Spec Rep Secrets: Start with the Envelope

Colorful identity system by Stitch Design

As a paper rep, my favorite projects to work on with designers were identity systems. They always seem to be the ones that offered the most freedom, especially when it comes to paper specification. Typically once the design elements are established, the focus turns to print and paper. So when it came time to pick the stocks for Parse & Parcel, I figured I got this. After all, paper is my specialty.  But like a bride to be planning her wedding, I got so caught up in the details that I forgot my own rule when it comes to identity design. Start with the envelope first.

Paper Resource: Neenah Cabinet Update

neenah-cabinet-parse-parcelYou know we love anything that makes accessing paper, and paper info easy. So we were thrilled to see our friends at Neenah just released a new version of their online paper resource tool – CabinetTM. Now you can gain access to all of Neenah’s swatchbooks online, so when you need to reference a sheets size, basis weight or color availability you’re not SOL if you don’t have the swatchbook handy.

Paper Promo: Feel, Think, Do – Haptic Design

Did you know people who rely solely on touch and no images feel a stronger connection to a product? It’s true, it’s been proven in a recent study on haptics (sense of touch). As someone who loves paper I wasn’t surprised to hear this, but it did offer an explanation as to why I gravitate towards papers with a tactile finish and nice heft to them. Show me a print sample featuring a blind emboss and there’s a good chance you’ll never see it again. Needless to say, I was a little woozy when I saw the new promotion about haptic design from Neenah Paper called feel think do.
haptic-design-promo-parse-and-parcel

Design Resource: Essential Social Media Design Cheat Sheet

Social-Media-Cheat-Sheet
Just when you’ve designed the perfect layout for your twitter profile page, the network announces a site redesign. With all of the social media profiles you and clients have, staying on top of responsive design enhancements can be a full time job.  The essential social media design cheat sheet courtesy of Omnicore makes life a little easier.

The graphic is full of good info, including image size requirements, where to position graphics for optimum mobile viewing and notes specific to the social network.  Did you know on Instagram, photos imported from a native phone camera will save at a lower resolution than those taken with the app’s camera?

Spec Rep Secrets: Do You Know the House Sheet You’re Printing On?


I got an email last week from a former customer of mine wanting info on a printer’s house sheet, which was a private label. The job was scheduled to go to press that day and he hadn’t heard of the paper being used and wanted to know what it was. It’s a fair question. As a creative professional one’s reputation is based on the quality of one’s work, and when it comes to print, paper has a huge impact on the final results. So the fact that my former customer was reaching out to me for answers made me think – do designers really know what they are getting when it comes to a house sheet?

It’s kind of like asking if you know what you are getting when you buy a generic brand at the grocery store. For me, I frequent a local grocer that’s been operating in my city since the early twentieth century. The stores are clean, well stocked, their employees are friendly and knowledgeable, their commitment to sustainability very transparent and their prices are fair – not the cheapest, but that’s OK with me. I trust them to sell me a quality generic brand – not some chemical laden, GMO product imported from half a world away. Obviously not all generic brands are equal and the same goes for private label house sheets. It comes down to one thing – do you trust your printer? Hopefully the answer is yes. If you’re not sure, here are some things to think about when it comes to using private label house sheets.

Hoefler & Co. Launch Discover Typography Site

Talk about discovery retail as a platform, Hoefler & Co. created an interesting way to discover typography through understanding and experiencing different typefaces.

The site consists of three different categories in ‘zoomable’ landscapes. Suggested typefaces that reflect each category’s subject, Wanderlust, Redline, and Barrel Proof, are grouped together. A pop-up window appears when users click on a category, enabling them to learn about the typefaces it houses.

We checked out two of our favorites, Gotham and Archer. Gotham, is described as “No nonsense letters of the urban environment. From these humble beginnings comes Gotham, a hard-working typeface for the ages.” Archer is touted as being “friendlier than the average slab serif…forthright, colorful, credible and charming.” We think so too.

This is a fun site for novices, designers and typography enthusiasts alike. Of course, all the fonts can then be purchased on the Hoefler & Co. website.

Giveaway: Jessica Hische Daily Drop Cap Stationery

daily-drop-cap-stationery

From the time I learned cursive in second grade, I’ve been fascinated with lettering. I love everything about it – the curves, the loops, the flourishes. I think I covered every square inch of my folders in middle school trying to perfect the lettering of my favorite band (The Doors) – I was 13 and had a thing for Jim Morrison. I drove myself nuts trying to get the proportions of the “o” correct. Now, anytime I see a sample featuring hand lettering it goes in my keeper file. So you can imagine my delight when I heard of Jessica Hische’s Daily Drop Stationery for the Luxe Project.

daily-drop-cap-stationery

A letterer and graphic designer, Jessica Hische began the Daily Drop Cap project in 2009 illustrating a decorative letter every day until she completed twelve sets of alphabets. Now she’s turned the gorgeous project into a full line of stationery for the The Luxe Project by Moo. The collection includes a full suite of luxe products including letterhead, business cards, notecards and mini-cards (so cute) all printed on one of our favorite papers – Mohawk Superfine. The self professed crazy cat lady is donating 100% of the proceeds from sales of her collection to the ASPCA.

Daily-drop-cap-stationery

We were lucky enough to have Jessica answer a few questions for us. Check out Jessica’s insights on the Daily Drop Cap project, her take on ‘procrastiworking,’ and the importance of paper specification among other things.

Tips for Designing for Letterpress

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With the National Stationery Show happening in NYC this week, letterpress lovelies are all we can think of. If you’re like us you’re thinking of how you can use it on your next project. We thought we’d share these tips for designing for letterpress from Boxcar Press.

  • Letterpress has come a long way, with more advances means greater flexibility, this includes line widths. To insure a quality impression, use lines of at least .25 pt. and when in doubt avoid hairlines.
  • Letterpress is different from offset in that you may get some show through in areas of solid coverage, creating a textured appearance.
  • Steer clear of screens and opt for a lighter color instead, you will achieve the look you want with much better results.
  • Color costs – letterpress printing traditionally uses up tp two colors but can go up to four, however keep in mind more colors will be more expensive.
  • Crop marks are essential to producing successful results – make sure to include them during the design process as designs created up to the trim line tend to yield an awkward cut.
  • Letterpress printing presses can die cut and score paper even on heavier basis weights, we say the thicker the better.
  • Letterpress is ideal for printing type but you’ll want to target a font size of 6 pt. or higher to insure the best results.

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For more info on letterpress design check out the blog at Boxcar press, they’ve got a ton of great info there. You may also want to checkout Letterpress Commons full of  great resources when it comes to letterpress printing.  We also adore the Beauty of Letterpress showing some of the best work being done in the industry today – plus they’re helping the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in their efforts to relocate and salvage a piece of letterpress history.

Do you love letterpress? Join our mailing list  and you could win a set of gorgeous letterpress coasters!

 

Paper Inspiration: Mohawk Introduces Strathmore Notes

True to form in their celebration of craft and the maker movement, our friends at Mohawk are celebrating their historic Strathmore fine paper brand with the launch of Strathmore Notes, a new line of fine paper journals. Also making headlines is the introduction of Strathmore Pure Cotton Papers (more on that in a bit). With it’s heritage stemming from Scotland’s Strathmore Valley and the country’s national symbol, the thistle, Strathmore has been delighting printers and artisans with it’s beauty and uncompromising quality since 1892.

Strathmore-journals

Strathmore Notes is a new line of paper journals made from papers crafted in Mohawk’s century old paper mill in upstate New York. Each journal sports Strathmore Grandee Charcoal Gray on its cover, a true felt paper perfect for featuring the brand’s embossed thistle icon. Available in three paper styles with a colorful hand-sewn spine.

• Strathmore Pure Cotton Paper – featuring luxurious 100% cotton-fiber paper with a crisp wove finish and the prestigious Strathmore Watermark, orange stitching and matching foil stamp, unlined pages
• Strathmore Watermark Laid Paper – featuring luxurious 25% cotton-fiber paper with the prestigious Strathmore Watermark, turquoise stitching and matching foil stamp, unlined pages
• Strathmore Premium Smooth Paper – featuring a luxurious, super smooth finish, magenta stitching and matching foil stamp, with an innovative linear pattern formed directly in the paper

Strathmore Notes Journals are available in three sizes: small (3.5 x 5.5), medium (5 x 8.25) and large (7.5 x 10);each journal is individually packaged in beautiful, brightly colored wraps featuring designs depicting the iconic Strathmore thistle, complete with a selection of four customizable bookplates.

Each journal is individually packaged in beautiful, brightly colored wraps featuring designs depicting the iconic Strathmore thistle, complete with a selection of four customizable bookplates. As if that wasn’t enough, each Strathmore Notes Journal is linked to enhanced content via Mohawk Live, Mohawk’s mobile augmented reality app.

In addition Mohawk is introducing their new line of Strathmore Pure Cotton Letterpress Papers. We’ll be sharing more info on the new Strathmore Letterpress Papers in a bit, in the meantime sign up to join our mailing list and get all the latest paper inspiration delivered directly to you!

Spec Rep Secrets: Where Have All the Paper Reps Gone?

where-have-all-the-spec-reps-gone-parse-and-parcelAs a paper spec rep I worked with all types of creatives from art directors and production managers in big agencies, to designers in small to mid size studios, to students and freelancers venturing out on their own. A spec rep has one objective, to make sure their company gets the paper spec resulting in an order from the printer. It sounds easy enough but it’s not – especially if you’re the spec rep trying to justify the cost of your role within the company.

One reason is a lack of communication. Many spec reps never explain to their customer how the process works. They assume the designer knows to tell the printer to buy the paper from them. So when this doesn’t happen, eventually the rep stops calling on the designer. I have to say, I never experienced this. I figured if I was working with the designer on the job, supplying samples or securing special pricing, I should be clear about asking the designer to specify me on the print job. Most customers appreciate knowing this info up front – plus it usually opens the door for an honest conversation about the type of work they do and who they print with.