Early in 2020 Fedrigoni and TM set Ricoh a challenge — they asked for a calendar that would embody the outer limits of what is possible with personalisation. We were confronted with the need to find an automated way to randomly combine hundreds of separate designers’ images in ten different colour ways to create ultimately 4,000 utterly unique calendars. We were also asked to deploy our fifth colour capabilities to elevate results to a higher level. So we designed an end to end integrated workflow comprising our software and hardware technology, along with selected partners’ software and hardware. As the complex design brief called for each calendar to be unique throughout we used our technology to dynamically create each calendar based on intelligently randomised data and rules-based templates. This project has been a pleasure to work on, but the nature of this edition in particular has been as exciting as it was fulfilling. We hope that it excites and inspires, but most of all serves to remind us all of the power of collaboration and creativity. In this booklet we have highlighted all of the colour, software and hardware technology used to produce Fedrigoni 365 2021.
As with all beautiful objects, there is an unseen craft that has been invested into each unique copy. A key starting point was working with TM and Fedrigoni in the selection of the best stock from the comprehensive range papers for digital print technology to bring the book to life. With paper selected, our concentration shifted to selecting the range of Extended Gamut Colours (ECG) that were to be used in the design. For this we supplied the creative team at TM the Touch7 Extended Colour Gamut system which has over 700 colours to choose from. TM chose to use 20 colours from the Touch 7 range which we then print tested on the Ricoh Pro C7200x using the Fedrigoni stock Freelife Vellum to ensure that the colours met the expectations of TM.
Our next challenge was to understand how we were going to create all of the combinations of the images in the different colour choices. As the artwork specification called for the designs to be submitted as mono vector or grayscale TIFFs, we had to find a way to efficiently colourise the artwork using the 10 different colour choices. With a target of over 1,000 artwork submissions and 10 different colour choices we could have been looking at creating over 10,000 images before we even started the variable data composition. We worked with the TM creative team to agree on an artwork creation process that would allow the creation of the different colour combinations in the print production process. This consisted of agreeing on naming conventions for spot colours used for the mono vectors and grayscale TIFFs. Ricoh also created an Adobe Illustrator script to accelerate the process of applying the spot naming to the grayscale TIFFs.
VARIABLE DATA WORKFLOW
Firstly, Ricoh’s preferred data management solution /data.mill created a dataset of contributing designers that appear in each calendar, using algorithms to ensure that no design was used twice within any single calendar, and that each design appeared an equal number of times throughout the entire edition of 4,000.
This dataset was then used by our industry leading variable data publishing (VDP) solution, FusionPro, to automatically typeset and lay out the calendar pages during the composition of each print file. This was achieved by creating an intelligent template within the FusionPro application with rules to ensure it matched the requirements of the design brief.
FusionPro was also used to dynamically create the covers. Again, each one needed to be unique, but rather than a designer having to create 4,000 different cover designs, FusionPro did this dynamically, using rules within the template to automatically create the 4,000 totally unique cover designs from a set of only ten masters.
A third FusionPro intelligent template was created for the book jacket. Each jacket includes all the names of the nearly 1,000 creatives who participated in the project, with those whose designs appear in any particular calendar highlighted. Again, a set of rules had to be created to achieve this, further showing that the power and flexibility of FusionPro was essential to the success of a complex project such as this.
Fedrigoni 365 2021 demanded a high level of automation along with job integrity, so we decided to use Ricoh TotalFlow BatchBuilder software in conjunction with Enfocus PitStop Server and Ultimate Technologies Impostrip to take the unique variable artwork PDF files and build them into batches for production. Each PDF file was allocated a unique name for the cover and for the text by a FusionPro script that would allow BatchBuilder to automate the workflow process.
BatchBuilder extracted the job data from the file name and then passed the file to the integrated PitStop server which runs an action that converts all of the mono spot colours to the correct T7 colour specified in the filename.
BatchBuilder then passed the PDF file to Impostrip to add all of the relevant barcodes and finishing marks, as well as imposing the file into signatures for sections sewing. BatchBuilder later created batches of sequentially numbered blocks of eight books and passed the PDF file back to ImpoStrip to impose 2-up for printing. BatchBuilder then queued the files ready for printing.
The logic behind choosing blocks of eight books was because this was the optimal number for efficient processing on the guillotine to load into the feeder of the MeccanoTecnica Universe binder.
PRINTING BY RICOH
However the uniqueness of each calendar does not end there. Using the capabilities of the five colour Pro C7200x digital colour printer, we added a different high impact colour to each calendar using the Touch7 Extended Colour Gamut system. This means that an image can appear throughout the 4,000 calendars in a different colour, bringing a new visual aspect to these truly unique calendars.
This extraordinarily innovative compact printer offers neon, white, clear and invisible red toner options for highly creative, and impactful print applications. For Fedrigoni 365, its ability to dramatise print with neon pink and yellow, as well as white, are exploited to full effect.
So — the challenge was risen to, Fedrigoni’s brief was met. The Fedrigoni 365 project shows how Ricoh technology and expertise can deliver extraordinary results, pushing the boundaries of personalisation to unleash truly remarkable creative results.
THE FINISHING PROCESS
UNIVERSE™ automatic folding and book sewing machine is the undisputed leader for cost-effective short run production of high quality books printed in digital. Its level of performance and automation, together with the widest flexibility in the choice of papers, are unmatched on the market.
INLINE is the multifunctional back gluer that integrates several finishing processes. It automates the production of hardcover and softcover books and reduces manpower. The binding of the 2021 calendars was performed by nipping the spine of the sewn book blocks, by gluing the back and the sides, and by applying the gauze and the cover.
TRIMMING completed the finishing process with the three-side cutting of the books. The three-knife trimmer is able to perform fully variable changeovers without operator intervention and to manage runs down to one book, even with flaps.
365 BOOKLET SUPPLEMENTS
As the graphics supplied by the designers are printed in only one extended gamut Touch 7 colour in each of the Fedrigoni 365 2021 calendars, we decided that it would be a great idea to create a personalised booklet for every designer with their designs printed in all of the 10 Touch 7 colours used. The booklet also goes into more detail about the main key areas: Creative, Variable Data Workflow, Production Workflow, Printing & Finishing.
We also decided to create booklets for all of the Fedrigoni, Ricoh & Meccanotecnica staff that were involved in the project plus sales & marketing staff from within Ricoh. As well as personalising the cover of this edition of the booklet, we also asked each member of staff for the day of the month on which they were born. As part of the Variable Data composition process we then selected 10 graphics with the corresponding number from the graphics library used in the main 365 calendar. These 10 graphic selections were then automatically coloured in the 10 colours used for the project.
Fedrigoni 365 - 2018
The first edition commemorates the year 2018 by asking leading UK-based creatives to contribute a piece of work to a design compendium, which takes the form of the Fedrigoni annual Calendar.
The result of this process is a striking black tome that holds 365 single-colour designs within. Each design was created as an interpretation of a date that was provided at random to each participant. Confines were established to challenge each designer’s creativity by restricting the book to one paper and one colour print, which forced their pieces to focus strictly on concept, shape and form.
The brief was created to be deliberately restrictive, although there were slight concerns that it may be too limiting and could result in designs that were much of a muchness. It turned out that these worries were unfounded. The Calendar has organically shaped into a beautiful visual story whose pace varies from page to page, and spread to spread.
Fedrigoni 365 - 2019
For this edition the book was made up of Fedrigoni’s white paper ranges and successfully compares and contrasts the subtle differences between the shades of whites available in the UK-held collection.
Each participant was asked to contribute a piece of work interpreting a date provided to them at random. Confines were established to challenge each designer’s creativity by restricting the book to one colour print, which forced their pieces to focus strictly on concept, shape and form. Through these parameters the Calendar has shaped into a beautiful visual story whose pace varies from page to page, and spread to spread
Each design was printed to one of ten white sheets from Fedrigoni’s expansive collection of papers. The resulting book has a mille-feuille-like layering, from the blueish hues of X-Per Premium White to the warm tones of Materica Gesso and Old Mill Bianco. Each date has a spread of its own, giving the designs space to breathe, and the book itself an imposing size. The resulting white tome is part numeral muse, part source of historic facts and part thing of beauty.
Fedrigoni 366 - 2020
To commemorate the 2020 leap year, this calendar includes designs by 366 leading UK-based creatives. The result is a compendium of work from the very best of UK creativity with each participant contributing a piece that interprets the numeral or date that was provided at random.
Fedrigoni 366 is a multi-coloured book employing the full family of 16 colours from the Woodstock paper range. Each cover features a different colour from the range, with the text pages containing an assortment of every colour available. With a hefty 400 pages and measuring 166x220mm the book features an innovative 8 page double wrapped cover that serves to bulk up the heaviest weight of Woodstock without having to laminate multiple sheets.
Woodstock is an uncoated recycled paper with 80% pre-consumer recycled waste and 20% FSC certified virgin fibre. It was introduced to the UK market in 16 colours and 7 weights for 2020.
FEDRIGONI 365 - 2021
2021 sees the Fedrigoni 365 collaboration reach new heights by becoming the most inclusive and dynamic edition yet.
As an ode to community and togetherness, Fedrigoni UK will be opening the doors to hundreds of UK creatives for the latest edition of its coveted calendar project. Through the use of cutting-edge digital printing technology by print partner Ricoh, the project will no longer be limited to 365 contributors, inviting the industry at large to submit their own designs that interpret a number provided to them at random. Each book will contain a unique collection of 365 designs, randomly collated from the hundreds of contributions.
Fedrigoni 365/2021 will be printed on the Ricoh digital five colour Pro C7200 x machine, allowing each book to be entirely unique from cover to cover. It will be printed using neon and CYMK inks onto a range of papers from the Fedrigoni digital collection.
So far, the success of the Fedrigoni 365 project has been its sense of inclusion and positivity, bringing together creatives of all generations and styles in an endlessly collaborative project. It has given designers the opportunity to set their own brief, to be as creative as they can be and to see their own work on the printed page.
Previous editions of the publication have put the spotlight on select stocks from Fedrigoni’s vast range of papers, from an entirely black book in 2018 to an entirely white edition in 2019, followed by a recycled rainbow of colours in 2020. All profits from previous editions have been donated to charity, so far raising over £15,000.