The Envelope Please

Sunday night most of America will be watching as those words are said before announcing the Oscar winner. While we’ll be watching the Academy Awards along with the rest of the country to see who wins, we’ll also be paying particular attention to the details – the envelope.

Oscar Envelopes

Believe it or not, up until four years ago the most coveted announcement in film making was enclosed in a plain white wove envelope, the kind you’d find at Staples.  All that changed when L.A. stationer, Marc Friedland, founder and creative director of Los Angeles-based Marc Friedland Couture Communications persuaded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science to let him design an envelope that not only visually reflects the tone of the event and looks elegant on television, but be constructed in a way that made it simple for the presenters to open. Leave it to a designer to put the emphasis on utility, with design reinforcing the product’s message.

Each envelope is handcrafted out of four different papers stocks produced in Bavaria. Friedland’s 10-member Oscar team does everything by hand, with over 100 hours of labor including 10 different processes : custom-made paper, hand-tooled die-making, laminating, hand-folding, hand-gluing, hand-wrapping, sheeting, hand-fed gold-leaf stamping, hand-fed embossing, printing and using at least 40 yards of red ribbon.

Inside the envelope, the creators note, is a heavyweight ecru card featuring deco gold foil and accented with a gold-leaf embossed Oscar statuette along with the gold engraved phrase, “And the Oscar goes to…” The winner  is printed in charcoal ink and mounted onto a matching red lacquer hand-wrapped frame. The back of the card introduces a new feature, indicating the specific award category visible to the audience and viewers, they add.

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While creating the design, Friedland said it was important to make sure the card and envelope were not trendy or subject to fashion.  He and his team  looked to the ceremony itself for inspiration. “We took our cues from old Hollywood. The colors of gold and burgundy are the statuette and the red carpet,” Friedland says. “With that in mind, we really felt that this was the most simple, but brilliant-looking, because it also has to look great on stage.”

Friedland emphasizes the importance of the printed envelopes, even as new technologies continue to transform media. “Hopefully the envelope will never become digital because it’s a keepsake,” he said. “It’s the least-tech, most-emotional keepsake I know, and it’s perhaps the most-famous envelope in the world.” We couldn’t agree more.

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Images Via Marc Friedland