Turn a New Leaf

August 20, 2009 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

New Leaf Paper

Recently featured on their blog, here’s what Fast Company had to say about New Leaf Paper:

Since the Office Depot launch in fall of 2007, and an additional launch at Whole Foods in summer 2008, New Leaf has gone head-to-head with mainstream brands. An extensive new line of New Leaf products launched nationwide in Target stores this month including social stationery, art paper, premium paper, back-to-school notebooks, journals, fashion notebooks, composition books and products like the Foundspace journals and Karma Cards–none of it employing the “green guilt” that the designers saw so often in competing categories sharing shelf space.

Launching the new line put the team from Willoughby Innovation Lab in front of some of their most discerning consumers: Students aged 12-18. Working closely with New Leaf brand manager Winette Winston, the designers employed ethnographic studies and focus groups and the findings suggested that this age group was, in fact, not comfortable wearing green on their sleeves. “They wished to quietly support a more environmentally responsible product but feared blasting that to the world on the cover of their notebooks,” says principal Ann Willoughby.

In designing the brand, the designers took a fashion approach: They eschewed “green” notebooks for normal-looking ones that happened to be eco-friendly, then added cool designs or different colors to stand out on the shelves. Taking the iconic black-and-white splotches of the traditional composition notebook, the designers reinterpreted it using a macro crop of a leaf’s veins. The leaf-pattern composition became a top seller at Office Depot.

But for all its sustainable features, the price point for the New Leaf comes in a bit higher than conventional papers–more fashion than commodity. While this presented a challenge for the designers to deliver higher quality work at a lower budget, they took the opportunity to examine their own productivity and manage their time more efficiently while working on the project. “More proof that you don’t have to sacrifice style and convenience to make responsible choices,” says Willoughby. “That’s our favorite part.”

Entry filed under: Member Stories.

‘Create Beauty. Respect the Planet.’ “Advertising the Earth”

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