Responses by Pum Lefebure, chief creative officer, Design Army
Background: The Design Collection by Neenah was created five years ago. With many new products added over the years, we needed to reimagine how the portfolio of papers was presented. Rather than produce one large book, we divided the collection into a three-system portfolio organized by the papers’ attributes: Pearlized, Soft Touch, and Tactile. This new presentation allows creatives and printers to easily see and find the right paper for their projects.
Reasoning: Making the right paper choice is a critical part of the design process. The Design Collection is a vast collection of the most premium papers, separated into three separate books. The Pearlized portfolio covers the spectrum of shimmering stocks. The Soft Touch portfolio highlights stocks that have a unique softness. And the Tactile portfolio highlights surfaces with diverse purposes.
Challenges: Curating the waterfalls in each of the books. It was like a giant puzzle, trying to decide the order in which the books were presented. How one stock visually and texturally related to the next became mindboggling—we wanted the result to be visually inspiring, yet easy to digest at the same time. This was also true when selecting the papers for the printability samples featured in the books.
Favorite details: The process of reimagining The Design Collection system. We created the key visual—the circle that appears on the covers of the three books—to represent The Design Collection brand, but to also allow each portfolio to be distinct to its attributes. This circle distinguishes the brand from other Neenah brands as their swatchbooks have a square area for the key visuals.
Visual influences: Cubism, form, function, modern art and pop art. The Design Collection key visuals are a simple circle form, but each execution is distinct. The key visuals use geometric shapes with repetition, rhythm, color, scale, alignment, balance and texture. It’s simple, but still complex.
Anything new: At Design Army, we learned that we are inspired by paper. We often use paper as the starting point for a project. While we always emphasize form and function in our creative process, we also hope that this new system inspires designers to create designs with “form + feeling.”