially letterpress, I am truly awestruck. With a collection of 1.5 million pieces of wood type and more than 1,000 styles of sizes and patterns, The Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum is the only museum dedicated to the preservation, study, production and printing of wood type. I’m fairly certain if I ever visit the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum I’d surely suffer a relapse. So when I received the final limited edition Hamilton Wood Type specimen sheets from Appleton Coated you can understand why I got a little dizzy.
On the heels of their recent logo redesign, unique accommodations company Airbnb has launched a print magazine—Pineapple. Since interaction with their brand often ends with the app, the company wanted to have a more tangible offline presence. The quarterly issues of Pineapple reveal the hidden secrets of three locations where their services are offered; this time in 128 pages of ad-free, glossy glory.
If you’ve been following along on P&P you know that I love working on identity projects. While of course I’m partial to the paper specification process, I do appreciate all aspects of a well designed identity system. I’m always intrigued by the process, particularly what inspires certain concepts. In this identity for F61, a small print work shop in St. Petersburg, the logo was inspired by the schematics of printing equipment. Look carefully and you will see the angles and curves of the type follow that of the cylinders of a press. How great is that – a print equipment inspired identity.
Edge painting, edge coloring, colored edges – whatever you call it, is the hottest trend in business card design. The process is not new by any means, but it’s definitely getting a lot of exposure these days and with good reason – it makes a huge impact. When using engraving ink for this process you can expect a shimmery edge on metallics or a flat, matte effect on colored edges. For the uber-shiny look metallic foil edges are the way to go. Double the wow-factor when combining with other special print techniques like letterpress or embossing.
Some might say when it comes to organization I’m a bit obsessed. But when you’re dealing with hundreds of paper samples every day, organization is the key to overcoming overwhelm. The paper mills understand this, so they try to make the process of showcasing their products easier via swatchbooks. Over the years the mills have tried to get inventive with their design, the most recent to deviate from the standard format was Mohawk. I give them props for trying something different but honestly the format was not user friendly. So you can imagine my excitement when I learned they were redoing their swatchbooks. The first shipment arrived in The Sample Studio this week and let me just say the new Mohawk Carnival + Via Swatchbook is so worth the wait.
I guess it’s true what they say, you learn by making mistakes. While I’ve certainly learned a lot throughout my career, I’ve also made my share of mistakes – and a few of them were doozies. I remember one mistake I made early on as a spec rep. I was working with a young agency, they were small but doing some pretty amazing work. I got involved with the paper for an identity system for a sizable law firm. Let’s just say when things go south on a project, the last client you’d want to have an issue with is a law firm.
There’s no denying digital’s effectiveness. If you want to get information out quickly and relatively inexpensively it’ll do the job no doubt. Now if your goal is to differentiate your brand, make a lasting impression or provide the user with a memorable experience than we have to say nothing compares to print. But you don’t have to take our word for it, just check out the print collateral Google used to help launch their new visual language – Material Design.