December 1, 2006

Christmas Wrapping

No, not the Waitresses’ song of the same name. Every year AIGA New York asks a few designers to create holiday wrapping paper. Afterwards, they throw a big holiday bash and sell the wrapping paper. Proceeds from the event benefit the AIGA NY Mentoring Program and First Book, an organization dedicated to giving children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. As you can probably imagine, I jumped at the chance to participate when they came knocking.

Thumbnail of my holiday wrapping paper for AIGA NY

After blazing through about six alternate ideas (and even mocking a few of those up), I eventually landed on the concept of a multi-purpose wrapping paper comprised entirely of type. I tried to stay away from typical holiday conventions for color and symbolism, and instead decided to portray a bit of what the holidays mean to me. I come from a large Italian family, and we often meet around, or because of, food. The holidays bring out some of the best and rarely seen recipes of the year, so what better way to bring that to others than to share some recipes. Your gift receiver can now ditch the crummy gift you got them, and instead use the wrapping paper to create some festive treats! Hot mulled wine, pumpkin bread, and more! I even slipped in a personal Italian favorite, pizzelles. Mmmm. Check out the final wrapping paper here.

It was great to get back to some print design for a little bit (as it always is), but I really have to admit, this was rough. The project hit just as many other projects were in full swing, and I had to use every last day before getting this out to the printer. I also had a blast finally using the new Garamond Premier Pro I grabbed from Adobe as a gift for registering Creative Suite 2. It’s a gorgeous Open Type face by Robert Slimbach that contains numerous optical weights, ligatures, fractions, and so much more. It truly is a thing to behold. This combined with some good old Trade Gothic make for a simple and elegant solution. And it’s not coincidental that it also hints a little at a newspaper feel, that being another classic DIY wrap. Thanks very much to my new (and old) friends at AIGA NY for the opportunity!

If you are in or around New York this Sunday, the party is free to attend, is at Pentagram (!), and promises to attract some design luminaries we web people rarely see. Among those luminaries are 22 “virtuoso couples” whose creative collaborations will be silently auctioned off. You can join me in invading their personal space and making awkward introductions. If you do happen to drop by, please come and say hello!

On an unrelated note, I will be away the tail-end of next week as we make a quick trip back to Ireland. The Comhaltas site we are working on is designed and approaching completion, and we elected to head back over for some training. Realistically, only a few of us need to go, but the airfares were low enough that we all decided to go… including significant others. While there, we will be bopping around Dublin again, and taking in the Comhaltas Christmas party. There will surely be many pictures, as we tend to document everything like crazed paparazzi. Some friends will be taking care of the Daily Photos while I’m away.

Commentary (26):

1. Khoi Vinh says… dec 1, 2006 | 10:41 am

This is the best wrapping paper ever. I’m serious, I think it’s a awesome. I’m so glad you were able to knock this out for the New York chapter in spite of everything else on your plate. I intend to buy as much as I can afford on Sunday!

2. Nick Whitmoyer says… dec 1, 2006 | 10:42 am

Great concept Jason! I had heard briefly about the NY party and your wrapping paper design on Subtraction. I have to say that I’m curious about what the other explorations looked like. I wish if I could make it to the party, have a great time!

3. Justin Kilcher says… dec 1, 2006 | 10:50 am

Great job on the wrapping paper! That Garamond Premier Pro is gorgeous.

4. Jeff Croft says… dec 1, 2006 | 10:53 am

Love that wrapping paper, Jason. Very well done!

5. Ryan Romero says… dec 1, 2006 | 11:06 am

I’ll be there Sunday to buy this wrapping paper so I could impress my girlfriend this christmas by styling her presents. She loves to cook and save wrapping paper, so it’ll be nice to see how many brownie points I get for this. Great work!

6. Alex Giron says… dec 1, 2006 | 11:13 am

Totally awesome.

7. sj says… dec 1, 2006 | 11:15 am

Will it be possible to buy from AIGA after the party? I’m sure there are going to be a ton of people interested in getting their hands on these.…

Very nicely done.

8. Joel says… dec 1, 2006 | 11:15 am

Looks great! But everyone knows the only real recipe for Eggnog is “Go to store; buy eggnog.”

9. Jason Santa Maria says… dec 1, 2006 | 11:16 am

sj: I’m not sure. I don’t know how large the print run was, but I doubt they will be actively selling it online or anything.

Joel: Shhhh! :D

10. Blake says… dec 1, 2006 | 11:21 am

Dude, nice wrapping there. Something about black and white typography goodness makes my heart warm. Hell, I’d give the wrapping as a gift!!! Rock on.

11. Dale Cruse says… dec 1, 2006 | 11:23 am

The brilliant part of this concept is that it can be repurposed. Some different recipes and you have wrapping for an Easter gift. Or Halloween. Or Thanksgiving. Put favorite recipes together for a birthday gift. Or family recipes for a family reunion.

IMO, this design is beautiful on the surface, but even more brilliant when you examine the concept.

Well done!

12. Jason Beaird says… dec 1, 2006 | 12:01 pm

When I was a kid I used to wrap presents in newspaper - ok, well usually it was the comics section. Even though you used recipes, it has that nice well-formatted periodical feel. Looks great!

13. Michael says… dec 1, 2006 | 12:33 pm

Love the concept and the execution. Type is gorgeous.

14. Ian says… dec 1, 2006 | 5:33 pm

Please, Dude, Paparazzi is not the preferred nomenclature; Japanese Tourist, please.

15. Liz Danzico says… dec 1, 2006 | 8:38 pm

Absolutely lovely. But I can’t even bear the thought of someone ripping it to get to a present!

16. Stephen says… dec 4, 2006 | 8:21 am

Seeing you’re called Santa and sport a beard, couldn’t I get some for free, delivered via my chimney? I’ve been ever so good this year!

17. Peter Santa Maria says… dec 4, 2006 | 10:21 am


18. Ms. Jen says… dec 4, 2006 | 8:38 pm

Have a blast in Dublin!

19. Drew says… dec 5, 2006 | 9:02 am

Even though it sounds like this won’t happen, I’d love to see this available for purchase online; I’d definitely buy some. Maybe I should make this request on Khoi’s site… Regardless, gorgeous work.

20. Jason Santa Maria says… dec 5, 2006 | 9:51 am

They were selling a bunch on Sunday, but they may still have some left. I don’t think they will be publicly selling them online, but it’s worth a shot to email them and ask if they have any left.

21. Kurt Cruse says… dec 5, 2006 | 4:25 pm

I just stumbled upon your site today after it was mentioned in some tutorials on, it’s quite impressive.

I was wondering if the wrapping paper will be availble for purchase online somewhere if you are unable to attend the event?

22. Jared says… dec 6, 2006 | 10:18 am

The wrapping is too nice to rip open. Perhaps I could away with handing out empty boxes this year!

23. gitarrenlehrer says… dec 13, 2006 | 1:34 pm

very awesome, I like that wrapping paper. Nice Job.

24. Brian Sweeting says… dec 15, 2006 | 1:13 pm

How did you get Garamond Premier Pro when you registered CS2? I just registered from the Photoshop Help menu, and I got jack.

25. Jason Santa Maria says… dec 15, 2006 | 1:17 pm

Brian Sweeting: To be honest, I don’t entirely remember. I know I was sent to the Adobe site to register and “claim my free gift” (of which Garamond PP was by far the best).

26. fatboy says… dec 31, 2006 | 6:06 am

Hmm… really very well done, Jason!