by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, PostPress
In April 2015, Eckhart & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana, was contacted by a printer to partner on a project for the City of Indianapolis. The city was submitting a bid for the 2018 Super Bowl and, after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the presentation materials, the committee required packaging that would reflect Indianapolis’ commitment to winning the bid.
From the earliest stages of the process, Eckhart & Company was involved in the design. “Our first step was to understand what was being packaged and what effect was desired,” explained Mike Reynolds, print finishing manager for Eckhart. “Packaging is the housing that should reflect the value of the materials enclosed. Some packages are very high end, and some are strictly commodity products. The packaging should provide an initial perception of what to expect within. In this case, the packaging needed to impress 32 NFL owners.”
The bid materials included a laptop and a booklet showcasing Indianapolis as a potential Super Bowl site. Eckhart & Company suggested a slip case with an inner case containing a double tray – one side for the laptop and one for the booklet.
“We manufactured a mockup, with an outer slip case to house the inner case,” said Reynolds. “The inner case was designed with two cavities to hold a laptop on one side and a perfect bound book on the other.” The cavities were filled with an injection-molded foam rubber to create a very snug fit, and Eckhart designed the foam to have a small inward-angled lip to ensure the laptop was secure. Ironically, in the mockup process, it was determined the pieces fit so well it was difficult to remove them from the foam. “We then recommended adding a ribbon that would aid in the removal of the pieces,” he explained. The ribbon was hand-taped to the case underneath the liner, assisting in removing the pieces as the recipient pulled the ribbon.
After reviewing concepts and samples, the package model was approved. The discussion turned to graphic design, and Eckhart was able to offer recommendations as to which materials were best suited for the production of the project, while still maintaining the high-end effect.
“The client wanted both print and foil stamping, but they weren’t sure how,” said Reynolds. “We did discuss embossing or debossing during the production meetings, but there was a concern the effect would be flattened slightly in the process of wrapping and gluing the case. We didn’t want to risk anything that would devalue the impression the packaging was meant to make.”
In production, the slip case wraps were printed on Hyflex 7 with an offset press, as the client believed offset would provide a higher quality than digital print. The case was flood-printed in matte black, with the white and gold knocked out. Clear foil from Infinity Foils was applied over the stadium image on a Kluge press with dies created by Universal Engraving. The wraps and board were diecut, and 88pt. board was wrapped to form the outer slip case.
The wrap for the inner case was printed offset as a single-color (flood black) and clear foil was stamped on the same Hyflex 7 material and wrapped to an 88pt. board. The trays and liner of the inner case were on Prestige from Ecological Fibers, which had the feel of felt and added an additional luxury element to the overall package. Eckhart lined the inner cases, mounted 42pt. chipboard with the Prestige for the trays and then diecut the trays before forming and gluing them into the inner case.
The 24-page book was printed 4-color process, and Eckhart did the perfect binding on its Kolbus perfect binder.
Approximately 40 pieces were created, with one sent to each of the 32 NFL owners and a few sent to the NFL offices. In the end, Minnesota was awarded the 2018 Super Bowl. However, the client was extremely happy with the final product created by Eckhart & Company. “It more than met their expectations,” said Reynolds. “For us, it’s crucial to evaluate the project with the client to ensure the packaging meets the standards of the materials it contains. In this case, the case truly reflected the value of what Indianapolis could bring to an event on the national stage.”