The Cutting Edge for Shear Beauty

While we’ve featured lots of great photographers’ projects here on the blog and at least a decade’s worth of hair and styling has been done within all the films and various shoots we’ve profiled over the years, never before have the two met directly. That is until we heard from Jon Horton, who recently put together a stellar series of photos for a professional stylist, packaged beautifully for his client using our Standard cases. Here’s from Jon:

“I’m a passionate web developer, designer and photographer with an eye for detail and a desire to help people. I’m currently freelancing in Raleigh, NC where I have the opportunity to work on a variety of creative projects. I absolutely love taking pictures, and I’m especially fond of candid shots, fashion photography and soft lighting.

“I was recently contacted to do a photo shoot to represent the hair and makeup work of a local stylist, Tara Gardiner. We went with a modern, edgy look, and the photos turned out fabulous. As with all my photo projects, I created a custom Jewelboxing case to deliver the final files. The client absolutely loved the packaging, and all of her friends were wondering how something that professional was printed on a home printer! Jewelboxing is the perfect complement to my business that makes every project a success.

“Delivering photos from a photo session is a must, but who likes a sharpie labeled disc? Insert Jewelboxing here. With every photo session, I am able to design a custom case and label to present photos to a client in a way they won’t forget. Jewelboxing is amazing, and using their products has made it so much simpler to create visually stunning packaging that impresses my clients. Thanks Jewelboxing and lots of love for creating such an incredible product!

Big thanks to Jon for talking with us and here’s to hoping clients, both the nicely styled and the slightly unkempt, are being impressed in Des Plaines, Chicago, Northbrook, Candler, Glendale, Columbus, Santa Clara, Olathe, Culver City, Louisville, Spokane, Lindsay, Toronto, Ottawa, Charlottetown, Calgary, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sarasota, Livonia, Charlotte, Ortonville, and Allen.

Case Study 14: EveryBaby

We get a little weak in the knees every time we run across someone using Jewelboxing for some form of entrepreneurial outlet. Maybe it’s because it reminds us a little of ourselves from way back when, launching a new company and hoping people would like what we were offering. So maybe it’s a little like that movie Pay It Forward but not nearly as schmaltzy and definitely without that kid from The Sixth Sense. Whatever the case, we were fortunate to get to talk to Jennifer Diaz, founder of the design firm Force Nine, about her recent foray into the great unknown that is a product launch, a sort of “build your own baby book” collection of forms for season scrapbookers and the uninitiated alike called EveryBaby. We were so enjoying talking to Jennifer and the uniqueness of her product that we thought “Hey, we should do a Case Study about this!” and thus, here we are.

1. Can you tell us a about yourself?

I went to design school in the early 1980s, when everything was still done by hand. I was always drawn to the history of art and design as well and my master’s thesis, in modern art history, was a comparison of several early twentieth-century graphic designers. I worked for a short time at the Getty Trust in Los Angeles, where I lived with an illuminated manuscripts scholar, grew to love artists’ books, learned basic bookbinding skills, and began writing for Print and other design magazines. All of this is relevant to the EveryBaby book project in one way or another.

2. What’s the EveryBaby Memory Book Pages project?

EveryBaby pages are PDF-formatted components for building customized memory books. What is unique about the EveryBaby system is that you print only the pages that you select, in the quantities that you need, on your choice of paper. You can then bind the pages in any number of ways, along with additional photographs, documents and other memorabilia.

3. What inspired you to create it? Making books for your own children? Some other product out there that you thought just wasn’t quite doing everything?

I started seriously thinking about creating a flexible baby book system when my sister adopted her then nearly 2-year old son. Around the same time, her gay neighbors adopted two children, a never-married sister had a child, and a friend became pregnant through a sperm bank. I was also doing pro-bono design work for a group dedicated to kids with cerebral palsy, who each had their own individualized lists of developmental milestones. Nearly all of the baby books available were hopelessly inadequate for all of these families, and it occurred to me that it was almost insulting to expect these parents to slice up traditional books.

I also had my own daughter eight years ago and settled on a baby book with little John Lennon animal drawings. The pages were so shiny that I had to use a Sharpie to fill in the data and there never seemed to be space for the type of information that I wanted to record, such as details of her many music classes, mysterious allergic reactions, and four years of preschool.

4. Did you design all of the 160 PDFs the package comes with? How long did that take you?

The entire process took about seven years, which has actually turned out to be a good thing. By shelving the project for months at a time, I was able to re-imagine it several times. Initially, I had planned to offset print and package the pages by chapter and sell them to retail shops via the big NY trade shows, with a start-up cost of about $16,000. It took some time (years, in fact) to realize that I would still not be addressing the fundamental issue, which is the ability to choose one page at a time while assembling a book. While I was endlessly contemplating all of this, the PDF file format became more mainstream and Etsy was launched, leading me to develop a much more comprehensive and economical product than I could have conceived of seven years earlier.

I chose many of the actual page design elements fairly early in the process, however, including Engraver�s Bold, Aldus, Bickham Script and Lo-Type for text, plus an assortment of dingbats and ornaments for borders. I probably ran 20 laser and inkjet-printer tests on the dashed lines alone.

5. Did you have some sort of system developed for how you thought each form should be organized? It’s a ton of information to keep track of, so it seems like you’d need to think out the flow of each page, to make it accessible.

During the first few years, I worked on the text in Word. This enabled me to really focus on grouping information into pages that could be opted out of as a unit. I didn’t even begin designing the chapters until I had locked in the precise contents of each page. The most difficult section was probably the “firsts,” which are usually just a long laundry list in conventional baby books. I separated them into logical, Montessori-ish classifications, such as Practical Life, Communication, Fine Motor Skills, etc., and left room for anecdotes and lists where appropriate. When I finally started laying out the pages in InDesign, it was fairly easy going, but I still continued to edit. During the final phase, I hired a professional copy-editor/proofreader to read through the entire collection of pages.

6. Speaking as someone who has absolutely no experience with this, once a person has the disc and they’ve been printing their pages and putting everything together, do you have any recommendations on how to assemble a great baby book?

The best, and least stressful, approach is to assemble several books. For example, the pregnancy, birth and adoption sections have a finite timeframe, so they can be printed, completed and bound first. The “All About You” section will take many years to compile and should therefore have a dedicated box for the storage of calendars, notes, and scraps of information. Alternately, a four-page birthday party section can be filled in during the party and added to a birthdays-only book. At an early age, kids can take over filling out their own pages for the school memory book — and in case of disaster, the pages can be reprinted. The family tree and parents� sections are probably the lowest priority for overwhelmed parents, but can be an easy weekend project at any point over the years, and are easily duplicated for each child�s individual book. Finally, as the overriding goal of any memory book is a long shelf life, I highly recommend the museum-quality storage boxes, sleeves and binders available from Light Impressions.

7. Although I’ve gotten better over the years after countless moves and getting tired of hauling boxes around, I come from a long line of hoarders of stuff that holds sentimental value. So for people like me, do you think having something more organized and guided like your printable sheets will help? Any advice on what’s good to keep and what’s best to just toss?

I think all artists and creative people are hoarders. The trick is to hoard in a semi-organized fashion and then allow the passage of time to dictate what can be tossed. One of my most memorable experiences at the Getty was getting a first look at boxes of Jan Tschichold’s personal papers, which had just been purchased but not yet catalogued. Despite all his rules about the organization of the page, Tschichold’s personal files were a fantastic mess of personal letters, sketches and printed ephemera from virtually every significant designer. He clearly saved everything, but items were fairly well sorted into folders and boxes. The Getty staff took his efforts one step further by slipping things into archival sleeves and entering critical dates and information into accessible databases. This is essentially what parents do when assembling memory books. It’s an organic process – and the EveryBaby pages give you a framework in which to document that process.

8. In an age where a lot of the memories you keep are now online, from photos to home movies, there’s something very comforting about printing things, filling them out with a pen, attaching photos, etc. What is it about getting to work with these bits and pieces of memory by hand?

Most early art, even on cave walls and papyrus, was associated with personal memories. Illuminated manuscripts were basically scrapbooks, with groups of unrelated pages bound together, family members painted into biblical scenes, and personal notes scribbled in the margins. There’s a tactile component to the process of assembling memorablilia that is an essential part of the human experience. Technology is not only at odds with this experience, but even worse, can pose a real threat to it. In fact, I’ll bet 10 Syquest cartridges that the technology on which your digital photos and videos are now stored will be obsolete within 20 years. With hand-compiled memory books, there is the potential to create something more enduring than a web gallery.

9. You’d mentioned earlier your choice to sell EveryBaby on Etsy. Why did you decide to go that specific route? Possible other options for the future?

Etsy is a great marketplace for anything made by hand. It’s an online craft fair – with some of the awfulness that craft fairs can inspire – but at the same time, it’s a high-end gallery of beautiful art objects. As a seller, I can’t imagine a marketplace that would better target the full range of alternative families, while also allowing me to shirk the responsibility of building my own web site. Like many artisans who launch on Etsy, I hope to evolve into selling on my own site or in retail shops, such as the Paper Source.

10. Why did you choose Jewelboxing as your packaging? And can you tell us a little about the your design for the case?

I chose Jewelboxing because I wanted a case that would be durable and elegant enough to be presented as a gift. The EveryBaby cases were designed to look like hand-bound books, with kraft paper covers, bookcloth spines, and endpapers patterned with Hoefler ornaments. The Jewelboxing inserts allow space for a huge amount of information on the back, and I used all sides of the booklet for instructions and an extensive table of contents. I will also add loose beads, baby bracelets and birthday candles to the spines as little surprise gifts for buyers.

11. What’s next for you? For the EveryBaby project?

As part of a self-imposed hiatus from client-directed projects, I’m going to spend the summer creating hand-bound binders, clipboards and folders to sell alongside the EveryBaby disks.

Well-Polished Promotion

Sometimes, when that extra special project comes around, you have decisions to make along the way. You can either do it proficiently and professionally, or you can chose to push it a little further and create something remarkable that will completely floor your clients (and most importantly, make you proud to show it off, too). Such is the case with Harpreet Padam and his design firm Unlike, who decided to go all out in creating a recent job for a client by including our Standard cases within their fantastic presentation kit. Here’s the whole story from Harpreet:

“We’re a small design firm of two in Bangalore, India called Unlike and we work mostly with fashion and lifestyle brands in the domain of packaging, graphics, and accessory design. The picture I sent you was part of a project for Carbon Accessories, a fashion jewellery brand that sells across India through a shop-in-shop sales module and was looking at expanding into exclusive stores. To enable this through a planned and consistent design identity, Carbon reached out to carefully selected designers/architects across the world, inviting them to associate with the brand.”

“At Unlike, we designed a brand presentation (in Flash), a brochure that provided detailed information about the brand, and a design brief to entice and invite these designers and architects. This was arranged inside an acrylic box that was then personalised to each addressee through coloured DYMO embossing tape. A Jewelboxing-packaged CD contained the Flash presentation and a digitally-printed CD label themed on ‘elevating style,’ the brand mantra and also the theme of this project.”

“Before we decided on Jewelboxing (which I was familiar with for such a long time that I don’t even remember how or when, maybe some design magazine?), we were considering buying single-cased Sony DVDs, discarding the DVDs, and using their jewel case. It’s much cheaper that way since a Jewelboxing case costs about 75 Indian rupees (with postage), and the Sony DVD case works out to 35 Indian rupees with a blank DVD to spare. However, we decided on the more professional and in a way ‘elevating style’ with the Jewelboxing case because of its highly reflective nature (maybe due to its internal form, structure, and gloss). This reflection was also relevant, as most of our client’s products are diamond-studded and shine like crazy. So we let the CD inside show through, encased in all that clarity.”

“About the Jewelboxing experience, well it was quick, fast, and convenient. We originally had some doubts, but Dawson cleared them up in a jiffy. I visited your site again recently because we’re planning to use Jewelboxing for another brand presentation for a new client, a silk furnishings retailer, though this time we plan to silkscreen the case, quite like a Marc Newson DVD we have. I’ll order as soon as I get my proposal approved!”

Thanks to Harpreet and the Unlike Design Company for sharing their work with us and here’s to hoping client socks are being knocked off in Machelen, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Grayslake, Washington DC, Anacortes, Tuscaloosa, Seattle, Layham, Whistler, Norwich, Trujillo Alto, Long Beach, Indianapolis, Zurich, Oakland, and Glen Carbon.

Case Study 1: Impactist

Everyone loves getting packages in the mail. We’re no exception. From cool new techie toys to books and posters we’ve ordered from all over the place, it’s great to pop open something we’ve been anxiously awaiting. However, it’s even better when we get a great surprise in the mail, like the package we recently received from Daniel Elwing of the terrific motion graphics and production firm, Impactist. So impressed were we with the content, complete with their amazing reel beautifully packaged with Jewelboxing, to the gritty paper bag-textured insert with printed company info, we knew we had to do something special. Daniel was game, and we were eager, so we put together the following Q & A session. We hope you’ll enjoy their work as much as we have

Can you tell me a bit about your company?

Impactist is the collaborative work between myself and Kelly Meador. We are a motion graphic design and production studio located in Portland, Oregon. The company was born out of the desire to create an environment that allowed for freedom of thought and creativity. No longer would the emphasis be on following a trend, but instead to create new images out of new ideas. Both Kelly and I have worked in the business for several years, independently, and have subsequently formed Impactist, thus pooling our experience and creative backgrounds.

What clients do you work with currently and have worked with in the past?

Obviously, Nike has been a major client for us. They have provided many great projects and opportunities for experimentation. Over the years our clients have been quite varied, from music videos to work for global leaders in microprocessor technology. Since the creation of Impactist is still relatively new, we’re always looking to expand our client base and engage in new collaborative work.

It seems like a lot of the coolest designers, at one time or another, wind up working with Nike. How are they as a client? A lot of freedom in the design process?

Nike is such a large, global company that working with them has been great considering their reach. We’ve created content for distribution here within the u.s. and also globally. Projects for Niketowns around the world, World Cup Soccer, the olympics, and various special events. The unique venues where their media is shown affect our design just as much as the concept itself. From the three story video wall in Niketown New York, custom projections and environmental displays, to your standard 4:3 monitor. Depending upon the project, the amount of freedom we have been given can fluctuate. Though, initially we try to conceive without limits then work with the client to determine how far we want to push things forward.

What is Robots on Strike?

It’s the online home to some of the non-commercial work we’ve created. Motion, still, and audio work. We asked ourselves, “What would robots do if they weren’t working on the assembly line?” We would guess that they’d pick up a camera and start shooting immediately. When we’re not working on projects for Impactist, you’ll find us working away on our own stuff, be it motion, photography, or sound design.

Your work seems to have both a new, futuristic feel to it, but also, given the textures and imagery you use, and some of the subject you’ve covered, firmly grounded in the past. Does that have something to do with the sort of inherent collage-ness that motion graphics seems to have?

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the tools that allow us to work in our business, but with the workflow being so dependent on digital technology, it’s a joy to work with and incorporate more analog methods along the way. The past really inspires and influences our work. We grew up within families that valued the archiving of moments by means of photography and endless reels of super8 footage. We believe it’s most important to utilize the tools of today without disregarding those processes of the past which can be reinterpreted and combined to create something new.

What kind of influences do you draw from to create these pieces?

We both come from a background rooted in fine arts and design, so naturally those early teachings will always be with us. We’re also fortunate to be in the Northwest. Geographically, Oregon is such a diverse place that you can drive an hour in any direction and be in a completely different climate and visual environment which we are sure has greatly affected our design and direction within our work. Also, music and sound design are big influences as well, since there are such strong similarities between motion design and music in regards to rhythm and tone. Some people need to work in silence, whereas we need the stereo to be playing tracks on consistent rotation.

What made you choose Jewelboxing?

Being a company that creates visual communications and experiences, it was important to use a system for our promotional materials that echoed this. The Jewelboxing cases basically granted us freedom from other existing systems that are simply boring and uninspiring. These cases came along at just the right time for us. Beta cassettes were formally the kings of reel distribution, but dvd’s have taken over and they need a great place to live! We chose to house ours in the ultra stylish and ultra cool Jewelboxing cases.

Did you find the system easy to work with?

Interestingly enough, we believe the system works so well because it does exactly what it’s supposed to. It simply works! Other cases either look low quality or are low quality. The construction is soft or the insert system is messy. The Jewelboxing cases are sturdy and are so clean. Even if you weren’t inclined to use the insert system and only place a single, solitary cd or dvd within the transparent case, it would still come out looking more refined and sophisticated than previously available cases.

How did the idea to put a piece of wood in the spine come about?

Without being overly dramatic, the simple answer would be that we are users of all technology, old and new. One minute we could be creating everything within the computer, the next we could be fashioning real world elements out of concrete and hardwoods to be photographed or filmed. Thus, the inclusion of the small piece of cherry wood. You couldn’t do that with other cases.

Of those who have seen your new reel, what have the reactions been?

The response to both the content and the packaging has been outstanding. You can’t view the contents of the disc without a player, so the initial physical presentation has to be right on. We try to hold ourselves to a high standard, so likewise the delivery system needs to reflect that as well.

How will you be using the paper bag-textured, record-sized poster, included with your reel?

The included inserts serve to compliment the reel design and also provide additional information about ourselves. Forgive us, but we just love that paper stock!

What do you see for Impactist’s future?

Naturally, we’d like to expand and grow, but not necessarily in size. Every project brings a new set of creative problems to be solved. In that respect, we look to continue to develop and create new images and experiences. There has been such an explosion in the way that content is being delivered these days via television, in the theaters, and on the web that we are anticipating great things for both ourselves and the industry itself. And with our varied backgrounds and experience, we are fortunate to find ourselves operating during this exciting moment in the timeline of motion design.