A new project, a new challenge. For packaging designers, there has to be an optimal fit between creativity and technical possibilities in order to cast a brand in the best possible light.
Hence the definition of the concept is key. This must be followed by the coordination of the idea, the visual motif, the material and the finishes to communicate a consistent message. So how can a designer best approach a new project to ensure its successful implementation? Martin Appoldt, CEO of the advertising agency g.a.s., explains his method, taking as an example the creation of the new Swatch Book for Sappi’s premium SBS paperboard Algro Design.
Human beings are multisensory creatures. Packaging designers must select packaging materials with an eye to their capacity to intensively appeal to all the senses. The material and finishes used must complement the image and convey a coherent corporate claim. As Martin Appoldt puts it: “An interdependence arises between material, motif and finishing. All of the elements have to harmonize as a unified whole.”
The material must fit the image – and vice versa
Normally, Appoldt first considers the motif before seeking a suitable material. Not so with the Swatch Book for Sappi’s SBS paperboard Algro Design: in this case, the material was given. With a unique combination of flawless, bright-white finish, consistent shade, a remarkably silky feel, and superior UV light resistance, our high-quality solid bleached boards from the Algro Design product family deliver outstanding optical results as well as the highest precision in printing, processing, and finishing. What was essential here was to find visual motifs that underscored the paperboard’s premium quality and diverse finishing possibilities.
Appoldt and his colleagues found the concept they were looking for in the natural world – in radiolarians, microcosmic sea creatures which in bionics serve as models for architecture, engineering and art. “The forms of their skeletons embody perfection in many ways: maximum stability, low weight, high flexibility and the best protection for what they carry – which makes them the perfectly fitting metaphor for Sappi’s high-quality paperboard,” says Appoldt, who accompanied the design and production process right from the start. “But not only that. Isn’t packaging generally a kind of optimized housing for a product, just like radiolarians’ endoskeletons? That was our inspiration, and thus the first step toward the Algro Design Swatch Book.”
Clarifying differences in printing and embossing
One special feature of the new Swatch Book is that the three different papers in the Algro Design product family are placed next to one another for direct comparison, with one third of the space devoted to each image. Because the front side of the three paper qualities is identical, it was decided that the differences in printing and finishing would be shown on the back side. In this way, the various characteristics of the paperboard types and their respective possibilities for customized design are illustrated. The Algro Design paperboard is uncoated on the back side. The single-coated Algro Design Card has a smoother and more even surface. And the double-coated Algro Design Duo is the version with the most homogeneous surface. Their effects are completely different, facilitating a diversity of corporate claims.
“Printing one third of the respective motif on each the different papers was a great challenge for the printers and for further processing,” Appoldt elaborates. This is because the different back sides of the papers influence the print finishing differently. “For example, a considerable difference can be seen with cold foil,” says Appoldt. “The metallic effects are more vibrant with the coated varieties Algro Design Card and Algro Design Duo.” In contrast to this, high-gloss spot coatings are especially visible on the rougher surface of Algro Design. The Swatch Book seeks to illustrate these differences. It is a one-of-a-kind tool to help designers and users find the suitable material for their new project.