Last summer, my friend and fellow AIGA Upstate New York board member Jennifer introduced me to a cool project. Jennifer's company Aurora Design frequently collaborates with Mohawk, a highly-respected fine paper company. I had recently given a Coffee With Creatives talk about the psychology of color, and based on how my talk had meshed science and design, Jennifer thought I might be interested in working on Mohawk's new "envelopes project."
She filled me in on the details. The Aurora/Mohawk team had begun planning an educational and promotional envelopes guide to follow in the footsteps of Mohawk's popular A Maker's Field Guide to Texture and Color, a book that highlights the importance of design choices in print materials. They asked me to pop in to get the research tidbits and psychology facts just right.
The team had generated great ideas about how to talk about envelopes in a new and interesting way. I added to these ideas and rounded it off with citations from psychology research journals about attention, memory, and mail correspondence behavior.
A Maker's Field Guide to Envelopes was finally released this month. The book uses descriptions, illustrations by Curtis Canham, and embedded examples to describe how an envelope's texture, color, style, and size can amplify communication by setting an expectation and tone for what is enclosed.
Although this was a smaller project for me, it was a unique one. I spent a lot of time thinking deeply about how humans interact with envelopes, which was definitely something new and different. My favorite part was using my academic brain in a creative way! Most of my projects fall largely under one skill set or the other, but this project hit that science + design intersection perfectly.