Tag Archives: creative

Structural Graphics Paper Engineer Designs Spectacular Paper Sculpture By Hand

At Structural Graphics, we are very lucky to have such talented and creative employees among us. One of them being our very own Paper Engineer, Shin Wakabayashi. We have yet to find out what Shin cannot do. Talented beyond his years and experience, Shin amazes us and our clients with an innate ability to enhance whatever he touches. Ambitious and tenacious, Shin doesn’t approach projects as much as he tackles them, working and reworking their solutions into perfection. A disciplined artist with an engineer’s attention to detail, he is a Renaissance man who can draw, paint, sculpt, invent, cut, fold, assemble, design, and render.

Shin recently attended a week-long paper sculpture workshop at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking in North Franklin, Indiana taught by world renowned artist Jeff Nishinaka. At this workshop, Shin began work on a paper sculpture that he created entirely by hand. At the completion of the workshop, Shin then took his paper sculpture home to complete it. The entire design was completed over the course of 1 month, with hours spent working on the sculpture before and after work.

The sculpture was inspired by Shin’s interest in Japanese mythological creatures and the artwork used to represent them. Shin referenced a statue of a Tengu, a Japanese folkloric being, erected in a mountain in Tokyo, Japan for his sculpture. He first begin with a drawing of the statue and then transferred it to paper. He hand-cut, shaped, scored (using rolling methods) and glued the paper pieces on top of each other.

This spectacular paper sculpture is currently on display at the Fisher Gallery at the Farmington Valley Arts Center in Avon, CT, as part of a larger paper arts show. Those in the Connecticut area are able to see it on display, along with works by other talented Paper Engineers, now through August 31st.

To see more of Shin’s spectacular work, follow him on Instagram at:

shinwaka89

papershin

How to Drive Increased Marketing Results with Video in Print Advertising

You’ve heard it from us before: Video in Print delivers a powerful multi-sensory experience. Because Video in Print Advertising combines the added context and tactile engagement of print with the compelling motion and sound of video, it’s no wonder more and more marketers are using it to sell products and build trust with their customer base.

After all, as Seth Godin once said, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but the stories you tell.” So, why not make sure you’re telling the right one?

Consider these stats:

The top three most effective types of video content are: customer testimonials (51%); tutorial videos (50%) and demonstration videos (49%).Curata
Consider this a cheat sheet. Though video storytelling can be done in many ways, it’s important to be creative and allow your community of viewers, clients and potential customers to be a part of your brand’s story. Instead of giving them what you think they want, create video content that you know they will enjoy while still remaining true to your company and its values.

Companies who have integrated video into their marketing efforts enjoy 41% more web traffic from search than non-video users.SmallBizTrends
It’s not enough to create a video and post it to the web or include it in a Video in Print brochure. You have to nurture it. In marketing, where it’s historically difficult to track the success of campaigns, why not lead your audience to a specific landing page or encourage a clear call-to-action? Prioritize metadata, make sure to include appropriate tags and create enticing titles, too. Now, that’s a recipe for success.

Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it via text.Wirebuzz
We all know two things are generally better than one. But how about three? With Video in Print brochures, you’re engaging people’s sense of sight as well as their sense of touch and sound, giving them multiple touch-points and ways to engage with your brand.

90% of decision-makers say that product videos are helpful when deciding to purchase a product.Hubspot
Aside from reading reviews from other users on a specific company or product you’re looking to buy, people typically search for a related video. As consumers, people are interested in how a product works, how it looks or how it will make their lives easier.

5% of viewers will stop watching a video after 1 minute and 60% will stop watching after 2.Video Guru
The golden rule in video marketing: short and simple seals the deal (just don’t forget the Call to Action).

Clearly, using video has become a staple in marketing tactics. And, when it’s paired with a high-impact printed direct mail piece, it has double the impact. But, wait, what’s that? You aren’t implementing video yet? You want to expand the reach of your current video marketing efforts? Click here to get in touch.

In the meantime, take a look at our Video in Print offering on Structural Graphics and download our online ordering division, Red Paper Plane’s full Video in Print Catalog. With Video and Print combined, the possibilities are endless!

3 Simple Ways to Ensure Your Direct Mail Doesn’t Get Tossed

It’s a common scenario: after months of strategizing and laboring over copy or designs, your direct mail piece is ready to be shipped. But when you drop it off at the post office, it can feel like you’re throwing all that hard work into a black hole; from there you have no control over how recipients respond to it, if they respond.

Know the feeling?

Well, it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead of worrying whether your promo code will reach the right people or if the intended recipients will even open your mail piece, use these few simple tricks to make sure your marketing reaches the right people at the right time:

  1. Clean Up Your Mailing List. It doesn’t matter how great your copy is if you’re sending mail to the wrong people or to the wrong address (this goes for email distribution, too). If you’re using an incorrect or outdated mailing list, your mail has limited hope of landing in the mailbox you intended for it to. Instead, start with an accurate, updated distribution list. Perhaps that means scrubbing your current mailing list for duplicates, deleting any addresses that have been marked “return to sender” or removing anyone who hasn’t interacted with your communications in awhile. Whatever you do, ensure that you’re getting your contact information from a reliable source.
    Making sure your list is clean and correct not only guarantees that your mail will be delivered to the people you want it to go to, but it also eliminates the need to overspend on postage, printing, packaging and more.
  2. Pick Your Moment. Now that you’ve updated and scrubbed your mailing list, you have to choose the appropriate time to send your direct mail piece. Does it include a promotion that’s good for a limited time? Is there an urgency or a seasonality to what you’re trying to sell? This blog post goes into more detail on the best times of year to send various marketing pieces and the strategy behind doing so. The idea here is the make sure you’re targeting the right people with your marketing and provide value to them with your mail. 
  3. Capture Their Attention. When it comes to marketing, this is more easily said than done. Once your mail makes it in the hands of your target audience, the next crucial step is to make sure they’ll open it and see what you’re trying to communicate. Dimensional print is a great option for this. The pieces ship flat, but spring to life once they’re opened. A few of our favorite designs are the Flapper®, which constantly unfolds into itself, the Extendo®, which reveals hidden panels that triples the size of your marketing message, our SleekPeeks® Virtual Reality Viewers that showcase immersive experiences for your target audience, and the classic Pop Up Cube that automatically and unexpectedly pops into fully dimensional shape once removed from its envelope. 

Structural Graphics & Sister Company, The Lift Factor, Take Home Top GDUSA Awards

Who designed the most innovative packaging of 2018? Graphic Design USA, the leading B2B resource for graphic design professionals, answered that question this month with the announcement of the winners of the 2019 GDUSA American Package Design Awards.

More than 1,000 marketers, designers and printers were challenged as never before to promote their brand in a way that would forge an emotional link with their customers. Out of those entrants, Structural Graphics took home two accolades: winner in the Luxury Packaging Category for Creata Kellogg’s Jurassic World Promotional Video Box and winner in the Food and Beverage Category for the GSD&M Popeyes Emotional Support Chicken Box.

Structural Graphics’ insurance marketing sister company, The Lift Factor, is also a winner in the Luxury Packaging Category for the Brighthouse Planter Mailer.

How Does Print Marketing Affect the Brain?

Did you know that our brains process physical and digital media very differently?

According to this study commissioned by the USPS in 2015, physical content seems to leave a longer lasting impression than digital ones. While the average consumer processes digital ad content faster, we spend more time with physical ads, remembering them longer and showing stronger emotional responses to them.

“Physical ads, though slower to get one’s attention at first exposure, leave a longer lasting impact for easy recall when making a purchase decision. Most importantly, physical ads triggered activity in the area of the brain (ventral striatum) that is responsible for value and desirability for featured products, which can signal a greater intent to purchase.”

Then there’s the notion of tactile content for the development of psychological ownership, a state of mind that leads people to value objects they physically handle more highly than those they haven’t touched. Physically holding and manipulating a piece of print content has some of the same positive psychological effects as experiential and in-person marketing initiatives.

For marketers, these findings have practical implications.

“From a marketer’s perspective, it’s essential to always view your position to the customer as extending beyond immediate transactional value and establish a complex set of relationship-based connections that will drive future growth.” – Nicola Brown, Skyword.com

This information can help companies of all sizes and across all industries optimize their advertising dollars, especially small businesses which are often faced with limited marketing budgets. For those consumers who are short on time, the digital format captures attention longer. However, if the goal is to have a longer lasting impact and easy recollection, print is the way to go. It also seems to increase our sense of trust and level of understanding and enjoyment.

Independent research company Toluna found that US consumers of all ages believe print content is more trustworthy than digital, with 59% of survey responders not trusting advertisements they view online. 71% of people surveyed stated they “don’t pay attention to advertisements online”, while 63% read the direct mail sent to their homes at least once a week. Direct mail is certainly seeing a resurgence in Marketing, and consumers have shown that it is here to stay.

Think Outside the (In)Box: 5 Print Trends to Take Advantage Of

Where did January go?

As we continue to execute our 2019 marketing promotions and campaigns, there is no better time to revisit (and rethink!) your business’ print communications. Is your collateral giving people what they want? Does your team have clear priorities spelled out from the beginning?

If you answered “no” to either of these questions, keep reading for some tips on how you can ensure your brand communications aren’t missing any opportunities for business.

  1. Plan, plan plan. Is your warehouse overflowing with inventory? Or maybe you’re nervous to try dimensional print because of the barriers to entry? It helps to have a clear plan. By starting with the end in mind, you’ll be able to print only what your team needs, thus reducing inventory, waste and long-term costs.
  2. Get physical. Provide your customers with an immersive and interactive experience when they open your direct mail piece, invitation or campus flyer. More and more, the printing industry is getting increasingly creative with everything from packaging techniques to Virtual Reality. Cut through the noise of overflowing inboxes and standard postcard mailers to not only capture your customers’ attention, but their hearts, too. 
  3. Don’t ignore the double dippers. These are the folks who receive both paper and digital communications. Statistically, many of these consumers are younger and, though they’re the most likely to go paperless eventually, are still open to the idea of receiving hard copies and snail mail. Take advantage of this market.
  4. Convenience is key. According to a poll by Keypoint Intelligence-Info Trends, customers said the best way for marketers to improve their print communications is to make them easier to understand. Instead of worrying about providing customers with every detail about your business, consider streamlining your marketing and focusing on one single “story” per piece. Not only does this cut out unnecessary detail, but it also makes your marketing easier to digest. Oh, and please, please remember to include a clear call to action.
  5. Prioritize, then execute. Perhaps a complete overhaul of your marketing strategy is in order, or maybe it just needs a fresh pair of eyes. Whatever the case, re-positioning your brand strategy allows businesses to start from scratch and execute on your priorities. How do you want customers to feel when they see your marketing communications? What action should they take after receiving it? These are all great questions to ask yourself and your team (if you’re not doing so already). They’ll encourage you to set clear goals for the year and inspire more detailed, thoughtful game plans to achieve them.

Popeyes is Offering Emotional Support (Chicken) this Holiday Season

A common topic of discussion in the news lately has surrounded the idea of allowing animals on airplanes to provide emotional support for travelers during the holiday season, as well as the restrictions for the types of animals that should be allowed. When GSD&M, Austin, TX had a buzz-worthy idea and design for a campaign for their client, Popeyes, to get holiday travelers talking (or should we say “squawking”) they contacted Blanks Printing, & Digital Solutions and the design and assembly teams at Structural Graphics to help bring this project to life!

The solution? “Emotional Support [Fried] Chicken”. For a limited time, those travelling in Terminal C of the Philadelphia Airport during the 2018 holiday season can now pick up the box which contains a 3-piece Chicken Tender combo meal from Popeyes.  Why the Philadelphia airport? Because it was named one of the most stressful airports in the United States.

“We know holiday travel can be frustrating, and there’s no better way to ease stress than with a box of delicious Popeyes fried chicken and a good laugh. We appreciate how comforting emotional support animals are and wanted to create our own version,” stated Popeyes CMO, Hope Diaz via news release.

The best part is, Popeyes is guaranteeing that their Emotional Support Chicken is “permitted to fly without any restrictions”, helping ease some of the worries for those crazed travelers this holiday season.

Blanks Printing & Digital Solutions, Dallas, TX printed this project on the new HP 12000 Digital press. Structural Graphics proudly engineered the design for function, created several rounds of full color test prototypes, and then hand assembled for the launch in the Philadelphia airport on Tuesday, December 18th.

What it Means to Say I’m A Creative: Isabel Uria

This is the second installment in our “What it Means to Say I’m a Creative” series, meant to focus on the inspiration and drive behind each one of our paper engineers. To read Part 1 of the series, click here.

  1. How did you know you wanted to create (in a professional sense)?
    I think at an unconscious level I always knew I was going to work in the arts. I played piano for five years, and was involved in the school choir, theater, musicals and extracurricular art classes since middle school. Back then, I loved colors and painting, primarily.However, my journey with paper probably goes back to when I was 6 or 7 years old. My older brother had been given origami books for Christmas. I saw how he would make all these little creatures out of paper and neatly display them on his shelf. As any little sister, I idolized my brother. I wanted to be just like him! But he wouldn’t lend me his origami books!So one day, when he wasn’t looking or wasn’t around, I snuck into his room, took the books and started to try to follow the instructions on how to make all these little creatures through increasingly difficult pleats and folds. I succeeded on the beginner’s book but I failed miserably on all the more advanced ones. It took a while before I would understand and successfully accomplish complex paper folding like that. But if I have to look back at where I began with paper, I think that might have been my first experience with this amazing material.
  2. What advice would you give to others who want to work in a creative industry/ position? 
    Work Hard. Work smart. Be true to your passions.

    Be consistent.

    Be persistent (without being stubborn).

    Be confident, but not cocky.

    Dream big, but also keep your feet grounded in reality (or at least keep a toe or two on the ground).

    Stay confident, even when you think you’re wavering at every turn. (We often think we’re not doing well enough, but sometimes that’s a good thing; it keeps us humble.)

    Go forth doing your thing (whatever that may be) with constancy and fortitude!

    I guess much of this “advice” can really apply to any profession. At the end of the day, whatever you do, practice your craft passionately. Wouldn’t that make for a happier you?

  3. What does creativity mean to you?
    Being creative is inside all of us. Creativity is looking at a world of possibilities and acknowledging all the ways a problem can be brought to light and all the ways it could be solved. Creativity opens your mind. It is a path to visualize the past, the present and the future. Creativity is the opposite of war. It is the future. Evolution has happened because human beings have been curious to know and understand how things work and take that understanding to CREATE new developments and innovative things that serve our needs and help us. Creativity makes the world go around!
  4. How do you feel when you tell others you’re a paper engineer?
    It’s always fun to explain what I do. Unless you’re “in” the industry or closely linked to it, people don’t automatically know what a “paper engineer” is.First of all, we have not necessarily studied engineering in school, yet we work with paper as our material of choice in the same way an engineer does. We use the material —cut, fold, and paste it—to create an entirely new construct. The thing about paper engineers is that we can toggle that blurry line between being an artist and being a designer. We can be both! And sometimes, some of us are.Personally, I feel that’s awesome! I also feel very fortunate to be one of the people who makes a living in this profession. There are only so many people that do, and I think we all know each other! Or at least we know of each other.
  5. What does it mean to say that you’re a “creative”?
    There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with being a designer because you’re the one that has to visualize the results, and make sure it works for the purpose that it is needed. As a creative I have to come up with a compelling, grand, aesthetically pleasing solution to the problem at hand. I have to design an eloquent way to express a message in 3D paper shapes and forms. I have to make things unique and innovative. Sometimes that comes easy, but sometimes it doesn’t. And criticism will always be there. Those are the struggles you deal with on a regular basis as a designer, as an artist and as a creative.

To learn more about Isabel, please click here.