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.

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Beauty of Letterpress: The Art of Making an Impression

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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.

Foil Stamp Thank You Notes

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m a sucker for a nice looking foil stamp. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about that shimmer that gets me every time. It’s kind of like in high school when you find out the boy you’ve been crushing on is going to ask you out. It’s just so fun and exciting. Well, I get the same fluttery feeling every time I see the sheen of a foil stamp. I know something special is in store. And that’s exactly the feeling we wanted to share with our latest subscriber exclusive – foil stamp thank you notes!

MENÜ 2 – A Cookbook with a Nomadic Twist

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Last year we told you about MENU, a cookbook focusing on food but with a bit of a conceptual twist – mixing culinary talent and design to celebrate the idea of food as community in an experiential way. Well this limited edition collectible is back and this time the emphasis is on food with nomadic twist. MENÜ 2 is part storybook/recipes from Budapest centered people and part culinary wanderlust, as seen through the eyes of their Hungarian counterparts.

Pantone 2016 Color of the Year – Paper Picks

2016 Color of the Year - Top Paper Picks | Parse & Parcel

I have to say when Pantone announced their new Color of the Year for 2016 I wasn’t too surprised. I noticed this combo take hold in pop-culture a few years ago. It could be spotted popping up everywhere, from the art-direction of (then new) lifestyle magazines likes Kinfolk and Cereal to luxury packaging design like that of Bing Bang NY, to the set design and cinematography of The Grand Budapest Hotel. You could see this coming a mile away. But what Pantone did do that was a total departure from years past. The 2016 Color of the Year is a first for Pantone, they selected two colors to bestow the honor on this year, Rose Quartz & Serenity – a two-fer. While it’s nice they offered up the color match for us, it doubled the work for those looking to match paper for things like invitations, stationery and envelopes. I know what at total PITA trying to find on epaper color match can be, let alone two. No worries, I’ve done the heavy lifting for you and complied a list of my top paper picks for Pantone’s 2016 Color (or colors) of the Year.