Inside the Studio: Inwork

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Tom Tullio gives us the thumbs up! Photo: Plastic Robot

Inwork is a packaging and prototyping consultancy located in the heart of NYC’s NOHO neighborhood, with their innovation center (Inwork North) located at the Historic Garnerville Art & Industrial Center in the Hudson Valley. 

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“The majority of our work comes from CPG companies and design agencies looking to improve the outcome of designs currently in production, or they’re hoping to push the limits of a new design using innovative print techniques and effects.” Says Leigh Munro, Inwork’s Director of Creative Initiatives.

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Inwork’s Innovation Center, Inwork North.Inwork North, lobby.Lonnie Brawer at Inwork North.Inwork North, Cast & Cure and silkscreen stations.On Broadway, in front of Inwork’s NOHO NYC location. Photo: Plastic RobotLucie's world. Inwork NYC, lobby entrance. Photo: Plastic Robot

So to clarify, are you designers, separators, a printer or a comp house?

 "The answer is all and none of the above. We live within the design and print production process as alchemists—we turn the traditional “comp house” model on its ear.

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Photo: Plastic Robot

We have designers, separators, and printers on-site, executing jobs based on actual production scenarios. We test and apply effects to designs with an integrated mindset, all with the common goal of increasing shelf impact in the marketplace and saving our clients money by troubleshooting, then optimizing artwork and outcomes before they ever hit a production press.

So we’re design thinkers, but we don’t create design, we improve it’s outcome. We have a separations department for the purpose of employing a level of execution on-par with industry standards, but we do not create mechanicals or line extensions the way a central separator like Schawk or SGS would.

We do print on-site, but we do not compete with production printers. Much of our work is analog, generated by hand, and although we do employ digital printing or small press runs when appropriate, none of what we do is executed at mass scale.”

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Token, Inwork mascot and security system all-in-one. Photo: Plastic Robot

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Lucie Teichmann, Gordon Plotkin, and Brett Izsak in conference. Photo: Plastic Robot Photo: Plastic Robot CPG Pinatas. A gift to the Inwork studio from a friend.Photo: Plastic RobotStaging shelves. Photo: Plastic Robot These are a few of Brett’s favorite things…Absolutely indispensable. Photo: Plastic Robot PJ Szmykowiack most definitely rocks! Photo: Plastic Robot Goes great with sarcasm.Hugo Arroyo working out dielines on flute. Photo: Plastic RobotCustom match ink colors. Photo: Plastic RobotDirect image print stations. Photo: Plastic Robot

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A wall of foil options. Photo: Plastic RobotThis is the only workplace I know of where you’ll find booze and lube on someone’s desk, and no one thinks anything of it.

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Transforming light and ink into images. Photo: Plastic Robot

Can you give an example of an Inwork “holy grail” project?

“Our most satisfying and challenging jobs are those requiring consistent shelf set outcomes when components are produced using disparate print methods, at different facilities.

Bringing brand consistency to shelf under those production conditions isn’t something we take casually. We go deep, partnering with our client’s supply chain to gain insight. We work through various scenarios and get buy-in from all stakeholders before undertaking a final approach, and even then...

Hey, sh*t happens! When we run into a snag in the studio, it’s awesome to see our team’s wheels collectively turn to find a solution.

What’s especially cool is—being mixture of creative and technical folks—we often have multiple solutions to any given challenge, all generated from differing perspectives. Since most of us have worked together for at least 5 years, we’re able to organically anticipate and navigate each other’s thinking, then quickly arrive at the best approach.

Let’s just say there’s a whole lot of “long-term relationship” going on here, and you just can’t buy that kind of brain trust. Oy...I just said brain trust, I should be shot!

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Margo Vargas, Judy Cheung and Leigh Munro. Photo: Plastic Robot

Beyond that we all respect each other, not only as co-workers, but also as people. It’s a unique pleasure to walk away from your job at the end of the day singing Kumbaya. Ok, not literally—because who does that—but you know what I mean.”

Photography by: Christopher Stribley of Plastic Robot

In-DepthGina Angie