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Case Study: Custom Die

June 10, 2013
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Posted in case studies


Henry Booth House is a Chicago NFP that helps underserved families thrive through medical, social, and educational programs. Each year, they hold a gala to raise money to fund these projects. They approached us wanting something fun, interesting, and with a budget that needed to be used wisely. We were given “Lego blocks” as the general theme. After a brainstorming session, we settled on the concept of Legos as building blocks, touching on the new construction underway at HBH.


HBH-sketchesOur process begins with an in-depth brainstorming session full of crazy ideas, drawings, word-associations. We presented a solution where we made a flat card look like a stack of toy blocks, with a die-cut card that pulls out to reveal the invitation information.

The difficult part of this task is to make the custom die lines to deliver to the vendor who creates printing dies. In order to be cost effective, we wanted one custom die that could work for both the invitiation and reply card. That took quite a bit of creative thinking and engineering on our part. To solve this complicated problem, we started on paper, mapping out the sizes needed to fit in each envelope, and work within the various spaces to create the exact measurements for the die.

die sketch

After it makes sense on paper, we take it to the computer. We create a vector outline of the die, which the die-maker can use to produce the actual cutting tool from steel, which can then be used on a press to cut out the paper.

The final project shows a custom-cut that looks like 3D Lego pegs at the top, with an interactive pull-out and pocket style assembly. The same die is used to create the reply card, completing the suite of materials for Henry Booth House.



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