Design samples are like printed t-shirts. You end up with too many, they look messy, you can’t decide which ones to throw away, and you find surprises when you look through them. As you age, design samples become increasingly problematic. Should I keep that one-color envelope sample? Maybe someone will need it for a retrospective when I’m 80. Pentagram and AIGA have walk-in safes for their archives. We don’t.
Years ago, we decided to buy good archival boxes for the samples. The original concept was that they would all match and look well ordered. This idea, of course, went tragically off the rails. The boxes multiplied in every shape and size possible. The neat labels didn’t correspond to the contents. It looked pretty sloppy. So I decided it was time to start fresh.
At first, we planned on buying a new set of archival boxes that all matched. Do you have any idea how expensive 100 of those cost? Too much. And I don’t think we need the whole archival quality. The samples aren’t the original Declaration of Independence. We found a box made by Uline that is a deep “pizza” box. They were only $1.00 or so each. That works for my budget. Now all samples have been pared down. The one-color envelopes have been discarded. New labels arrange items alphabetically by client, so we can add items as needed. Now, I need to tackle the flat files. Why all those press sheets of jobs printed 15 years ago?