[Allyson Van Houten] What is your Pantone chip organization system? It almost sounds like an oxymoron. Since when has there been any rhyme or reason to keeping all those precious color chips in order? You can only hope the envelope holding all your stray chips doesn’t accidentally open. Or maybe you’re a tape-them-to-your-desk kind of person. Either way, wouldn’t it be nice to have a neat and tidy way to pull them all together? Introducing Jesse Reed, designer/inventor, and his surprisingly revolutionary product, SLIP.
From unused color combination ideas to color ideas for your next branding project, SLIP will keep all of your torn-off chips in one place. These vinyl inserts accommodate 30 chips and fit neatly into your existing Pantone chip book, matching the size of your existing chip tear sheets.
They were even used for figuring out different colorways for the Mohawk rebranding, which you can read more about here.
We almost couldn’t believe Pantone hadn’t come up with this themselves, so we called up Jesse Reed to talk about the creation of this handy new product.
Jesse, for years many designers have pulled their hair out with aggravation over stray Pantone chips. What gave you the push to create this solution?
As part of my program at University of Cincinnati, I had to do several internships — six total. While moving between all those studios, I noticed that each place had a different — but sloppy — way of organizing their chips. Some were left in drawers, cups or any random place. While I was working at MoMA, I had a casual conversation with a co-worker about the problem. We couldn’t believe that something hadn’t been developed to keep stray chips organized. Shortly after that conversation, I sat down and got started.
Before this, you hadn’t worked on designing any physical products before. How did you go about it?
I have a lot of friends who are industrial designers, so I was definitely interested in creating an actual product. Creating SLIP was like any other editorial design exercise — rows and columns.
I started off with a sketch, then built the file for the sheet layout in Illustrator. I tried to fit as many pockets as there are in the Pantone tear sheets, but couldn’t get them all in because of the vinyl material. After figuring out the design, I started calling plastics manufacturers that made similar products. I formed a business around the product, got a lawyer and registered the trademark.
How did you get the funding to make the first SLIPs? Did you use Kickstarter?
The beginning of SLIP was self-funded. I couldn’t believe someone hadn’t already created anything like this, and I didn’t want to give anyone else the idea. The whole process took about 5 months; I was super-secretive the whole time! I didn’t tell anyone I was even working on SLIP until the day it launched.
As a young designer, SLIP is an impressive piece in your portfolio. Have you gotten any new work as a result?
Yes! It was a great piece to leave behind on my interview with Michael Bierut at Pentagram. I interviewed around the time Michael’s team was working on the new Mohawk logo, and I believe they used the SLIPs when they were working on different colorways for the brand.
Where can an eager designer get their hands on some SLIPs?
They are available on the SLIP website, Chipslip.com, in packs of 5 or 10.