Trendspotting. We all want to know what the next trend is before it’s a thing. Part of create compelling design is knowing what’s current and translating that into messaging that will get noticed and remembered. Corbis, the company known for their stock photography, has put out a report on visual trends, here’s the areas they predict will underscore the best creative in 2015 and beyond.
I don’t know about you, but the first thing I do when I get a printed piece is to run my hand across it. It doesn’t matter what the piece is – a menu, an invitation or a book cover – an involuntary reaction occurs. Much like taking a breath, I do it without even realizing it. Well, that is until I realize I’m in a restaurant or some other public place feeling up a menu and that probably looks really odd to non-industry people. When I got a copy of the book, Design to Touch Engraving: History, Process, Concepts, & Creativity, I lost complete sense of space, time and decorum.
There’s something about mixing and matching unexpected elements I just love, but it’s not always easy to pull off. Combining upscale glam with industrial utility, the team at Ghost managed to do just that with the branding they created for The Factory. Like a swanky new year’s eve celebration in the gritty part of the city, this identity and packaging design is the perfect mix of black & white with a touch of glam.
One of the things I love about paper is its ability to connect with people. Growing up I had a pen pal from Manchester, England and one of the things I loved most about getting letters from him was the special airmail paper they were written on. When my penpal and I began correspondence, the U.S. had longed stopped traditional airmail, but not the U.K. So when I saw that red and blue bordered envelope I couldn’t help but get excited. After all, something special was waiting inside just for me. I know I’m not alone in my love of the traditional airmail design, but there’s a reason for its popularity – we connect with it. The same can be said for well designed print campaigns, the tough part is the design. However there are two components creatives can count on – color and haptics. This combo is one-two punch delivering ROI you can see and feel.
When I first started email marketing for my previous employer, we had three e-newsletters we published regularly. Given that our audience was made up largely of commercial printers, we’d get some flack about using email to distribute the content (it was 2008 and anything digital was seen as the enemy). Some customers were constantly complaining about it. The worst part though was the email marketing solution we used – it was painful. I knew when I started Parse & Parcel I’d still use email (in addition to the USPS) to communicate content and share with our audience, but I couldn’t wait to find a better email marketing solution. I chose MailChimp because it offered a ton of features. After sending my first email I was smitten, I even convinced my former employer to give it a try. Now I’ve fallen in love with MailChimp all over again, this time for their beautiful use of my favorite media – print! In collaboration with Fuzzco and Theory11, they’ve gone and created some stunning MailChimp Playing Cards.
Last week Parse & Parcel had the pleasure of co-hosting The Strathmore Archives in Cleveland. We teamed up with our friends at Mohawk – makers of Strathmore, and local paper merchant Millcraft, to bring this exhibit to Cleveland. On what had to be the warmest evening of the summer, a group of 100 designers, printers and paper peeps joined us to celebrate the legacy of Strathmore and see first hand the evolution of American graphic design.
It’s true what they say about side projects – you never know where they will take you. I knew in my heart I wanted to make Parse & Parcel a reality, but taking that leap can be scary. Lucky for me I have some amazing people on my side that have made all difference. For me one of those people has been Christine Wisnieski, an incredibly talented multi-discipline designer based in Cleveland, Ohio. I first met Christine when I was her paper rep, together we got to work on some pretty awesome print projects. She’s always been one of those designers that gets it, especially when it comes to paper and it’s importance when designing for print. So when I finally decided to bring this passion project to life, she was one of the first people I enlisted for help.
I knew at the onset the look and feel of Parse & Parcel had to be perfect, after all it’s a business geared to the design community. I felt Christine perfectly captured the spirit of Parse & Parcel and created a beautiful brand for my business, but was I biased? While supplier feedback had been positive and subscriptions steadily increasing, I couldn’t help but wonder if the industry understood it. Any doubts I had were put to rest earlier this month when Parse & Parcel won Best of Show at the AIGA Cleveland Design 730 Competition. Somebody pinch me.
Cleveland designers, join us in The Sample Studio on June 3rd for an AIGA Reverb all about paper. I’ll share my story on how my paper obsession evolved into a business helping creatives gain unique access to the latest trends in paper, print and design. Joining me will be designer Christine Wisnieski (the creative talent behind all of Parse & Parcel’s branding) and Beth Reardon from Mohawk Fine Papers. Together we’ll chat about how to make paper specification a part of the design process, and how these tips can take your design to the next level. Registration is free to CLE AIGA members and attendees will receive a special gift from Parse & Parcel. Hope to see you there!
We’ve all heard the expression, you can’t judge a book by its cover. While this may be true, we can’t help but form an impression when we encounter something for the first time. This week I took a field trip to visit the Mohawk Paper mill in upstate New York. From the moment I pulled into the lot and saw the colorful Mohawk logo, an impression was formed and I knew I was in for something special. That opinion held true when I got to experience the new Mohawk Maker. From the moment I ran my hand across that neon orange marbleized pattern on the cover I was hooked, the new Mohawk Maker Quarterly makes quite an impression.
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.