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. Continue reading

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: Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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.” Continue reading