Designer Profiles

August 30, 2019 •
Unwrapping Design: an in-depth look at The Gift Wrap Company’s process that makes it all happen, from concept to creation.

{Sponsored} For more than 115 years, The Gift Wrap Company has been manufacturing comprehensive collections of giftwrap that epitomize style and trend in all-occasion wraps, from elegant wedding designs to bright and colorful children’s and baby-themed motifs.

While some of the processes have changed over the last century, the concept of utilizing a diversified team of designers to provide fresh, trendy designs has largely remained the same.

It all starts with a team brainstorming session, where the latest in trends and colors are discussed and ideas are brought to the table, according to Nancy Dickson, creative director for The Gift Wrap Company.

“When (brainstorming ideas), we’ll take a look at what the trends are coming forward and what we need to do to address those new trends and bring them to market,” Dickson said. “Additionally, we’ll also get feedback from our sales team on what is working and what is missing as well.”

From there, Dickson said, she lets her team of designers individually get to work on their own interpretations, each bringing their ideas and colors to life in the project.

“I kind of let them poke at (the concept) on their own for a while,” Dickson added. “You know, let everybody kind of just go away from it, sit back and come up with their own ideas.”

Then, it’s up to the designers — like design manager Sarah Hartford, who has been on the product design team at The Gift Wrap Company for almost 18 years — and their personal processes.

“Any project that I work on, I try to find that one little detail that is my favorite part — it might be the expressions on a character, or the inside printing of a bag, or the stock that the product is printed on,” Hartford said. “When I am designing, I like to think of the person I am designing it for.”

Designer Kari Smiraglia, who has been with The Gift Wrap Company since 2014, added that she focuses on the

colors and looks for inspiration in pictures before designing her own interpretations.

“For me personally, I enjoy putting together color palettes and pulling several pictures that convey the trend before I even start to design,” Smiraglia said. “It really helps to guide my thinking and gives me a sense
of direction.”

After the team comes back with an initial round of designs, the process then becomes a collaborative effort, where the team will narrow the concept down, pulling elements and themes they like from multiple designs — ultimately creating a finalized idea of what the concept will be.

The collaborative approach is what makes this team special, according to Dickson. After each designer has developed a concept, the group will study each design together, choosing elements that they feel work together to create a cohesive design.

One of the biggest challenges throughout the collaborative process for The Gift Wrap Company, however, is not only narrowing down the designs, but finding the perfect balance of trend and marketability.

But from the design team’s perspective, the collaborative meetings are one of the most integral pieces of the process.

“Design critiques and reviews can take a good design to great,” said

Julie Madden, a design manager who’s been a part of the team for over 12 years. “I value the time we spend brainstorming and sharing opinions and direction in order to push a design toward success rather than relying on a singular perspective.”

“I believe those meetings to be the most integral part of the entire process,” Hartford added. “It allows us to see where the designs are going and what needs to be modified in order to tell the whole story.”

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© 2019 The Gift Wrap Company

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