The Making of the Algro Design Swatch Book
What do bionics have to do with premium paperboard? For Martin Appoldt, Managing Director of Fürther Communication Agency g.a.s. Unternehmenskommunikation, a whole lot. For months the agency has been working on the concept, design and production of the swatch book for Sappi’s Algro Design solid bleached board portfolio. The result is a work of art that highlights the quality and finishing properties of this paperboard family in a unique way.
They are reminiscent both of precise technical components and delicate miniature beings – and that’s exactly what they are: the illustrations in the Swatch Book for the Algro Design, Algro Design Card and Algro Design Duo solid bleached boards are inspired by nature – more specifically by “radiolaria”, microcosmic marine life forms. In bionics, these are used as models for architecture, engineering and art. “The shapes of their outer casing embody perfection in many aspects: maximum stability, low weight, high flexibility and optimum protection for what’s inside. For Sappi, this is precisely the metaphor for its high quality cellulose paperboard grades”, says Martin Appoldt, who was involved in the design and production of the new swatch book from the start. “But it’s more than that: after all, packaging also provides the optimum casing for a product, just like the endoskeletons of the radiolaria are their optimum casing. That was our inspiration, and therefore the first step in creating the swatch book for Algro Design. ”
Design: finishing techniques in sight, right from the start
An important decision at the beginning was which finishing techniques to include in the selection of swatches. “The finishing techniques are essential for marketing high quality paperboard for the packaging industry, and as a result are a substantial element of the swatch book. This is why we took finishing techniques into consideration at the design stage. Ultimately, they also determine the progress of production”, Appoldt explains. A good decision-making tool was to favour finishing techniques that are currently in vogue and that demonstrate the excellent quality of the paperboard. “For example, we deliberately chose not to use flock and concentrated on embossed foil printing, varnish and cold foil, since the quality of the cartonboard plays a critical role in the successful application of these finishes”.
Special requirements for printing and embossing
One big challenge arose during the printing process: how to distribute the individual finishes on a sheet to achieve as few machine passes as possible. “In addition, each page of the swatch book has three different reverse sides: Algro Design has an uncoated reverse side, Algro Design Card has a single coated back, and Algro Design Duo a double-coated reverse side.
“As only the front side of the three cartonboard weights is identical, the decision was made to show the differences in printing and finishing on the reverse sides. They are depicted next to one another for direct comparison: one third is dedicated to each motif. A significant challenge for the printer and for further processing”, Appoldt adds. “Fortunately, we had excellent partners for the printing and embossing: Gräfe Druck and hinderer+mühlich. With such a complex production process, you need to be able to work very closely together and rely on each other”.
After the design and series were set, a digital test print with digital metal simulations was initially created, followed by the first “proper” print with test embossing. Only then did the print run go into production. The swatch book will be launched to the market for the first time at the end of March 2018. Appoldt is convinced it will be a success: “We wanted the designers and users in Purchasing and Production to have a tool at hand that made them say: ‘We need this paperboard, too!’ And I can say with certainty that we have achieved this”.
Want to find out more about the unique Algro Design Swatch Book? Reserve your copy directly from us.