Ikebana Neenah Paper Swatchbook

  • This was our final project for my Production Design class. The objective was to create a special edition paper swatchbook. This swatchbook was to have a strong historical element - I chose to explore the ancient art of Japanese flower arrangement, ikebana. In addition, the swatchbook, being a 'special edition', had to include a "container" of sorts that complimented the theme, and which we had to make by hand. At the end are process and production files for a peek at the development process. 

    Swatchbook requirements
    - At least three folds
    - One perforation (the bookmark)
    - At least three special finishes (gloss varnish, embossing/debossing, gold foil, for example)
    - At least two binding methods (you'll see the partially-hidden wire binding for the main spine of the book, and a sidewire binding for the fold-out cover with the leaf die-cut)
    - At least 25 paper samples with the correct weight and finish specificied
    - Information tables detailing supposed availabilites for this proposed line of paper
    - A section for the availabilites and specifications of envelopes
    - Environmental specifications and consumer awareness 
    - Production notes and credits 

    This was an incredibly fun, if very challenging project. The diecuts for the flowers were particularly difficult to do by hand - and printer registration errors made it all the more difficult to get each layer of the arrangement perfectly aligned with the next. I tried to keep a sense of simplicity and minimalism for the book, to go in line with the tradition of ikebana, and used plenty of negative space. The first section gives background about the company, the imaginary paper line, the history of ikebana, and the environmental aspect of the paper (the paper is made from tree-less fibers - bamboo, leaves, rice, and all sorts of non-wood fibers). Then come the paper swatches, separated thematically by style of ikebana, and lastly, the fold-out is sort of a demo section, showing what the paper looks like used for photographs or with gold foil, embossing or gloss varnish, plus a 'keepsake' - a bookmark the reader can tear out and use for themselves. The front cover has the Japanese kanji (the characters) embossed. The book holds together nicely with a little velcro tab that keeps it closed. Images were all taken from various websites and ikebana books which were credited. 

    A few changes I would make upon revision would be to add a chip set, given that there is no logical organization to the paper swatches, so one would be necessary to aid the reader in quickly finding the desired paper sample. I would also try to add some sort of simple or subtle pattern to the divider pages that separate each flower arragenment style category. 
  • Below are sample process images. The first are from the brainstorming phase for the concept, later are the final production files that would be sent to the printers with spot colors used to mark where diecuts or special finishes are applied.