Creative (UN)Blocks

For the client, it’s all about the end result but for the creative it’s usually about the process. How you get there makes all the difference between a product that’s a hit or a miss. For many that process is where inspiration and imagination come together in a plan. The newest promotion from Neenah: CREATIVE (UN)BLOCKS, designed by Chen Design Associates details the journey of how your paper selection can open a whole world of possibilities.

The piece is a four part kit: Study, Play, Connect and Make. Produced entirely on Neenah’s ENVIRONMENT Papers, it’s a display of breaking through the creative blocks that designers face in their everyday work. The kit enables the user to see how the four parts of the process can come together in a myriad of combinations, mirroring the creative process and culminating in the final product.

The idea behind the piece was to provide creatives with real printed material they can refer to when running into one of those creative blocks. The 8×10 inch sized paper promotion breaks into four smaller books, each representing environments where designers find themselves in during the day. Using visual and copy prompts on nearly 150 pages, the books explore these environments and ways for designers to push through their creative blocks:
  • Study: Researching the who, what, where, when and why of a project
  • Play: Exploring new perspectives when creating
  • Connect: Communicating with others in new ways
  • Make: Turning a new idea into a tangible masterpiece

For those of you not familiar with ENVIRONMENT, this is a great piece to learn about the line – which lends itself to four sustainable fiber options. It has recycled content from 30 – 100% PCW, as well as papers made from bamboo and bagasse. Want to see Creative (UN) Blocks for yourself? Sign up today to receive THE PARCEL delivered to your door.

 

The Beauty of Engraving

If you are a fan of paper and print you will love this site from Neenah, thebeautyofengraving.com. The site showcases beautifully designed works featuring  – engraving.  Obviously the choice of paper plays a crucial role with this type of print technique – you’ll want use a highly tactile sheet, some would say go for one with a “toothy” feel to really play up the beauty of engraving.

In case you need more convincing, check out this video – it reminds us why this centuries old print technique is truly an art form.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=fjeA5lgjCK4]

Domtar Dares You to DREAM

In Domtar’s DREAM promotion they ask the reader to think back to childhood – when they had no limits, no barriers to their expectations. Like children who play passionately and imagine anything is possible – Domtar asks us to explore a little more when it comes to putting ink on paper.

domtar-dares-you-to-dream

From the moment you open the cover of DREAM – which is printed on Cougar 130# cover, four color plus varnish and clear foil – it’s apparent this piece pushes the limits of printing on uncoated white paper. You’ll see everything from solid, heavy black coverage with a registered silver foil, to four color process, to touch plates, to a clear foil using a double etch die for a dimensional feel (where the glitter is on her mask in the image below), to a domed embossed with a spot raised-image UV coating (so cool, feels kind of rubbery) – all printed offset with conventional inks.

Domtar- dares-you-to-dream

Make sure to check out our personal fave: Dream No.5 – Playhouse Dreamhouse, the birch trees look three dimensional, and the smoothness of the sheet really showcases the design elements featured in the photography.

Helpful Tools for Picking a Color Scheme

Who doesn’t love color?  For many creatives, color is at the root of their designs and greatly impacts the feel of the project.  Some days inspiration comes easily, but for those times when you’re stumped on selecting a color palette, here’s a few (free) resources that can help.

Think Ink by Neenah  – Think Ink is a free iPhone application that puts powerful design and color theory tools in the palm of your hand. Create palettes based on colors captured in your photos, your creation of CMYK or RBG values, or Neenah paper colors.Create custom color palettes based on the Dewey Color System®, the world’s only validated, color-based personality testing instrument.  Customize your color palettes in RGB and/or CMYK values displayed for easy reference. Choose from four different color palettes: Subdue, Pop, Classic and Blend. View your color palettes in alternate formats and in type samples. Share you color palettes directly from your iPhone with friends, vendors or clients via email. To see how it works, check out this demo.

Kuler by Adobe is a free online application for generating color themes, also available as an Android App (for now). Explore, search, and create new color themes right where you work with the Kuler panels built into Adobe Illustrator® CS5, Photoshop® CS5, InDesign® CS5.5, Fireworks® CS5, and Flash® Professional CS5.5 software.

Color Scheme Designer– currently in its third iteration, is free but is a  Kickstarter project looking for funding to keep it alive. Featuring color-blind conversion alogorithms, iPhone/iPad app, and a searchable database of color themes created by users.

Colourlovers – an is a creative community where people from around the world create and share colors, palettes and patterns, discuss the latest trends and explore colorful articles.

Confessions of a (Design) Peeping Tom

I love walking the dog in the evenings. It’s not because I’m a health nut, it’s worse – I’m a design peeping Tom.  I love to see how my neighbors decorate their interiors.  My favorite time of year is between Thanksgiving and New Year’s – when holiday decor is in full swing.  I can catch a glimpse of the tree in the foyer all decked out in copper and green, or the fireplace mantel swagged in flocked cedar garland. All of this providing inspiration for my own holiday design.  The same holds true in my work – I love to see what designers are up to when it comes to print design.

So I was thrilled when I received the newest promotion from Mohawk featuring works submitted to their annual print design contest CRUSH – the Mohawk 12 Show Catalog, showcases what happens when designers lust after paper and print. The piece carries through the theme of the entire campaign – “A love affair with paper.”

The catalog details the winning entries, chosen from the best work submitted from all over the world.  Featuring documentary-style photography, the book showcases the work of eight winners and fourteen finalists who were chosen by the SHow 12 jury: Stanley Hainsworth, Tether, Seattle; Jorge Alderete, Illustrator, Mexico City; Michael Jager, JDK Design, Burlington, VT; and Susana Rodriguez de Tembleque, SY Partners, San Francisco.

The book houses over 90 photographs showing off the pieces that caught the eyes of the jury. Crush is printed on Mohawk Superfine, Eggshell Ultrawhite. The cover features a neon-esque fluorescent green, achieved by two hits of green which extends throughout the catalog to compliment the four-color process used for the photos.  The printer used a 20 micron stochastic screen to achieve the results.  Check out the works and catalog for yourself, sign up to join parse & parcel.