FE Burman has delivered 220,000 B2 posters for the 20th anniversary issue of Wallpaper magazine, each absolutely unique.
The posters were printed on the south London company’s B2 Indigo 10000 and shipped to Southernprint where the 508pp magazine special edition has been produced. FE Burman worked with the 12 variants of the same design that had been created by design studio Spin and applied HP’s SmartStream Mosaic technology to create slight differences in each print.
“We have produced variable content covers for Wallpaper before,” says Mike Burman, “and have worked with them on a number of projects. This, however, was the single largest digital project we have ever done in terms of the number of sheets going through the press.”
While the Indigo 10000 was inevitably tied up for long periods, FE Burman was able to pause production in order to produce other jobs. The job was also trimmed and folded in-house and delivered in two lots to Poole. It was able to call off the Fedrigoni Arcoprint paper that had been selected for the job, in volumes as required.
“We have all the processes necessary in-house so were able to manage the flow as we needed,” says Burman. “The Mosaic software has moved on a lot since we first worked with it. Now there are at least four layers doing different things – changing the colours, elements of the picture, adding elements and so on – then handling the complex assembly and processing of these changing elements. It worked pretty well and as far as the client was concerned, it was seamless.”
Sarah Douglas, the magazine’s creative director, says: “As soon as the Burman team presented us with the Mosaic concept and its extraordinary possibilities, we connected with it. It’s a designer’s dream to be able to create this many original artworks and to push digital printing as far as we have with HP Mosaic.”
“What really impressed us,” says Spin’s head Tony Brook, “was the quality of the print and the way each poster had its own character.”
The design is intended to reflect two decades of content from the magazine’s archive, using images and captions from across the period, playing with ways to display the umbers '96’ and '16’ as key features. The software adjusted the gradations and colours in the background to keep the umbers constantly changing, but retaining the feeling that though each is different, “they hung together” says Brook.
Processing of the 220,000 images and the intricacy of the changes involved, took place in Israel to relieve pressure on Burman's servers for the one off job. It may not be for long. Coca-Cola has used Mosaic as a way of creating one off shrink sleeve labels for its iconic bottles, a much simpler application, and the target readership of Wallpaper includes designers and influencers looking for new ideas to help market products. “These people may well see new uses for the technology,” Burman adds.
FE Burman produced 220,000 posters which will will find readers arond the world in the special isse of the magazine. There are two posters in each copy of the iconic magazine.