PaperSpecs Presents: The Cube Calendar 2022
If you could hold 2022 in the palm of your hand, what would it feel like? It might feel something like The Cube Calendar, which combines an unusual design with understated printing, perforations, and an unexpected binding, to create an interactive, ergonomic treat. And I haven’t even gotten to the innovative packaging yet!
Crafted with discerning designers in mind, the piece, created by Philip Stroomberg (https://stroomberg.design), avoids the flashy colors and finishing techniques we often associate with calendars in favor of subtle details that impress one by one as you notice them.
It starts right off the bat with the packaging. At first it appears to be your typical box featuring a telescoping lid that covers the entire depth of the base box.
Offset printed by Kartonnage Amsterdam (https://www.kartonnageamsterdam.nl/) in Black ink on White Sappi Algro Design are fragments of the phrase “The Cube Calendar,” which is only complete when you line up 4 boxes in a row next to each other. But that’s not the spectacular bit.
Then there’s the eye-catching Pink words “10th Edition” offset printed and then embossed on the top of the box, which really pop on this otherwise Black-and-White piece. Putting your thumb and forefinger on the Black printed half-circles on the side of the box reveals 2 large die-cut notches, allowing you to easily slide the lid up and off the base. Though all of this is snazzy, it’s not the spectacular bit, either.
Removing the lid, you’re met with a simple folded White card with the following wordplay in Black ink on the cover: “Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.” Inside the card, the designer relates a bit of history about the project.
Instinctively you pull the sides of the open box as you prepare to lift out the calendar – only to find all 4 sides falling open like an origami cross! A closer look at both parts of the box reveals that not a single drop of glue has been used to create the packaging – everything is constructed using clever folds and tucks. This, combined with the fact that no laminates were used in the making of the packaging, means it’s fully and easily recyclable.
Like its packaging, the cube-like calendar is full of tasteful, clever touches that are never showy.
Take the Chicago screws that hold the sheets of the calendar together. Not only do they create a natural frame around the printing at the center – this can be customized with a company’s logo mark for those looking for a unique promotional gift – but the binding is just loose enough to make the entire cube slightly bendy, like a rubber Rubik’s Cube.
The calendar consists of 6 rows of perforated tabs – 3 on the top, 3 on the bottom. Tearing off each day’s tab reveals the next, with each tab containing the month, date and day of the week. Interspersed between the days are other tabs containing quotes such as “Slow down, take time to smile.”
Not only is the typeface used, Unit Rounded, legible even when printed at this small size, but it also echoes the slightly rounded corners of the calendar tabs themselves.
As you tear off each day, the shape of the cube changes, giving you a visual reminder of the passage of time. When the first half is gone, simply flip it over and work on the second.
In keeping with this piece’s celebration of simplicity, everything from the packaging to the small folded card and the actual calendar are all printed on the same paper, Sappi Algro Design, which is a one-side coated (C1S) sheet.
The biggest lesson the designer learned: Something this complex doesn’t come together without close cooperation with one’s printer.
Sabine Lenz is the founder of PaperSpecs.com, the first online paper database and community specifically designed for paper specifiers.
Growing up in Germany, Sabine started her design career in Frankfurt, before moving to Australia and then the United States. She has worked on design projects ranging from corporate identities to major road shows and product launches. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, her list of clients included Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Deutsche Bank, IBM and KPMG.
Seeing designers struggle worldwide to stay current with new papers and paper trends inspired Sabine to create PaperSpecs, an independent and comprehensive Web-based paper database and weekly e-newsletter. She is also a speaker on paper issues and the paper industry. Some refer to her lovingly as the "paper queen" who combines her passion for this wonderful substrate called paper with a hands-on approach to sharing her knowledge.