[Pamela Williams] A bright red Olivetti Valentine with orange spools. The playful appeal of Rebecca Ward’s tape installations. The vibrant paintings of Bella Foster. A pop of color, beautiful type, and playful stripes. What do these have in common? Take a peek inside Things we Love — a clutch-sized keepsake of inspirations designed and published by kate spade new york.
The always-fresh fascinations of kate spade new york inspire weddings, interiors and photo shoots, as well as influence personal style. What we all want to know is who, and what, intrigues the creatives behind the curtain? Things we Love is a compact inspiration board, recast in the form of a small book. It is a curated collection of the things that charm, interest and inspire the creative team at kate spade new york.
I had the chance to connect with Deborah Lloyd, president and chief creative officer of kate spade new york, and Ed Miller, who spearheaded the project at Graytor Printing. Together, they have successfully translated this brand’s wit and playful sophistication into a tactile expression of this stylish brand, with winks and smiles throughout — such as an actual strip of fluorescent pink gaffer’s tape hand-applied to each and every copy.
Why did you decide to create this book?
Deborah Lloyd: This book is an offshoot of the website that we started a few years back as a place to collect our inspiration and share it with creative minds in the industry. People were always asking us where we get our inspiration, and we couldn’t think of a better way to show them. The book is just a little keepsake that we want to share with our friends and customers, and we wanted to have a tool to introduce our brand to people who don’t know us yet.
When you brainstormed this project you must have created a very long list of things that inspire you. What things didn’t make the book?
There are too many to count! It was such a difficult process to narrow down the things we love. A few of the things that didn’t make the final cut were crayon rings, David Hockney art, music, Ladurée macaroons, and the list goes on….
This book is just … well, it’s so “kate.” Over the years, you’ve worked with a number of designers. How do you keep the brand voice so clear, consistent and authentic?
This book is a perfect example of how we work — we always go back to the things we love as a foundation and continue to reinterpret and modernize them.
Deborah, what’s your favorite spread in the finished book?
Gold confetti and peonies! I can’t live without fresh flowers, and there can never be enough gold confetti for any occasion.
I’m tempted to side with Deborah, but I have to go with the “Cha-Cha” spread. It’s a fun page with a lot going on … saturated colors, dancing feet, fishnet stockings, gorgeous gold foil and an amazing crossover.
Tell us about printing the book. How did you approach the project? Any surprises?
Ed: I’m not making this up, but the first question I asked when I heard there was another “brand book” type of project in the works was, “Are we going with Mohawk Superfine?” And I got a great big YES as the answer. Once the paper was established, my recommendation was to print UV. Printing with UV inks on uncoated paper yields beautiful results.
Our approach to the project was to review all of the images, run a press form to profile Superfine for color management, and then print a press proof of select images. At this stage we decided to add an extra black plate to enhance the deep shadow areas of the images. This resulted in a marked increase in visual contrast. There were no surprises with this piece, and that’s all part of careful planning.
The tip-ons in the book are exemplary. I can’t believe you used fluorescent pink gaffer’s tape to represent Rebecca Ward’s tape installations. Were there any challenges during production?
Well, this is the first time we applied gaffer’s tape to a printed page, but that’s kate spade! The tape strips were applied by hand, which required a special touch to get them in position nicely, neatly and consistently.
I love the fortune cookie tip-ons. They bring incredible dimension to the book …
… and on this spread, the yellow stickies jump off the page, and they’re not tipped on. Thoughts?
Funny enough, I had put in an order to color correct the “sticky notes” to better match an actual sticky note. The correction had not been requested by the client and wasn’t approved, but Alison Stiller from kate spade (who was on press for the job) thought it looked fantastic, as did I. So we made the call to run with it. The secret is in the knowledge we’ve gained over the years on how to best prepare for printing on uncoated paper, and Mohawk Superfine prints unbelievably. The surface is perfect and predictable — essential elements for color consistency throughout a press run.
The gold foil stamping that crosses over the gutter … hello, this book is perfect bound, and the crossover is perfect. How’d you do that?
The crossovers are crazy, I love them! It’s not by chance that the crossovers are that perfect. A lot of planning and calculation was required to allow for folding and the “take-up” in the bind to all come together and meet and cross over just right.
OK, ’fess up. What is the perfect red lipstick?
Deborah: This season, kate spade new york finally answered that by creating a red lipstick in a vintage-inspired gold tube. The shade is called “the perfect red,” and it is available at our shops and online.
Deborah Lloyd joined kate spade new york after a six-year tenure at Banana Republic, where she had responsibility for driving design for all products, including accessories and fragrances. Prior to Banana Republic she spent six years at Burberry, working closely with Rose Marie Bravo.
Ed Miller still remembers the very first project Graytor Printing produced for this client, the kate spade new york Brand Book, which earned a Mohawk Show 7 Best of Show award. He says it’s the best piece he’s produced for kate spade, and the most memorable of his career.
Pamela Williams is the managing editor of Felt & Wire and co-founder of Williams and House. She has four kate spade handbags and now has her eye on a fifth. She also loves the observations of Blaise Pascal and is ready for a road trip anytime.
Top photo and all images shown from Things we Love: kate spade new york
Book photos: Graytor Printing