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A Paradise of Decorative Processes

by Lara Copeland, assistant editor

PostPress

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It's All Greek to Me

Constructing the name for a polygon with 20 to 99 sides requires the use of Greek prefixes and words. First, the appropriate prefix for the tens digit is used. This is followed by the Greek word for “and,” which is “kai.” Next, the prefix for the unit’s digit is added before tacking on the suffix “gon” – derived from the Greek word “gonu” meaning “knee” – which can be transferred to “angle.” For example, the formula for a 44-sided polygon is tetraconta+kai+tetra+gon.

Situated in the Western Caribbean Sea, the picturesque Cayman Islands offer sandy beaches, colorful wildlife and deep-sea adventures. Wanting to inspire a positive longing for a sunny vacation, the structural design team at Bertelsmann Printing Group (BPG), located in New York, New York, decided to showcase the range of decorative services it offers by including pictures from the Islands on its latest marketing piece. Thinking outside the box (no pun intended) and beyond a standard rectangle, the team created a 44-sided polygon – called a Tetracontakaitetragon.

To house the polygon, Bertelsmann also designed a highly textured, decorative box to further illustrate the company’s capabilities and to facilitate distribution. Inspired by the Russian nesting doll, where one surprise is hidden inside a second that is inside a third, the piece also included preprinted M&Ms inside the many-sided globe, giving clients a sweet reward.

“The 44 panels offered us the ability to mix finishing techniques to offer tactile, visual and sonic (unknown rattling candy) impressions,” noted BPG Vice President Sean M. Twomey. “The piece begs the client to pick up the polygon and interact with it, and we know that a consumer often buys a product after they touch it.”

Incorporating pictures of the Cayman Islands allowed Bertelsmann to highlight the power of print and print decorating. Three silver holographic foils are used throughout the piece. The 3D-sculptured and embossed sides feature rough coral pipes, a parrot, a beer and a turtle. The rough feel of the sand in the beach scene is created using spot gritty matte UV, while another side showcases a single flower with gloss UV. Lastly, a scannable QR code includes an electronic link to the company’s website, showing that print succeeds best with multimedia integration.

“This is a unique marketing piece that highlights Bertelsmann’s structural design service and demonstrates how multiple finishing techniques can create similar compelling visual and tactile effects,” Twomey explained. The execution was done by Coral Graphics and Dynamic Graphic Finishing, while Mid Island Bindery was responsible for the diecutting and gluing. Stock Graphics were assembled by BPG prepress using InDesign, and the holographic foils were chosen in consultation with prepress and manufacturing.

Foil stamping was the first step in creating the Tetracontakaitetragon using a BOBST 40" stamper. Three silver holographic foils were used to highlight the design. “Next, using standard process inks (CMYK), we printed the different Caribbean images, which included overprinting the holographic foils in specific areas using a Komori Lithrone 28,” Twomey said.

Next, the polygon was laminated with a Matte Mylar film, and then a Sakurai screen coater was used to apply spot matte UV to the diver and beach pictures, providing a realistic, coarse feel. Spot gloss UV was used on several of the pictures as well as on the foil. “We then printed over one of the foils to show that depth in water could be created with foil or in contrast with Dynillusion Cast and Cure™ shown on another panel,” Twomey clarified. The piece then had a pass on the BOBST 40" press for the sculptured emboss before it was scored and diecut on a BOBST Speria 106. A BOBST Visionfold completed the gluing and then the polygon was assembled.

“The special technology used was human creativity,” Twomey asserted. “We challenged our team to be innovative in the design and to use their experience to maximize the effectiveness of each technique.” The team deliberately showed that similar effects can be achieved in more than one way. “The piece shows that depth can be depicted either with light reflectivity from coatings or with embossing,” he concluded.

The design team wanted the piece to be large enough to show the various finishing techniques on each panel, but they didn’t want it to be too large. “We explored the caliper of different paper to ensure that the piece had substance but could still accept all the folds,” Twomey remarked. A 20-point C1S Candesce from Clearwater Paper was chosen to meet this need. Additionally, the laminate offered more bulk, limited cracking and provided a flat surface to lay the ink down upon.

BPG USA Structural Design also created the piece’s decorative packaging in house. The UV accented and embossed blue box, like the polygon, was printed with four-color process inks on 20-point C1S board stock. An image of raindrops of varying size was selected for the box’s design. The text was knocked out on the outside of the box. The traditionally elegant box was printed first on two sides on a Komori Lithrone 28. A silver foil was stamped around the title. Then the piece was laminated with a Matte Mylar film and a spot UV was applied to the larger raindrops to attract attention from refracting light. The box was embossed so that the raindrops had a tactile feel when picked up. Finally, the piece was diecut and glued.

The Tetracontakaitetragon certainly served its purpose. “Clients have been enthusiastic about seeing different techniques compared and contrasted in a live piece, and the only objection,” Twomey joked, “was working with the Bertelsmann Printing Group USA because it can be fattening – thanks to the candy.”