I have been a fan of paper since I was little kid. I started collecting stationery in grade school along with my BFF. We’d beg our moms to take us to Paul’s Teacher’s Pet so we could load up on our favorites. I always loved writing letters and looked for any excuse to dig into my collection. It wasn’t until I went away to college that I realized how much I loved sending and receving letters. Each evening on our way to the dining-hall, my friends and I would have to check our mailboxes. I have to say freshman year, box 1187 got more mail than all of my rommates combined. OK, so maybe I was the only one with a boyfriend back at home, but who cares it was mail. So when I heard that the USPS had dedicated April as National Letter Writing Month, I busted out my stationery collection and began to write.
So we’re kind of excited around the sample studio today. About a month ago, we found out Parse & Parcel was recognized with GD USA 2015 American Package Design Award. Today the print edition of GD USA arrived and we’re featured among the winners in the luxury packaging category (page 135). I have to say, as a business whose mission is to inspire and educate the graphic design community, the fact that the packaging for The Parcel was recognized by the design industry is especially rewarding.
One of the things I enjoy most about working with creatives is the chance to peek behind the curtain. I’ve said it before, I’m a bit of a peeping tom when it comes to design. This is why I love social media – it’s not just about liking a brand or a blogger, but you get to actually learn a bit about the creatives behind the brand. It’s not just the gorgeous compositions that suck me in but rather the stories behind those who create them. It was scrolling through instagram that I came to learn about Trouvé Magazine and its founder, Amanda Marko.
It’s not every day that you see this kind of collateral for a tea company. Then again, after reading Dilmah’s story, this is not just any ole bag of tea. The Teamaker’s Private Reserve collection consists of a selection of rare, fine teas personally selected by the company’s founder – talk about hands on involvement. Each one is carefully chosen and meant to present the indulgent pleasure of tea. So it stands to reason the same care and thought would go into the design and production of its catalog targeting exclusive, high-end restaurants and hotels. The team at Manic Design crafted a truly luxury experience for these buyers demonstrating the importance of what lies within before even reading a word – the proof is in the paper.
To me there’s nothing better than a blank page. I love the idea of fresh starts, and while that may be a bit difficult to achieve with carry over of daily business happenings, I get great satisfaction in starting a new month on the calendar. I think of all the possibilities, look back at the previous month’s accomplishments and bring over good items that I didn’t get to tackle. Before I know it a new plan takes shape and then its all about execution. While it’s easy to get caught up in the to-do list, I find that planning little moments of surprise into my day helps me hold on to that feeling of possibility. One of those unexpected moments happens every time I logon and see the month’s wallpaper greet me, it’s a happy little surprise every time. It’s April 1st and that means new wallpapers are here.
It’s official, spring’s here. I know the calendar says the vernal equinox began on March 20th – but I have my own system. Living near the Great Lakes most of my life, I know a date on calendar means nothing in terms of reality. So I rely on something much more scientific, my senses. While I saw a few snowflakes flying this weekend, I also saw the first harbinger of spring in my book – the crocus. I base the next three months on this sighting alone. I know in 10-14 days the hellebores will be in bloom, followed shortly by the forsythia and cherry trees. That’s my signal to breakout the putrid liquid fence. This step is a necessary evil because it prevents the deer from devouring my spring landscape. As a gardener, I live for my display of spring bulbs. Tulips are by far my favorite – probably because much like paper, they come in an abundance of gorgeous colors.
What’s your favorite color? Most people know instantly what their color of choice is, for me this is a tough one. I find it’s a lot like choosing your favorite ice cream flavor, it kind of depends on my mood. Lucky for me I’m in The Sample Studio all day and can easily find a hue to suit my needs, from white to black and every shade in between. While some may think being surrounded by all this color can make one jaded to it, I am gitty when a mill revamps a grade and colors are re-imagined. Just last week I attended a meeting with some industry paper peeps where we were shown the recent grade refresh of Neenah’s Astrobrights offering. While the rep from Neenah spoke about the big changes to the grade (major additions of basis weights), I could focus on nothing else but the new lemon-lime duplex colors in the new Astrobrights swatch book.
There’s no doubt about it, it’s been a long winter. We’ve been dealing with arctic temps since late November and the snowdrifts are so high the dogs don’t even want to trudge through them. I think we’re all ready to say goodbye February, hello March. This is the month we start to feel hopeful again – temperatures rise, the birds return and the landscape begins to reveal itself once more. So we’re celebrating the hopefulness of March in this month’s wallpaper design with a blend of type and illustration.
One of the perks of my job is that I get to see some pretty amazing paper promotions. Over the years I’ve amassed quite a collection of fab samples showcasing every print technique imaginable. I refer to my sample library often, especially when a designer asks to see something special. The one area of my stash that is in hot demand these days is luxury packaging. It seems everyone with a new business or product is embracing the tactile medium of paper as a means of differentiating their brand. There’s tons of great info online about haptics (the science of touch), but to me there is nothing quite like experiencing the real thing. I always thought it would make so much sense to just have one really well executed packaging piece that highlights paper as an essential part of packaging design. So when I opened the new Neenah packaging promotion – The Power of Paper: On Neenah, I almost passed out.
With temps hovering around twenty degrees this week, we didn’t need Punxsutawney Phil to tell us winter will be sticking around for at least six more weeks. All this frosty weather means we’ll continue to be spending a lot of time indoors and plugged-in, but there’s no reason we can’t make things a little brighter while doing it. So we’re happy to share our February wallpaper featuring a sweet Valentines themed illustration by Chris Corsi. We love the idea of hand-delivering a valentine to that special someone.