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If It’s Embossed on the Cover, You Better Believe It

Written by in Profiles

On the cover

Addison, a New York based independent brand strategy and communication design firm, has done it again. Its 2009 annual report for Neenah Paper, Inc. was selected to be in the Communication Arts Design Annual for the fourth year in a row. Against the Grain offers both congratulations and appreciation for Addison’s fine work on behalf of Neenah.

The book is designed to be a physical representation of its topic and title: What We Believe. The words are embossed on the cover. The book is hardbound, black and stern. But when you open it, joy unfolds: one company’s love for papermaking and belief in the power of its people to deliver great service and performance in a socially responsible manner.


What We Believe

“We Believe in Walking the Walk,” says one section headline. “We Believe Our Name is Our Promise,” says another, each revealing the values behind the brand and the people in a style that is authoritative yet delightful. Throughout the book, the belief statements are supported with images and text that speak to what the people of Neenah are doing to make good on their promised values.


Support your case with facts

Says Jason Miller, “There is an energy that comes from juxtaposing the forces of ‘beliefs’ and ‘actions’…  the expressive pages capture the emotional and aspirant elements of the story, and the straightforward text spreads codify those emotions, detailing all of the tangible activity that occurred in 2009 to support that belief.”

Without evidence, the phrase What We Believe embossed on the cover would ring sanctimonious and hollow. Instead, the facts bear out the promise. Inside this report, there is much good news and progress, especially on the sustainability front. Included inside the book is information about Neenah’s involvement with Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and a hard working non-profit group, Friends of the Osa, which is working to reforest the fragile but idyllic Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, winter home to thousands of varieties of North American summer birds plus countless other threatened or endangered species.


Illustration by Micah Lidberg showing the migration of birds

In addition to Mr. Miller, Addison also used UK illustrator Jo Ratcliffe for the pencil sketches of Neenah people and Micah Lidberg* for the six-page illustration of the birds in migration, a figurative and lovely painterly illustration that pays homage to the birds that migrate between Wisconsin and the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. The display type for this section is this writer’s personal favorite: “We Believe Sustainability is for the Birds (and the rest of us too).” Jason wrote that one.

This is the fourth Neenah Paper, Inc. annual Jason Miller has had his hands on and the fourth in a row to be chosen by Communication Arts Design Annual judges. Coincidence? Nah.  As for beliefs and promises, this book is as much about the promise of the future as it is promises kept. It looks ahead with relish.

*More on Micah and the illustration in a subsequent post. You have to see the whole thing to truly appreciate it!


More images below…


Repurposing Paper


Friends of the Osa Project section


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