Did you ever have an idea for a project you were saving for something really special? You know, the one you keep tucked away for just the right circumstances. For me it was the pencil box. Looking back, I definitely under estimated a few things about the project. My timeline was way off. And honestly, the production skills required for a packaging project are different than four-color offset printing. But if there’s one thing I know for sure, the only way you grow is by challenging yourself. So I dove in, head first. This post is all about the process for producing the Topography Inspired Journal & Pencil Box Set – the good, the bad and the ugly.
Spring is my favorite season. Partly because I live in Cleveland, where it’s gray from October until April. And while I like gray, that is a long time to go with out any sign of life or color to be seen. So when those first shoots of spring bulbs poke their heads through the earth, I get all the feels. That’s a sure sign it won’t be long before the raucous color of spring takes over the landscape. The fresh, vibrant shade of spring green is among my favorite colors of all time. So imagine my delight when I saw Greenery was announced at the Pantone Color of the Year.
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I have a thing for little blue boxes.
Of course, the ubiquitous blue box of Tiffany & Co. makes me swoon. I’ve saved every one I’ve ever gotten. Every. Single. One. (Which is currently four, btw).
Every once in a while I’ll peek inside the drawer I stash them in for safe keeping. Just looking at them makes me feel all fuzzy inside.
But this isn’t anything unusual.
So I’m going through the new promotion from Domtar, Mark Your Mark, when I saw something that stopped me mid flip. While the piece itself is about identifying different market segments, what really caught my attention was the design for the restaurant segment. This particular sample set contained a menu, coaster, order pad and business card. I immediately noticed its elegant simplicity – black and white illustration with a pop of gold ink. I flipped to the production notes and read two words that stopped me in my tracks. Digital Gold. Wait, what? Yes, gold digital metallic ink. Now my print peeps are going to tell me this technology has been available for a while. And yes, gold digital metallic inks have been available for a few years. But the print results I saw in this piece looked so much better than anything I had ever seen done before. What I saw was true digital metallic inks – gold flecks and all.
I have to say when Pantone announced their new Color of the Year for 2016 I wasn’t too surprised. I noticed this combo take hold in pop-culture a few years ago. It could be spotted popping up everywhere, from the art-direction of (then new) lifestyle magazines likes Kinfolk and Cereal to luxury packaging design like that of Bing Bang NY, to the set design and cinematography of The Grand Budapest Hotel. You could see this coming a mile away. But what Pantone did do that was a total departure from years past. The 2016 Color of the Year is a first for Pantone, they selected two colors to bestow the honor on this year, Rose Quartz & Serenity – a two-fer. While it’s nice they offered up the color match for us, it doubled the work for those looking to match paper for things like invitations, stationery and envelopes. I know what at total PITA trying to find on epaper color match can be, let alone two. No worries, I’ve done the heavy lifting for you and complied a list of my top paper picks for Pantone’s 2016 Color (or colors) of the Year.
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.
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.
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.
So it would stand to reason that a company with a collection of 40 million images and over 400 million downloads might have some insight into color and design. Earlier this year, Shutterstock came out with their Design Trends infographic and now they’re following it up with some facts and figures that are all about color.
The Creative Director at Design Packaging Inc., Evelio Mattos, shared his tips for successful packaging design by stripping out the visual noise and creating timeless impressions through sensory primers. His post is full of great information and we love the #DPiPackTip’s, read it in it’s entirety here. We’re highlighting his top cues to consider:
1. Interactive – Guide consumers to self discover layered micro-interactions designed into the packaging or product. In addition to pop-ups, pull tabs, and unique closures think tactile substrates. If you follow P&P you know we are all about paper, some of our favorite go to’s for luxury packaging are those with a lush, suede like feel (Plike, Curious Cosmic, and Touché to name a few).
2. Audible – Higher pitched retail packaging can lower the perceived product value. Did you know thinner materials will provide a higher pitch than heavier weight materials? Some of our favorite choices for heavy weight shopping bags are text and cover papers in finishes like felt, vellum and eggshell (no coatings needed for protection).
3. Olfactive – Packaging designed with an unveiling process that considers powerful sensory cues, can transport users and create lasting olfactory impressions regardless of the environment their in. From traditional florals and food scents to non-traditional ones like suntan lotion and leather, scented ink offers a wide range of options.
4. Haptic – Nonverbal communication involving touch can impact a brand’s perception. Sharp folds and ease of use speak to quality and craftsmanship, both virtues of luxury. Redundant hand positions required to open packaging can reduce perceived product value.
5. Tactile – Tactile design features are able to create brand-defining cues. A classic tactile cue to luxury is pairing an all-over embossed uncoated paper with a sculpted metallic or high-gloss hot-stamp.
6. Closures – Much like fashion, packaging can be all about the accessories. Luxury products require a well designed layered unveiling process to build suspense up to the final reveal in the user’s personal environment.
7. Contrast Finishes – Classic visual cues to luxe, matte black with metallic gold, or crisp white with gloss black accents. Our current favorite is copper foil on kraft paper, connoting luxury in an unexpected place.
8. Heritage – From custom papers, and fabrics, to stock materials with custom processes, luxury and prestige is a matter of restraint, not excess.
9. Anticipation – The idea of opening a box and revealing the final product immediately, leaves much to be desired. Poorly designed unveiling processes have been know to increase buyer’s remorse and product return rates.
10. Quality Control – Understanding how climate impacts materials and print processes at every stage of production through final user interaction is critical to understanding luxury packaging. This is why it’s so important to work with an experienced supplier, they’ll help guide you through the process.
Working on a luxury packaging project and need some help with paper selection or finding an experienced supplier in your area? Drop us a note at email@example.com.