It’s that time of year again, after the binging of the holidays comes the cleansing of, well, everything. It’s always during this time of purging that I think about how much I want to accomplish, especially with work. I think about what I could have done differently this year that would have long lasting benefits for the future. For creatives this can be challenging, especially when you’re constantly comparing your work to that of your peers, and with the constant reminder of it all over social media, there’s no escaping it. *Sigh* If only I had those clients…Why not make this the year you finally attract the client work you dream of?
It’s no secret, I’m nuts about stationery. I’ve been collecting it since I was a kid, my BFF Cindy got me into it when I was 8 or so. We’d beg our moms to take us to the local stationery store so we could stock up on all our faves – Suzy Angel, Ziggy (it was the late 70’s) and anything with Snoopy on it we had to have. We each housed our collection in a shoe box we covered with gift wrap. And we were constantly sorting them, arranging them by size, color and order of importance. But the best part was the trades. We’d pour over each others collection and then offer up trades trying to get the other’s prized possession. For me, it was always this yellow notecard with an illustration of a girl on the front holding a fish bowl (I think). Don’t ask me why but I had to have it. I’d offer up 9 or 10 different cards in exchange for just that one, but Cindy never budged. Eventually more important things diverted our attention (like boys) but my love of stationery never wavered. So you can imagine my excitement when Parse & Parcel was asked by Legion Paper to collaborate on a promotion commemorating the 70th year of the National Stationery Show in a special The Legion Paper Trading Card Pack!
One of the things I love about having my own business is the fact that I can create the kind of projects I like. There are a few types of paper promos I adore, and gift wrap is at the very TOP of my list. So when it came time to think about the holiday promotion for The Parcel this year, I knew what I wanted to do. As luck would have it, literally the day I started planning the project, my friend Christine Wisnieski, sent me an email about paper recommendations for a new product line for her shop, gilded gift wrap, and a collaboration was born.
Have you ever seen a print promotion so awesome you wanted to kiss it? Ok, maybe that’s taking my adoration of ink on paper a little far but I swear that’s how much I love the new piece, Character, from Neenah Packaging. I know what you’re thinking – Neenah has a crazy budget and if your clients had their budget you’d produce something awesome too. But here’s the thing, it’s not about the budget, it’s about inspiration and execution. After examining this promotion, I am convinced the difference between average and awesome comes down to character.
Going to industry events can be stressful, especially when you’re hoping to make new business connections. As if finding the right outfit isn’t enough pressure, the whole idea of networking can freak some people out. Let’s say you get past all the small talk and actually meet someone you want to follow up with. The moment of truth comes when you reach into your pocket and hand over your business card. In that moment an impression is made – whether or not it’s memorable comes down to one 3.5″ x 2″ card. As someone who’s seen (and studied) an extensive number of them, I’m sharing the secret to producing an unforgettable business card.
Just when I didn’t think they could get any better, Issue No. 7 of the Mohawk Maker Quarterly – Character, comes along. Putting out quality editorial and design content is tough, but to do so on a consistent, quarterly basis is pretty impressive. In fact, I’d say it speaks to the character of a company – and Mohawk has always been one paper maker who walks the talk. So it’s not lost on me that the paper selected for its production, Mohawk Loop, reinforces the theme of this issue. From the companies and artisans profiled in it, to the paper it’s printed on – when it comes to character this issue of the Mohawk Maker Quarterly has it in spades.
It’s no secret, I love paper promotions. I think it all stems from my curiosity of what’s possible. When I look through a new piece I start thinking about all the different ways I can use a certain print technique or paper finish. I think about past projects and wonder what if? While I’m pretty adept at paper and all of its characteristics, I find I’m still learning new things all the time when it comes to print production – mainly because the technology keeps evolving. In the latest installment of the Appleton Coated series, Curious About Print Production, we get to explore the effects of printing colored images on colored paper and how to achieve different results using specific production techniques.
I recently asked a group of designers if they ever felt like their comps looked better than the final results. The comments are ongoing, with reasons ranging from unrealistic expectations to lackluster production, but one point keeps coming up – it’s about the relationship designers have with their suppliers. After working with creatives for a while now, I know this to be true but am baffled by the number of suppliers who don’t understand the concept. So many reps fail to do one critical thing – do what you say you’re going to do. So often designers will meet with a rep initially, listen to their pitch, actually like what they see/hear enough to engage with them when they have an appropriate project, only to be let down when it comes time to the rep actually providing the service they need. It gets even worse if the designer is a freelancer. Whether that thing is a quote, suggest options, or provide sample services, there is no relationship without trust.
There’s something about a bright, new paper swatch book that makes me giddy. To me, it’s the same feeling I had as a kid when I got new school supplies – I’m all excited about the possibilities it holds for future projects. So when the new Mohawk Superfine swatch book arrived in The Sample Studio this week, my wheels started turning. Aside from the fact that I am a huge fan of Superfine (our P&P letterhead and envelopes are printed on the eggshell finish), it also happens to be one of the most versatile sheets out there.
During my freshman year at college I worked in the alumni office. I was one of the students who called alum asking if they’d pledge support for their beloved alma mater. I have to say I never really appreciated this job until years later. Last night I received one of those calls from a senior who is in the same program I was (sort of). She’s a communications major with a focus on integrated marketing and social media, we chatted for a bit about her senior year – turns out she may be a great intern candidate for Parse & Parcel next semester. I wish I had seen The Creative Group 2016 Salary Guide, prior to our conversation, it looks like 2016 will be a good year for creative jobs and a promising year for my future fellow alum.