Greetings from Earth. We Have Jewelboxing.

Earlier this week, we received a terrific letter from Steve Wood, a very talented filmmaker and motion graphics designer, who had this to say:

“I’ve been using Jewelboxing to send my short film ‘Echo’ out to festivals. It has been in the East Lansing Film Fest, The London SCI FI Film Fest, and others soon. I love the cases and I’m looking forward to trying out the new paper. Here’s a little info on the film:

The most powerful broadcast ever deliberately beamed into space was made from Arecibo, Puerto Rico on November 16, 1974. It included representations of the fundamental chemicals of life, the formula for DNA, a crude diagram of our solar system, and simple pictures of a human being and the Arecibo telescope.

‘Echo’ was created with stock footage elements from public domain resources such as NASA and The Atomic Energy Commission, combined with original animations created in Illustrator and After Effects. Many of the images in the film were culled from the internet, then modified and animated. Other audio and graphic elements were taken from the 1977 ‘Golden Record,’ a metal LP containing sounds, images, and greetings from Earth, sent into space with the Voyager Spacecraft.”

“Echo” is currently available on iFilm, here. Definitely need to check it out.

We’re making our own ‘Golden Record’ right now, but it contains only gushing praise about the people in Los Angeles, San Rafael, Redondo Beach, Woodstock, Milpitas, Sonoma, Venice, Canmore, Sparta, Manchester, and New York.

‘Tis the Season for Seasons Past

With the holiday season ramping up and snow soon to be on its way, we’ve been in that contemplative mood that comes with family get togethers, shorter days, and knowing that most of the next half-dozen months will be spent indoors. That said, it seems like the perfect season to finally start sorting through all those boxes of miscellaneous photos, letters, and mementos tucked away in the basement or various drawers.

It seemed somehow fortuitous that we ran across this post from 2005 over at Ask Metafilter about what people do with their collections of old memories. Bringing it full circle is that someone recommended taking the time to scan these important pieces of your life and sticking it all onto discs, then going that extra mile by nicely packaging it using Jewelboxing. We’d seen this general idea put to great use in previous posts like with Andrew Huff’s collection of his grandfather’s audio interviews, Sujay Thomas’ graduation discs, and Brendan Dawes’ birthday memories. But to do a personal collection of your miscellaneous stuff, all searchable and safely tucked away in ones and zeros, that sounds fantastic. And while all that sorting sounds like a lot of work, it’s the sort of thing that gets fun and interesting once you start doing it, taking it all in with eyes a little older and memories a touch fonder.

Here’s to hoping there are lots of new memories being made that are worth preserving in your neck of the woods, as well as in Baltimore, Grand Rapids, Durham, Philadelphia, Leander, Lowell, Los Angeles, Kenton, Napa, Atlanta, Houston, Cardiff, Lakewood, Titusville, Livermore, San Louis Obispo, New York, Bellevue, Grand Forks, and Raleigh.

Misty Water-Colored Memories

With winter coming soon and being outdoors no longer an option, it was recently decided around the home front that this was going to be the season of cleaning up the basement once and for all. With the snows coming, the plan to to finally start sorting through all those boxes of miscellaneous photos, letters, and those odd little mementos that don’t quite work so hot with the decor upstairs among the living. But in the end, even after weekends are spent reorganizing, you might wind up with a few less boxes, but all of that stuff will still be sitting down there, gathering dust.

It seemed somehow fortuitous that we ran across this post from 2005 over at Ask Metafilter about what people do with their collections of old memories. Bringing it full circle is that someone recommended taking the time to scan these important pieces of your life and sticking it all onto discs, then going that extra mile by nicely packaging it using Jewelboxing. We’d seen this general idea put to great use in previous posts like with Andrew Huff’s collection of his grandfather’s audio interviews, Sujay Thomas’ graduation discs, and Brendan Dawes’ birthday memories. But to do a personal collection of all your miscellaneous stuff, all searchable and safely tucked away in ones and zeros, that sounds fantastic. If just to provide inspiration so that we might do the same when it comes time to head downstairs to start the organizing, we’d love to see how it all turned out and hear your story, so if you’ve done such a thing, drop us a line and let us know.

Here’s to hoping memories are being made and preserved in Brooklyn, Longwood, New York, Anacortes, Pasadena, Las Vegas, Madison, Toms River, Brea, Palo Alto, Oxford, London, Savannah, Blacksburg, Washington DC, Wetumpka, Drouin, Newmarket, Knoxville, Logan, Chicago, Toronto, Metairie, and Merrifield.

How To Be a Hero

It’s pretty simple, really. First, have your wife and daughter sit down at the family iMac with a pile of CDs and select a list of songs for a mix CD. Organize and burn it with iTunes. Put it in the family car and listen to it obsessively for a week. Debate the track selection and order at every opportunity. Have them go back to the iMac, revise the playlist, and email the artists and song titles to you at work.

Marry a woman with a great photographic eye. (OK, maybe that part’s not so simple.) Have her select a portrait-shaped image of your daughter’s beautiful face and a landscape-shaped image from a previous trip to the zoo, and have her email those out of iPhoto to you at the studio.

Sit down with your daughter and discuss the relative merits of various titles for this birthday party CD. This will feel surprisingly like a client meeting. You will have a couple “perfect” titles that describe in a brilliantly concise manner the exact feeling that the list if songs will communicate to her friends and their families. She will insist on calling it “My Life is 7.” You will lose this argument.

Find a free hour at work. Import the portrait-sized photo into the Freehand (or whatever app you prefer) Jewelboxing template for the outside of the insert book. Place it on the right side of the page. Crop the image on its left side along the guide for the horizontal center of the page. Let it bleed off the three other sides. Lay the headline, set in a sensible typeface like Gill Sans, across the image with another small line of copy that says “Isabelle’s Birthday Party at The Zoo, June 6, 2004” stack-centered and set in white to reverse nicely out of the photo.

Import the landscape image into the same template, size and crop it as if it were going to cover the entire insert book template and bleed off all four sides. Send it to the back, behind the portrait image. Set the playlist so it reverses out of the left side photo. Print out a test and then 13 more. Set aside.

Open the template for the tray-liner inside. Copy and paste the landscape image from the previous template into it and align it so the right half of the image covers the entire template area. Print out a test and 13 more. Set aside.

While still in the tray-liner template, bring the “disc shape” layer to the front. Select the landscape image, copy and then paste that inside the disc shape. Copy that. Open the disc label templates and paste. Put the circle filled with the cropped landscape image over each of the two disc shapes on this template. Add text if you’d like. Print a test and then six more of these.

Open the template for the tray-liner outside and fill it with a solid color. Repeat the headline in white in small letters rotated 90 degrees clockwise. Put that on the part of the template that will be the spine of the final case. Put the already printed tray-liner paper back in the printer with the blank side out, print a test and then 13 more.

Gather all that stuff and bring it home. Assemble the packages at the kitchen table with your daughter. I’d suggest you taking responsibility for applying the disc labels and detaching and folding the tray-liners. She can do pretty much everything else. Head upstairs to the iMac. Burn the 13 labeled CD’s and snap them into the cases. This next part is very important. While at the party at zoo, please try to not lose any kids. Hand out the discs as party favors. Ta-da.

For even more fun, try this in Santa Cruz, Wenonah, Billings, Barrie, Ithica or San Francisco.

The Best Phrase. Ever.

Since we started, people have said a lot of nice things about Jewelboxing. However, we’re pretty sure that, when Signe Housser wrote in to us to tell us about the project she’d just completed with the Vancouver Public Library, it was the first time we’d been referred to as “freakin’ awesome.” So, understandably, we were thrilled. And once we got a look at how Signe’s project turned out, we, in turn, thought the work of her designer put together was equally as freakin’ awesome. Here’s her letter:

The Science & Business Division of the Vancouver Public Libraryhas been publishing print versions of our New Media Directory for six years. This is a company directory of new media firms in the greater Vancouver area intended primarily for job seekers. As you probably know, Vancouver is a gaming and interactive entertainment hotbed, not to mention a pretty beautiful place and the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

When it came time to produce a CD version of our Directory, we wanted a simple, elegant, all-in-one packaging system to do it justice. Your product exceeded all expectations. We love it! And our designer specifically wants you to know that he thought the system was freakin awesome.

Since we’re on a roll here, we’d like to take this moment to say that there are some of the freakin’ awesomest people in Merthyr Tydfil, Leominster, Atlanta, Decatur, Sandpoint, London, Austell, Sanford, Brooklyn, New York, Toronto, Silver Spring, Alexandria, Truro, Buffalo Grove, Plano, Salinas, Grafton, San Diego, Alameda, Ekero, Ankara, Hoboken, Maidstone, and Urbana.

Like A Glove

The saga continues on our quest to create a flashy commercial spot for Jewelboxing. A few days back, we put up a draft with some horribly mismatched soundtracks and asked any musically-inclined readers to submit better-fitting, better-sounding music for the spot. Immediately, we got in a batch of fantastic submissions, which ran the gamut from rhythmic ambient tracks to jittery electronic to torch songs. It was amazing to see how the spot would change in tone whenever we dropped in a different style.

In the end, we chose the entry by Chaz Windus at Blazing Lazer. Not only did the track fit incredibly well, it was exactly in the direction we were looking to go in. Something fun, upbeat, approachable, and with a wide variety of sounds. So impressed were we, we went back and altered the spot around to work with the frenzied track all the more. Take a look here.

Sound design is being worked on currently, and we’re still fixing little things here and there whenever we get a free second, so everything’s pressing on. Shortly, we’ll be announcing another contest in search of a voice-over artist, so drink some tea, quit smoking, and polish up those pipes — you’ll need ’em.

We’re working on a acapella cover of “Lovin’ You” for those in Hollywood, Chicago, Tacoma, Manhattan, Silver Spring, Brookline, Encino, Hurleyville, Arcadia, Arlington, Lemoore, Albuquerque, Nederland, Eastlake, Pelham, Pasadena, Minneapolis, and Brooklyn.

Of note: The special offer we made in the CP/Jewelboxing Infrequent Mailing last week expires on Friday, so hurry it up already! If you don’t know what we’re talking about, sign up for the newsletter at the bottom of the JB Home Page.

The Winter of Our Complete Content

Every so often, we get in a great letter singing the praises of our Jewelboxing system. Usually the letters come from users who have been thrilled with the outcome of their projects, or how great they look and the reaction they’ve received. Rare is it when we get a letter like this one from Christian Hery with the Parks and Protected Areas division of the Alberta Community Development Center. Christian was so happy with the project, including the use our cases, he decided to walk us through the whole process, from rough start to glorious finish:

“When our Environmental Education Coordinator came to me with her new program, I was not so enthusiastic about it. It was designed as a draft in Pagemaker, and wasn’t so “cutting-edge.” Plus, it needed to be printed on paper, or, alternately, maybe also as a downloadable PDF. So after a few days trying to get excited about it, thinking of other solutions, I turned around and made my proposition. ‘Let’s make it multimedia, burnt on a CD, completely paperless!’ I thought. ‘Who said government agencies have to make things boring?’

My goal was to turn a dull project into something more exciting. So I re-designed the whole thing, adding some pizzazz here and there, and made a customized Flash interface. But what about the package? Should it be one of these boring jewel cases? No! But what else could I use? Well, as I am also a busy freelance designer, I remembered a while back having seen these cute jewelboxes from your company.

Now it was just a matter of persuading my hierarchy to get the budget, which can be tough. But I had on my side the fact that this Winter Ecology Program is supposed to be the template for the other forty or so environmental education programs we’ve got. Well, I must’ve been persuasive enough because we eventually ordered something like a thousand of them. My argument was that we’d be getting the most of the WOW factor from beginning to end with the project, and for a lot less money (no printing cost, and therefore environment-friendly as well!).

Now that people have seen the final product, I can tell you I am getting a lot of emails, not only from teachers (asking when the series will be completed the same way), but also from other government agencies! It’s all turned out great!”

We’re constantly being affected by the wow factor by those in Kyoto, South Haven, Vancouver, Southbury, Phoenix, Beaverton, Orlando, Jarvisburg, Swarthmore, Chicago, Savannah, and Fort Lauderdale.

They Call Me the Seeker…

Headcoats off! (Remove your Deerstalker.) We have some winners in the Jewelboxing/Coudal Fresh Signals Archives Scavenger Hunt Or Whatever We’ve Been Calling It. Competition was fierce, per usual, and the questions were as difficult and cryptic as ever, but four diligent snoopers waded through our mess of an archive to correctly solve all eight of our brain-scratchers.

Following a few blatantly wrong and funny entries (probably a cry for attention, or a Jewelboxing discount, or both) the first two winners came early. They were followed by a flurry of entries with one or two incorrect answers, then a day or so without an entry, then another flurry of entries with one or two incorrect answers. Then there were some shenanigans, and we bent the rules a bit and closed entries. The winners, and their stories:

First Prize (100pack Kings) goes to Shawn Kelley, who mailed in his correct answers about an hour after we emailed the questions. Sean won another of our contests recently, which forces us to announce a “Shawn Kelley Rule” for future contests (Coudal/Jewelboxing contest winners are heretofore ineligible to win other Coudal/Jewelboxing contests). But we appreciate your selfless dedication to Jewelboxing, Shawn, and your detailed explanation of your answers which we shall pillage below.

Second Prize (40pack Kings) goes to another Sean, albeit one preferring the gaelic spelling. We speak, of course, of Sean Sheridan, a night-owl who e-mailed his entry shortly after midnight the first day.

Third Prize (20pack Kings) was a tie. Jamie McCarthy got her entry in early, but alas, missed #7. A couple days later, she realized her mistake and corrected herself, just as Robyn Paton sent in her entry. Robyn also got one question wrong, (#4) but her masterful Jewelboxing-suck-up incorrect answer (below) convinced us she deserved to share the third prize with Jamie. Since we don’t make a 10-pack, they’ll each get a 20-pack.

Enough already, Our questions, Shawn’s answers, (and the original Fresh Signals entries where they were found).

We once cited three fictional recording artists in a Fresh Signals entry. Which one, as it turns out, is real?
Middle Earth. (Behold the Rocklopedia Fakebandica. -04.05.02.bb)

If you’re going to add a red tube-top and cowboy boots to a famous naked image of classical beauty, you should add them to a painting by whom?
Ingres. (Famous nudes, now clothed, at Worth1000. -05.27.04.jc)

One day Bryan and a pal built a mini-version of an arena-rock lighting effect for fun. What band had three songs on the playlist the guys used to put this effect in motion?
Led Zeppelin (Our homemade Laser Light Show. -07.27.04.bb)

What is the best paper for printing your curriculum vitae?
100% Cotton Fiber 32 lb. Ivory Premium Bond Paper (Non-Expert advice on writing your resumé. -08.22.03.kg)

Note: Robyn’s answer: “This is a toss up. It could be any of the marvelous stationers… you’ve featured in Fresh Signals over the years, but really, if you want to get the job, I’d do the whole application (CV and prettiness, plus a little but of hip thrown in for good measure) with the Jewelboxing system, so the printing, of course, would be on your lovely inserts.” Then she cited the Fresh Signals post about us hiring Ryan because he sent his resume in a Jewelboxing case).

Chicagoans love their meat and when we order lunch here at the studio, you can bet that it will contain plenty of beef and meatballs. For lunch orders weighing in at more than 25lbs, CP’s fave lunch spot charges us how much extra for the hefty delivery?
$5 (Office fave Bari. -05.23.02.kg)

What should Phillip tell the people whose design talent he fears?
That he forgot the url. (Phillip has a slight problem with Jewelboxing. -06.07.04.cp)

Dave and Bryan had an ongoing obsession with a low-budget movie (neither of us have seen it, still) about the hunt for a fictional synthesizer. What was the name of the synthesizer?
MoleTron. (Weird trailer for new indie film Southlander. -02.21.01.dr)

Name the two Finnish shops that had their windows redesigned as part of a design workshop.
Cafe Visual and Maustemesta spiceshop. (“Re-design the lettering so that the shop would sell more. -10.18.02.jc)

Well done, all, and several of you were just one question away from winning, so pat yourselves on the back. No, really, do it. We’re not going anywhere until you literally and physically pat yourselves on the back. There, was that so hard? Thank you. If you weren’t hip to this contest, it’s because you didn’t join our Infrequent Mailing list, sign up on the front page of Jewelboxingor Coudal today! Please don’t forget that the Fresh Signals archives are always open for your browsing pleasure.

We have lots of cities to be thankful for today. Here’s a few of them. St. Louis, Seattle, Mount Airy, Culver City, Chicago, Lafayette Hill, Dallas, Kirkwood, Puyallup, LA, Brooklyn, Playa Del Rey, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, NYC, Worcester, Toronto, Delmar, Newburgh, Vancouver, Victoria and Mexico City.

We Get Letters, and Jpgs Too

Don Bambico writes. “When I first saw your Jewelboxing system, I simply fell in love with the freedom to design all around the case thus making it very eye catching. Having been stuck designing on those boring DVD amaray cases, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try and create something slick with your Jewelboxing system.”

“So in an attempt to attract prospective employers and also for graduate school admissions, I used the Jewelboxing system and created my very own portfolio cd-rom. I must say that I am extremely satisfied and very happy with the outcome. Thank you Jewelboxing Crew, you guys rock!”

The parade of cities continues in a increasingly futile attempt to get caught up before vacation. Thanks to London, Westfield, LA, Miami, Charlotte, Burbank, Heemstede, Amsterdam, Venice, Golden Valley, Lincoln, Schaumburg, Winnipeg, NYC, Stockton-on-Tees, Lombard, South San Francisco, Atlanta, Stratford, Richmond and Phoenix.

See you after Labor Day. Keep Jewelboxing.

A Chisel and a Web Press

Ben Kiel designed and produced his portfolio reel using our Jewelboxing system and some old technology too. He printed the inserts and disc labels on a letterpress. Then he wrote us this note about the process.

“For me, the possibility of combinations of old and new technologies is an area that is rich with exploration. One can make a woodcut, print it once, scan it, then put it on a cover of a magazine that has a run of 200,000 copies. The end product cannot exist without both a chisel and a web press.”

“In a similar way, this project was another way that an old technology, a letterpress and wood type, met a new one, a mass produced system for making custom jewel cases. Without the ease of assembly that the Jewelboxing system affords, the end product would not have been so nice, or even tried. Because the system is already die cut, I could spend just a morning playing with wood type on press knowing the entire time where everything would fall because of the score lines. After I was done printing, it was very simple to tear out each piece of the case and put it all together. If I had to make my own templates and do all of the cutting and scoring it would have taken an afternoon to get everything right and another hour or two on press to print the extra sheets I would have needed for trials. The piece has a quality to it because there is something nice about a CR-Rom label and case that is letterpressed: from one form of transmitting information handing the baton to another.”

They’re seeing the possibilities in Akron, NYC, Chicago, Anoka, Beaverton and Madison.