DataGraphic Creates Smyth-Sewn Book for Global Diversity Movement

By Erin La Row, editor, PostPress

Many great design pieces begin with an idea. This one begins with a movement: Rare with Google – an initiative to help, in Google’s words, “change the face of a notoriously homogenous creative industry.” The team at DataGraphic, a US specialty printing company in Commack, New York, was tasked with creating what resulted in a stunning and unique book for the program.

To complete the assignment, the team had to dive into the mission. Rare with Google is a global diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) program. According to the Rare website, “Rare with Google provides equitable opportunities for underrepresented creatives to thrive at every stage of their career.” Since its founding in 2017, Australian experiential design studio Semi Permanent has designed and produced Rare’s evolving program, which includes talks, workshops, mentorship opportunities and research projects. MAUD, an Australian design firm and a founding partner of Rare with Google, was the design company behind the program’s intelligent, punk-inspired graphic identity.

“Of the plethora of physical and digital assets created to support the program, DataGraphic was asked to produce this striking, exposed Smyth-sewn book,” said Glenn Schuster, president of DataGraphic.

While there’s nothing unusual about a Smyth-sewn book, what makes this one stand out is the exposed binding. Schuster said it’s a design trend: The book’s edges are not wrapped with a hard or soft cover, but intentionally left uncovered so the stitching and glue are bare to the touch.

“The Smyth-sewn binding was chosen by the creative director of the project since it lends itself nicely to the punk/D.I.Y. brand aesthetic that was used throughout the program’s creative assets,” Schuster said. “What makes this example of exposed Smyth-sewn binding unique is the layering effect created by the screen-printed clear PET dust jacket, which contains and protects the binding while leaving it visible.”

The project used 130# ColorPlan Lockwood Green for the cover and 100# Mohawk Superfine White Eggshell for interior pages. Machines used in production of the book include a M+R Screen Press for screen printing white gloss UV ink; HP Indigo for the interior printing; and a Smyth Sewing Machine for the spine binding.

Overall, Nicole Cappiello, account management and development with DataGraphic, said production went smoothly. The biggest challenge was being thousands of miles and an ocean away from the client.

“Working with clients overseas was a bit of a challenge. We typically invite our clients to come into our facility for press approvals and encourage involvement in the process as much as possible. We overcame this distance dilemma through our consistent communication,” she said. “In addition to this project having an ambitious schedule, we were able to meet the quick turnaround needed.”

Other than the challenge of distance, Cappiello said the project easily fell into place. “The technology and techniques used – it was nothing that wasn’t already in our wheelhouse,” she said.

The final result is a book that serves the spirit of the Rare with Google program, and one the design team is proud to showcase. “Our clients were very pleased with the outcome,” Schuster said.