Design Army: Making of a CLASSIC®

In a digital world, Neenah's paper remains in the fold.

Releasing today, Neenah—the world’s premier paper brand—is launching their biggest rebrand ever. Designed by and for designers, they enlisted Design Army to recreate their entire CLASSIC® paper line, from color to texture, trendsetting the future of packaging and print design, from high-tech to fashion to an exquisitely wrapped gift (even if it’s one for yourself.) Neenah introduces 8 new colors and 2 new textures into the CLASSIC® Papers lineup. Design Army takes us through what it takes to curate and develop the new colors and how to rebrand a classic. If there’s one thing we know at the ADC, it’s that ‘craft takes time’. It’s this years theme for the 96th ADC Annual Awards. P.S. #CreativeWeek tickets are now available. The redesign for Neenah—who’s maker and paper we’ve had the personal pleasure of knowing and showing in past ADC Paper Expo’s—is the perfect example of craft and time.

How’d they do it? Design Army looked at several color palettes and decided to choose colors that work the hardest: those that aren’t trendy and have the ability to withstand the test of time. Once the colors were decided, Pum Lefebure and her team started mixing paints in their office to create a vision for the project. They then traveled to the color lab in Atlanta to make sure the colors came out perfectly. All-in-all, the revamp took about 12 months, from R&D to finished product. Design Army left nothing to chance, meticulously studying every aspect of paper, seeking inspiration from the Renaissance, Paris runways and Beijing temples, spending months mixing paints and oils to ground-up invent a new palette of timeless hues, all before teaming with scientists to perfect the chemistry. Designer geek-out with us below, as Design Army gives a peek inside the art+science making of the paper (check out 1:30…the Imperial Red is insane!)

CLASSIC ® is not just a standard of excellence—it’s a way of thinking. For this rebrand project, Design Army created three books that feature Neenah CLASSIC® colors—CLASSIC® Linen, CLASSIC® Textures, and CLASSIC Crest®. The concept of classic is the foundation of every imagination, or every next creation.

From designing the paper to creating the campaign’s wildly inventive surrealist graphics shown in our gallery above—like life-sized color wheels and envelopes turned haute couture—Design Army and Neenah proves paper is anything but dead.

ADC Members and ADC Young Guns winners get featured here on the ADC Blog and across our social media channels. Send updates to Not yet an ADC Member? Join today!