“Print & Paper Doth Oft Proclaim the Piece,” Sayeth Design Army

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Loosen Your Collar Palette.

Design Army sought to prove that the real Power of Paper lies in its ability to give clients more, more, more – color, texture, performance, results.  Well, well, well, Neenah Paper believes this new promo proves their theory correct, an impactful promotion – The Power of Paper: Stand Out in a Vanilla Market – highlighting ways CLASSIC® Papers add punch to your piece. Featuring CLASSIC CREST®, CLASSIC® Linen, CLASSIC COLUMNS®, and CLASSIC® Laid Papers, the spiral-bound brochure is a testament to how an adventurous paper choice can make even the most common collateral get noticed.

Find out how Design Army’s Co-Generals and Founders, Pum Lefebure and Jake Lefebure(married!) approached the Don’t Be Vanilla Challenge…


Make Them Pay Attention.

Hey Design Army , Who the Heck Are? Are You Scary Guy Army or Nice Guy Army?

Located in Washington DC, Design Army prides itself on begin smart, strategic and selective. We focus on creating meaningful visuals for the public and private sector, non-profits, artists, and the occasional politician. Working in diverse media including print, interactive, packaging, environmental, and editorial allows us to produce design that is multi-purpose. Design that educates. Design that resonates.



Play Peek-a-Boo Percentiles on a Printed Page.

What Did Neenah Ask of You?

We were tasked with developing a promotion for the CLASSIC® Brands that would showcase the many colors and textures. In addition, Neenah really wanted us to include real data about why color and texture matter: how it can increase response in direct mail; how it can enhance a marketing campaign; how it can influence purchases in packaging; how it outperforms pixels; and how it makes your work stand out in a vanilla market.


Bland No More.



Colorful Gates Add Definition and Delight.

What Were the Bumps on the Road to Paradise? Any Unexpected Surprises?

One of the most challenging (and fun) aspects was inventing all of the fictitious companies and products. It sounds simple, but if you take them too far they do not come across as “real” and that was sticking point we wanted to ensure. Of course, while many of these companies seem real at first glance, it’s not until you read the text that you get the wit and humor on each company.

There are over ten custom pieces and four dividers in the promo.  So a big challenge was how to strike a balance and use stock colors that would not clash. In the end, it all came down to pacing and paring; this is what makes the promotional tool stand out.

Another challenge was the use of illustration vs. photography. We used a fair amount of stock photography, but they are all executed in ways that make them seem more custom. There’s also a healthy dose of illustration (all done by Design Army) which makes some of those more common items a little unexpected. For instance, on a simple Dental Appointment Card, we choose CLASSIC® Laid and then just embossed the teeth knowing that the texture will turn smooth under the die pressure. It’s so simple, yet so appropriate.

As for the Unexpected Surprises: The cover started off as a photograph; but after looking at it, retouching it, and cropping it, the impact we wanted just wasn’t there. So we decided that we would use the photo as a starting point and illustrate it. We used the original clothing patterns as inspirations and then customized them: look for hidden words in the patterns, added foils, embossing and touch plates. This is called controlled chaos.


Say Les Bone Jaune!




The Only Vanilla Plant is the Vanilla Plant. OK?!

How Do You Think Your Solution Will Resonate with Your Peers?

We presented many concepts and all were well received by Neenah. Still, some simply were a little too crazy – even for designers. We had to ensure the final idea would resonate graphically —that was the easy part. Making the promotional functional and educational was the bigger challenge. There were various client industries to consider – Medical, Beauty, Travel, Education, Retail… various techniques to include – die cuts, embossing, packaging, foil stamping… various papers to include – finishes, color, texture, and digital … and of course we had to address performance of Neenah papers so a mixture of illustration, photography, typography, were used – both as Pantone® and Process inks.

So, once we had all the basic needs for the promo outlined it was time to start the design fun. We wanted to make sure all of the items we created were “real” – design pieces that any designer could say, “hey, I should use colored paper like that on my own project.” We also wanted to make the data points useful; by sharing the carefully selected facts and figures with your client it can spark a conversations on how they can add more ROI on a project simply by using a texture, color, or special finish paper stock.



Going Up? Design Army Is!


What New Directions Will You Take, Design Army?

The project we are working on at the moment is always our best! There’s always something big going on at Design Army – we just don’t always know what it will be! Lately we have been doing a lot of magazine re-design in a time we hear the cries of “print is dead” and of course we are always doing theatre posters and fashion shoots. We also have a promotional video coming out soon by Adobe – it’s a studio profile and detailed look at our WONDERLAND project for the Washington Ballet. The piece was brought to life with the selection of EAMES™ Vellum for the hard bound book cover jacket,CLASSIC CREST® Epic Black for the end leaf papers and CLASSIC CREST PRINT Text for the entire cover to cover interior page spreads. HOW magazine (with Adobe) asked to convert a print project to web working with the Adobe Flash Catalyst – the results were just as magical as the printed version that Neenah profiled at the launch of the Against the Grain Blog:


  1. 02

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Design Army, Design Army. Design Army said: NEW WORK: Read all about the new Classic Line promotion for Neenah Paper and let us know what you think. ★ […]

  2. 02
    H.Loha said:

    Very nicely done…Throughly creative

  3. 03
    Sharon said:

    Love this design. This proves PRINT is alive and well. Beautiful Design Army!

  4. 03
    Jay Lee said:

    Wanna get this! Please email me how to purchase this book…Actually I am an international customer….in Korea….. :-) then Is it possible to order?

  5. 05
    Kevin said:

    I would like to receive a copy of this…. how can I order it??? don’t find it on the website… customer service not very helpful… :-((

  6. 05
    Neenah Paper said:

    Kevin, Sorry for the long delay in this. Wherever you live you have a paper merchant who has these promos in stock. If you reply to me I will get to Neenah and they will locate the Rep and he/she will send it you one if you want one. It was MY error in not putting a link on the blog story for guests to visit and request the book. Your Friendly but Delinquent Frail Human Blogmeister, Matt P

  7. 06
    Piper said:

    Brilliant desgins! I would love a copy of this! Matt could you please let me know how to order.

  8. 08

    Really interesting blog, keep up the good work!

  9. 09
    Dessi said:

    Great work! I would love to have a copy of this. Let me know how to order it.

  10. 11
    Stephanie said:

    What is the typeface used in the image with the caption ‘Bland No More’?

  11. 11
    Adrian said:

    I’m one of those who would like to order a copy, too.
    Could you please send me further informations via email? Would be great!

  12. 02
    Alex said:

    Stephanie, it’s Garamond with Elegant Swash Caps. The secondary copy is Avant Garde Gothic.

  13. 07
    Brandt said:

    Could you please send me information on where to get a copy as well?

    I just saw the CLASSIC® Papers Revision by Design Army: Behind the Scenes and would love to have a copy to further illustrate to clients some amazing print/paper possibilities!

    Check it out over at

  14. 08
    Neenah Paper said:


    You can order any samples by visiting Neenah’s websit… better still, download the new Neenah Cabinet app and search for any sample available! The Editor…ps sorry for this late reply… this comment got hung up in the system and I just found it.