Designing the perfect packaging solution for start-ups

Designing the Perfect Packaging Solution for a Start-Up

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Image via Studio of Christine Wisnieski

Starting a business is hard. Really hard. I can’t tell you the countless hours I’ve spent developing the concept behind Parse & Parcel. There are so many details and a ton of planning involved. And no matter how much you plan, things are always changing. The tough part is how to plan for change without knowing exactly how things will change. This is a problem every business faces, but it’s especially difficult when you’ve got a physical product and you’re trying to find the perfect packaging solution – and you’re a start-up.

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.

5 Surefire Signs of a Good Sales Rep

Finding a good rep can be challenging. You may prefer a certain company, but your rep might but be less than adept. On the other hand, you may find a certain rep to be a delight to work with, but perhaps her company’s products/services are too limited. We’ve all been there. And as someone who has been on both sides of the desk, I know all too well the pitfalls many reps and clients face. I thought I’d share my list of tell tale signs a good sales rep exhibits.

AIGA Get Out the Vote!

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When I was a kid I couldn’t wait until I turned 18. I was so annoyed by adults telling me what to do all the time – clean your room, practice the clarinet, be nice to your sister. Sheesh. To me, turning 18 meant freedom. After all, I would technically be an adult and that meant I could do what I want, right? Yeah, I know. But the one thing about turning 18 that remains as true today as it was all those years ago is the right to vote. Given the state of today’s politics, I can think of no greater privilege. So when Parse & Parcel was asked to participate in the AIGA Get Out the Vote exhibit, I leapt at the chance to be a part of it.

AIGA’s Get Out the Vote campaign calls on the power of design to motivate the American public to register and show up to vote on election day. Designers are encouraged to join the campaign by designing and sharing a poster. AIGA has partnered with the League of Women Voters to present an online gallery of non-partisan posters for printing and public distribution. In addition there are two exhibitions that coincide with both the Republican National Convention in Cleveland (July 18 – 21) and Democratic National Conventions in Philadelphia (July 25-28), as well as the AIGA Design Conference in Las Vegas this fall (October 17 – 19).

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.

NSS Class of 70 Trading Card Promotion

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I started collecting stationery as a kid in the 70’s. Back then the selection of available stationery was not nearly what it is today. I had a shoe box full of paper ephemera, most of it featuring the likes of Betsey Clark and Suzie Angel. I had no idea what went into producing these gems, I just knew I liked the cute characters and colors they featured. Fast forward forty years to the 2016 National Stationery Show and I found myself lucky enough to be a part of the NSS Class of 70 trading card promotion by Legion Paper – and I loved every single minute of it!