Do you have exquisite taste on a tight budget?
Then these crucial insider tips will go a long way toward stretching your resources.
We hate spam too, and will never share your email address, ever.
By Aaron Berman We at PaperSpecs are lifelong connoisseurs of books, and we’ve seen some humdingers. But I think it was somewhere around the third day of owning S. by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst that I actually found myself sniffing the pages. It was then I realized More »
Can you hear the staccato beat of trombones with those frenetic guitar riffs yet? That’s the James Bond theme music now playing in my head. I hate to be the wikileaker of the design world, but this branding package is going to blow the cover of some More »
By Aaron Berman Like some of those exotic beer blends you come across while perusing your local grocery shelves, there are certain design combinations that make you think: Boy howdy, now why didn’t I think of that. Here’s an example that has been a major hit with our More »
A borderline obsessive who won’t stop short of exceptional?
Do you agonize over typefaces, color swatches, paper samples and
the perfect printing concoction for your creation of graphic glory?
If so, then you’ve got the making of a PaperSpecs PRO.
Our PaperSpecs PRO members are the best. We were still showing our type drawer full of chocolate letters around the office like proud parents when we received another piece of holiday creativity: this snazzy snowflake-themed card from Michelle Lutsky, art production specialist at Monster Cable Products. Check out all of those exquisite cuts. The icing on the cake is the cut at the very center of the open card – that’s her company’s logo! A really nice touch.
Perhaps as our own postal service quietly collapses into a black hole of unrealistic expectations, we might look beyond our borders for a model of a new, more sustainable manner of communication. And, as we do for so many other things, we turn our attention to Japan and, dare we hope, the blueprint for USPS 2.0. We refer, of course…to Cookie Mail.
The new service encourages users to spell out a message with tiny cookies (each one containing one Japanese ideograph), and package it in one of several boxes that range from the elegant to the cutesy (or “kawaii” for the uninitiated).
True, this might require us all to rethink our direct-mail strategies, but quite honestly there’s no message that can’t be boiled down to a handful of cookies, and you know each and every one will be “read”. Yes, let the era of “junk” mail come to an end, and a new era of “junk food” mail begin!
As business models go, it was never a very sustainable one. Still, after nearly 150 years in operation, it does come as a bit of a shock that Canada Post plans to axe individual home delivery entirely over the next five years, and shed 8,000 workers in the process. (The service will move everybody to a “community mailbox” system – presumably similar to the ones people who live in apartments have used forever.) And it will raise postage rates by at least 35% starting March 31.
Wine tastes, beer budgets
Considering the sheer size of the country (about 3.8 million square miles, much of it uninhabited) and its small population (more than 35 million), it’s amazing home delivery has lasted this long. As in the U.S. and throughout the Western world, electronic communications have whittled away mail volume in Canada. Is there any question that the days of every national postal service are numbered?
Perhaps more importantly, should we and our clients be taking a bit of responsibility for some of this?
It seems like in every piece we read about the fading fortunes of postal services, we see business and direct-mail associations grousing about every rate hike, large or small. And of course to a certain extent that is their job. But we seldom see anyone acknowledge that no matter how much we’re paying, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of actually delivering the piece. We’re in “grandpa thinks we should get a movie and a newsreel for a quarter” land here.
Smarter, not cheaper
More importantly, we haven’t seen much discussion about using direct mail smarter. It’s expensive because many of our clients don’t invest the money necessary to use it more efficiently.
Hands up those of you who throw at least one piece of mail in the recycling bin four times a week? Five? Six? If our clients used some basic marketing analytics to figure out which of those people will never buy their products, we could easily cut that down to three times a week, and use the difference to create some truly eye-catching pieces indeed.
In the meantime, see you around the ol’ community mailbox. You know it’s just a matter of time before we get them, too…
It’s the last days of 2013, which means we’re being overwhelmed by a sea of calendars for the new year like befuddled survivors weathering a zombie invasion. Which is probably as good a way as any to spend 2014. You might think so too after getting a (dangly) eyeballful of this 12-page zombie calendar planned by Chandler, Ariz.’s Letterpress Central. Unlike most of what’s being pitched for the new year, we’d actually hang this on our wall…if the company can raise the required funds on (you guessed it) Kickstarter.
Though the project was inspired by The Walking Dead, the tone of these 12 prints is anything but dire. Here are the stats:
In addition to the calendar, those who pledge a bit extra can pick up four zombie-themed greeting cards printed on cotton paper, or a 12″-x-18″ kraft-paper poster that screams “Zombies in the House.”
If this sounds up your zombie-filled alley, better hurry – the Kickstarter campaign ends Dec. 15th.
Whether it’s a bad habit or a symptom of some low-level OCD, I can’t help it – I’ve always doodled, especially in meetings. And while some people have taken offense, the fact remains that the act of sketching helps me process what’s being said (and at times, keeps me from shouting “Would you please get to the point so we can all go home”). The downside, of course, is all the paper I waste doing this. It’s hell on your “I’m environmentally friendly” smugness.
Now, Canadian engineering academic Frank Bouchard has tackled this little dilemma with an invention he calls Wipebook. This spiral-bound notebook is made up of 25 pages (5o sides) that act like a portable wipeboard. Doodle to your heart’s content, and all of those drawings and notes you make stay intact in your notebook until you decide it’s time to erase them. And when you erase them, they disappear completely rather than leaving ghosts of themselves on your pages the way erased pencil marks do.
Funded by a Kickstarter campaign – which, at this point, I think we can safely say is the only way startups are funded anymore – the Wipebook is a dream paper that has uses that go far beyond doodling.
Right away it’s obvious that this makes the perfect portable planner. Map out your week, ink in your appointments and, if they change, just erase them and put them in at their new time. Brainstorming sessions, pre-notes for your next meeting – the possibilities are endless.
The costs are reasonable, about $25 for the lined version, $30 for the grid or blank version. You can get yours either through the Kickstarter page (for the next 11 days) or, presumably at a later date, through the Wipebook’s main website.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFV3VOrCaAs[/youtube] More »