The Design Collection – Color & Texture That Wows

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I’m tired of the little black dress. Yes, I’m guilty of having one in my closet that I rely on way too much. On paper it checks all the boxes: it’s black, it fits and I can wear it to a number of events. So yeah, technically it works. But does it WOW? No way. And I have to admit, sometimes I want a little wow factor. Well the same can be said about the paper specified for print. Basic white papers are fine for everyday projects. But if you’re looking to create a project that wows – the package that’s too irresistible to touch or the catalog to beautiful not to take – then color and texture are where it’s at. Lucky for us we don’t have to look too far, because Neenah Paper gives us the best of both worlds with their comprehensive new swatchbook, The Design Collection.

Biggest mistake graphic designers make with print

The #1 Mistake Designers Make With Print

Biggest mistake graphic designers make with print

I see it happen all the time. Most designers are guilty of it and don’t even realize they’re doing it. It’s not because they’re hacks, I’ve seen some crazy talented designers do this. It’s not because they’re working with nightmare clients. I’ve seen this happen on print projects for dream clients. It’s not because they’re under ridiculous deadlines or on shoestring budgets. I’ve seen plenty of designers produce amazing work under those circumstances. It’s not any of those things. The #1 mistake designers make when it comes to print design that’s ruining their work?  

Lustig Elements Collection – A Labor of Love Comes to Life

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One of the things I enjoy most about working with designers is getting a behind the scenes look at the process of a project. Usually I enter into the process during the pre-production phase, after the design concept is complete and before specs go to printer for quote. It’s always a treat when I get to see a project come to life. The only time it’s more special is when it’s a passion project. A few weeks ago we shared the campaign to fund the development of the font, Lustig Elements, whose roots were born in the 1930s. Today, The Beauty of Letterpress by Neenah presents the Lustig Elements Collection, a remarkable new series of limited edition letterpress prints, commissioned in honor of notable design pioneers Alvin Lustig and Elaine Lustig Cohen.

The Lustig Elements Collection is available for purchase on The Beauty of Letterpress beginning today, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. This first installment of the collection includes four letterpress prints designed by Craig Welsh, of Go Welsh. Only 100 of each print were produced.

The Lustig Elements Collection gets its name from a typeface that modernist designer Alvin Lustig began to design in the 1930’s but never completed. Welsh, a design educator and award-winning designer based in Lancaster, PA, rediscovered the font and began a mission to revive it. Over a four-year period he worked closely with AIGA Medalist Elaine Lustig Cohen to bring the Lustig Elements font to life. The newly completed typeface was created for both wood type and a digital font.

Spec Rep Secrets – Earth Day Edition

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In 1970 a movement began that gave a voice to an emerging consciousness focusing humanity towards environmental issues. Forty-six years later, Earth Day represents the one day each of us can take actionable steps to preserving our planet. Today Parse & Parcel shares our top tips for creatives everywhere – to help them foster better sustainability practices when it comes to finding the right paper with respect to the integrity of the project and our planet.  

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.

Lustig Elements – a Kickstarter 75 Years in the Making

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I took geometry my sophomore year of high school, let’s just it wasn’t my strong suit. I suppose it could’ve had something to do with the the way in which it was taught. While my friends and I had fun in class, it certainly wasn’t due to the engaging nature of the subject. Now, had it been framed in the context of typography, with it’s letterforms and shapes, I’d have been all in. That type of inspiration was definitely not coming from Sr. Clement’s class. I’d have never guessed that one day I’d be smitten with a Kickstarter campaign to fund the development of a font whose roots lay in the foundation of geometry, Lustig Elements. A font designed by Alvin Lustig in the 1930s known as Euclid is being revived as Lustig Elements by Craig Welsh and Elaine Lustig Cohen.

Mohawk Maker Quarterly Gives Creatives All the Feels

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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.

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.

The Envelope Kit – From Neenah, With Love

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I love sending cards. I think it’s one of the most sincere ways to convey a sentiment. Whether it be an expression of gratitude, joy or love – it truly is the thought that counts. But I confess, I am not a fan of card shopping. Mainly because I struggle to find one that’s equally appealing in graphics and message. And don’t even get me started on the envelope. For me, a card is a reflection of the giver and just like choosing what outfit to wear to a shindig, requires a careful amount of thought and creativity. This process would be so much easier if I could just take the image in my head and create my own perfect card and envelope. Well it just so happens that a small group of creatives and myself were able to do just that. Inspired by the arrival of The Envelope Kit from Neenah, Parse & Parcel hosted a Valentine’s Day themed Crafty Hour in the sample studio this week.

Louie, Louie – The 28th Annual Louie Awards

LOUIE_LOUIE_PARSE_PARCELSo many greeting cards, so little time.

Last week I joined some industry peeps in NYC to judge the entries for the 28th Annual Louie Awards. The Louie Awards are the Oscars for the national greeting card association. And they’re kind of a BIG deal.

My fellow judges and I had just two short days to judge over 300 entries and narrow the field in 50+ categories. While it was a bit overwhelming at first, it didn’t take long to realize finding the category standouts was actually pretty easy – and I have to admit I was kind of shocked, and a little disappointed by this fact.