Responses by Dallas Franklin, creative director, Neenah
Background: The purpose of the project was to create a piece that demonstrates the importance of paper consideration during the design process, while educating recipients about the refreshing of two of Neenah’s designer-favorite brands: ROYAL SUNDANCE® and ENVIRONMENT® Papers. The piece needed to speak to the colors, textures and performances of these two brands and how they complement the 24 custom greeting card designs. Our target audience includes graphic designers who focus on print, as well as the printer and merchant communities.
Reasoning: The idea was to create something that designers would want to share or keep at their desk, and refer to again throughout the year. We also wanted to be able to work with a number of creatives on the project. The idea of a year’s worth of greeting cards pulled together all aspects of the project criteria. We got to work with twelve designers—Lawrence Azerrad, Frank Chimero, Kati Forner, GDLOFT, Von Glitschka, Ben Grandgenett, Chip Kidd, Luba Lukova, Nicholas Moegly, Elana Schlenker, Russell Shaw and Leta Sobierajski. We’re sharing 24 custom-designed pieces with the creative community, and we’re featuring over 30 different papers from the ROYAL SUNDANCE® and ENVIRONMENT® Papers lines.
Challenges: Art directing twelve different designers with different ways of working. For example, can you even art direct Chip Kidd? Our solution was to give each designer a lot of leeway with regard to their original designs, while, as a paper partner, offering recommendations on how to best pair papers with print techniques and designs. All were very receptive to our suggestions about how to ensure that their designs were reproduced to the best possible results.
Favorite details: The tiny details like the little hearts hidden in the blind emboss of Ben Grandgenett’s Valentine’s Day Card or the gold foil dots on Luba Lukova’s St. Patrick’s Day Card—those types of things that make you stop and look twice create happy moments.
Visual influences: The designers’ works were our inspiration. We knew that partnering with this team of leading designers would result in a beautiful collection that our target audience would appreciate.
Specific demands: At the beginning of the project, it was a challenge to make sure there was a wide variety of paper colors and textures represented in the finished piece. Once each designer had made their paper selections, however, it quickly became a matter of letting them do what they do best and waiting excitedly for the designs to come in!