Edited by Erin La Row, editor, PostPress
Hazen Paper Company’s 11th Enshrinement Yearbook cover for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, is a light show worthy of the dazzling Hall of Fame Dome. The limited-edition 2023 cover, created with Hazen HoloJet® paper, projects an amplified refractive three-dimensional image of a basketball symbolizing the dome.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and celebrating the game of basketball. Each year, the organization recognizes a group of finalists of the sport’s elite – from players to coaches to referees – by formally enshrining that year’s class into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. A commemorative yearbook and enshrinement program is created to recognize the class and award recipients. Hazen worked with the Basketball Hall of Fame to take a graphic design and amplify it with holography.
“Once again, the Hazen holographic team has raised the bar, amplifying the special effects each time to ensure the cover is more exciting than ever,” said John Hazen, president of Hazen Paper Company. For 2023, this includes Fresnel lens technology and a new holographic element Hazen calls “Metal-Morphosis™,” utilizing a new deep-groove system for sharper images and greater dimensionality. Appearing to move and change with the angle of light, the holographic treatment induces engagement and interaction with the book.
Hazen originated the holography completely within its Holyoke, Massachusetts, facility. The custom holograms were created in Hazen’s holographic laser lab, then micro-embossed and transfer-metalized onto smooth, 12-point WestRock Tango C2S using Hazen’s environmentally friendly Envirofoil® and HoloJet® process. The holography is created with an optical structure that is imparted on the surface of the paper (underneath the printed graphics) with an ultra-thin polymer layer that is less than 2 microns in thickness. Envirofoil is a non-plastic paper that is as recyclable as printed paper.
Hazen said the white ink application is critical to optimize the holographic effect by blocking the holography completely in some areas and, through a gradation of tonal values, turn up or turn down the holographic effect.
“That gradation of ‘holographic show-thru’ is the trick to creating 3D effects. In reality, the registration is not perfect. The art and the hologram are designed to allow for bleed and fade. The white ink is key to achieving what appears to be perfect registration. The holographic tableau is designed in a way to make the printing quite easy,” Hazen said.
The stock itself has a transfer metallized finish. Hazen transfer metallizes the paper stock with a holographic film (transfer is similar to cold foil). The holographic film is produced in Holyoke. The first step is to apply a polymer coating to a carrier film. That polymer-coated surface then is holographically embossed and vacuum metallized. The resultant “transfer film” then is laminated to a 12-point C2S Tango cover stock in rolls. The rolls are next register-sheeted and the carrier film is separated for re-use. The resultant holographic stock is primed for INDIGO digital printing. Every cover gets a unique serial number through the magic of digital printing.
Hazen said this year the event was moved forward a month, requiring the company to hit all of the project milestones in a crisp manner. “Hazen is vertically integrated and extremely experienced with these projects, so the timeline compression didn’t cause any problems,” he said.
The cover was designed by agency GO of Hartford, Connecticut, and printed and individually numbered for authenticity on an HP Indigo digital press by Starburst Printing of Holliston, Massachusetts. The book was printed and bound by Cummings Printing in Hookset, New Hampshire. Mohegan Sun Casino, in Uncasville, Connecticut, is the presenting partner of the Hall of Fame Tip Off Pavilion and the annual marketing partner of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Hazen said that Mohegan Sun, once again, used a custom hologram on the backside cover to create a high-voltage graphic that radiates energy.
“The Basketball Hall of Fame was extremely happy with the result, as was Mohegan Sun,” Hazen said. “Hazen had a large group of employees attend the Enshrinement event and all of the guests, fans and enshrinees had at least one Enshrinement Yearbook in their hands.”