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Case Study – Wausau Paper Intrigue Marketing Piece

Posted on April 30, 2009
In the design world, a project like this doesn?t come along that often. If I had to guess, I would say once in a blue moon. On a day-to-day basis, designers spend most of their hours on revisions, layout, production, image retouching, all of the mundane tasks of graphic design that no one really talks about. Ahh, these are the things designer dreams are made of. So when a project comes along that has the potential to be super creative, to break you out of the formatting rut you?ve been in, you run through the office, do a little dance, shout for joy, then dig in. This is the kind of project that makes designers who they are, the type of project that pushes you over the creative breaking point, that destroys your confidence and sanity, and then, when you?ve hit rock bottom, you get ?the? idea. The career saving, sanity rebuilding, confidence boosting idea that makes it all worth while (kind of). That?s the kind of project the Intrigue brochure, folder and inserts was.

First, a little background. Intrigue is a new line of packaging papers, labels and boxes by Wausau Paper. This is a new area for WP, and the promotional materials needed to be competitive in this high end, sophisticated market. The promo pieces also had to showcase WP papers, and demonstrate how different paper types handle 4-color printing. And, of course, send out the all important ?green? message. Easy, right?

This multi-functional piece went through several life changes before it settled on the brochure/folder/insert combo. In its first life, this promo was meant to be a simple, 4-page brochure that acted as an introduction to the Intrigue brand and capabilities. But over time, we realized that this piece needed to have a larger purpose, it had to tell WP?s story, introduce the Intrigue brand, the various lines within the brand, the capabilities of each line, and be customized to each customer. Kind of a daunting task. But with some brainstorming, research, a bag or two of M&M?s, and a little soul searching, the Intrigue Multi-Functional Brochure (IMFB, as we?ll call it from now) was born.

The IMFB showcases three different paper selections. The brochure/folder cover had to be sturdy and hold it?s form well. It basically has to be an impenetrable fortress. So we settled on the Intrigue? Folding Carton Stock in White (18 pt). It was printed with 4-color process with a custom die cut for the cover and folder. It also features an antique gold spiral binding. The inside pages needed to be a little flashier than the cover, so we went with the Royal Laid® in Natural (80 lb Cover). The Laid finish helps to reinforce the ?green? message, and showcases one of the hottest paper trends for 2009: texture. Also printed with 4-color process, the rounded corners add another design element to give it that little extra somethin? somethin?. The inserts demanded that they be strong and durable, since they will have to endure being taken in and out of the folder over and over and over again. Royal Resource® in Brilliant White (130 lb Cover) was the perfect match. This sturdy paper in bright blue-white beautifully shows off 4-color process and can stand up to even the roughest hands.

What is next for the IMFB and Intrigue? Soon it will be hitting the fine packaging market, and we are confident that it will go far. In the future, we have dreams of using the IMFB to showcase even more WP papers and printing techniques. Call it the IMFB 2.0. Perhaps a web site with up-to-date information is written in the stars? Who knows, maybe some day you will see Intrigue tweeting away, or maybe it will have a blog of its own. When you have such a fantastic product, and the service and brand power of WP behind it, who knows where life will take you.

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Free Fonts for All! – Part 1

Posted on April 30, 2009
Tired of the using the same fonts over and over and over? Sure we all have our favorites, but if you want to break out of your font rut, without breaking the bank, check out these resources for free fonts. And this is just a mini list, there will be more to come.

Retro-style fonts, these are perfect if you are looking an oh-so-cool vintage font (Mess Kit is one of my favorites). Available fonts change, and once they are gone they are gone for good, so check often to see what is available. They can be used for both personal and commercial use (read their license agreement for more info). Retro clip art is also available, but unfortunately it is not a free download.

Right now there are about 14 free fonts available for download. I recently COM4t Fine Regular, a more ?fancy-pants? san serif font. Fonts are free for both personal and commercial use (read their license agreement for more info).

9 fonts available for free download (more available for purchase), my favorites are Anivers, a san serif font with attitude, and Fertigo Pro which is anything but your typical serif font. Fonts are available for download through MyFonts for both personal and commercial use (read license agreement for more info).

Do you have a site that you visit often for free fonts (or free anything for that matter)? Send it my way! I’m always looking to expand my free resources (who isn?t?).

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Creative Inspiration – Part 2

Posted on April 22, 2009

It?s finally here! I know that you?ve been patiently waiting. Well, maybe not patiently. Part two of our creative inspirations. For you reading pleasure, here are just a few more of the many, many was to find inspiration.

Helping Others

Sometimes the most inspiring thing that you can do is helping others. Whether that means giving a co-worker feedback on a web site they are designing, brainstorming ad concepts with a team, or participating in on-line forums such as SmashingMagazine the Graphic Design Forum or Estetica. Just knowing that I’ve helped create that glimmer in someone’s eye when they have an idea, or helped solve a problem that someone has been stuck on, reminds me that the work I do has value, and gives me that extra little push and boost in confidence that is needed to be creative.

Pro Bono Work

Similar to being inspired by helping others, doing work for a good cause, something that gives you the warm fuzzys, can bring out the best creative ideas. Creating a web site that helps young pregnant women in need, a web site and CD that helps to raise money for children in Africa, a web site raising donations for a sick little girl, any cause or fundraiser that pulls at your heart strings and bring tears to your eyes can be the best inspiration around. It’s so important to know that creative work has value, that it can inspire someone to donate, to reach out and help someone in need, or to help spread the word about a cause that affects them personally.

Keeping Up with the Trends

Sometimes all it takes is browsing through the latest design annual from Print, How or CommArts. Just reviewing the outstanding design pieces of the year will open your mind and start the ideas flowing. A great font in a brochure combined with an illustrated logo style and a patterned background from a web site can be combined to make a fresh and exciting Call for Entries. Don’t be afraid to borrow pieces from another design and make it your own. Who knows, maybe you’ll come up with something so innovative that it will end up in next years design annual, and you will be the inspiration for another creative-blocked designer!

Other People

Sometimes all it takes to get out of a mind block is just talking to those around you, be that coworkers, spouse, family, friends, or that friendly man at the gas station (you know, the one who hangs out there all day, everyday). Each person, with their unique interests and out look on life, can get you thinking in a new direction, maybe one that you never would have explored before. Next thing you know, a brilliant idea a ad is born. Just like magic.

Do Something Mindless

Every once in a while all it takes for creative genius to strike is just giving your mind a break and letting it do it’s own thing. That could mean doodling, not anything in particular, just letting your mind go to see where it will take you. What’s that on the napkin you just scribbled all over? Hey, it’s a brilliant logo! Or lose yourself in a book or movie (it can even be one of those cheesy romance movies, no one is judging!). If you just let your mind go, no pressure, no one breathing down your neck, brilliance will strike. And you actually get to sit down and enjoy yourself for once.

What Inspires You?

I’d love to keep this post going, but I need some help! What gets you out of your rut and into the creative zone? I’d love to hear your creative inspirations.

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