Thinking back on it now, few expressions of friendship or love were ever as truly intimate as someone putting in the hours to create a mixtape just for you. And if they really thought you something special, that included a personalized cover, too.
Recapturing that thrill – with much more sophisticated packaging, I might add – Ellen Bruss Design (EBD) for several years sent their clients a custom music mix around the holidays. (And unlike those mixtapes we shared in our misspent youth, each song in these mixes were legitimately purchased via iTunes for each client.) “Delivering the CD in a custom package,” says Ellen, “made it a truly unique card and gift combination for everyone to enjoy.”
While I only recognized a few of the artist names on the 2008 edition, the creative use of foil stamping on the packaging went straight to the top of the charts for me. Inspired by their silver and brown identity colors, this package starts off with uncoated Neenah Classic Crest Canyon Brown 100 lb. Cover [Get Swatchbook] and proceeds to create circular patterns that riff nicely off the “08” by alternating clear and silver foil. The subtle deboss effect that’s a by-product of the foil stamping adds an unexpected-yet-effective dose of tactile appeal to the whole endeavor. Particularly fun are the areas in which the two foils overlap.
“The overlap created a third foil color,” Ellen explains, “and the clear foil over the brown paper really stands out. By using this technique, it was impossible to predict the colors that would be created. It was pretty experimental but it ultimately turned out great.”
Mindful of their environmental impact, EBD also incorporated the mailing panel into the back of the card itself, thereby reducing waste by eliminating the need for an envelope. “Almost everything was part of the design so there was not much for recipients to throw out.”
And as with the making of mixtapes back in the day, there are always lessons to be learned (e.g., which DJs had a propensity for talking over the intros). In the case of EBD’s 2008 packaging, says Ellen, “We learned what to expect when overlapping foil colors, specifically clear and silver, and the additional interest it creates in a piece.”
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