19 July 2020 Paper

GF Smith releases The Collection 2.0

It has taken Pureprint nine months to produce GF Smith's cherished swatch book, which is accompanied by a new website.

Pureprint has turned 4.5 million sheets of GF Smith paper into a second edition of The Collections swatch book, its reference tome for all the papers that the merchant stocks.

The second edition is both larger and smaller than the first version which had also been produced by Pureprint. John Haslam, joint managing director of GF Smith says: “The new format means a 20% saving on material, but we have added more pages and more ranges.”

It now contains 48 ranges and 298 papers in weights from 32gsm-1400gsm across its Colorplan, Fine Collection, Textured and Specialist papers. These were printed on one of Pureprint's Speedmaster XL106 presses using three black plates and a silver plate, cutting, folding and gathering in four page sections for adhesive binding.

The first edition drew both admiration for the ability to open the book without popping pages or breaking the spine, the result of specialist binding and glues developed by production director Mat Piercy. Unsurprisingly, he is giving nothing away about the formulations used.

“It has been a feat of engineering,” he says. “There are more stocks, but it’s a bit smaller and there has been a lot of improvements to refine – though index cutting was a challenge.”

The first edition took two a half years from the initial meetings to delivery of the project. The second edition was, by comparison, a print on demand job, taking nine months to turnaround. In all there were 450 different paper stocks, resulting in 190,000 four page sections that had to be collated by hand, index tabs cut and lined by eye, resulting in 40,000 hand finished books. Any incorrectly bound books were taken apart and rebound.

The new edition has a two tone orange and yellow cover with the GF Smith logo visible from whichever angle the book is viewed at.

“The first was very much a steep learning curve,” says Piercy, “it was all about getting the glue right. When you look along the spine it does not appear to have used glue at all”

Those lessons helped shorten the production cycle for the new edition, though the logistics of handling the paper, work on pallets around the factory and hand finishing ensured that complexity remained.

GF Smith had planned to introduce the book earlier this year, pulling the launch four days before the lockdown was applied in March. “We had 3,000 customers who registered to collect copies who we couldn’t get the book to. Now is the time to launch the book and it has had a fantastic response and we are starting to send them out to people that registered,” says Haslam.

This time around the physical book is matched by a new website, providing case studies of how the papers have been used and Instagram style inspiration. “We believe that designers will always use the swatch book,” says Haslam. “We wanted to bring that creativity to life by giving designers the book and the website to work together.

“We will take sales through the website, including single sheets for the crafter market, so if someone wants to buy seven sheets of paper, they will be able to.”

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Every one of the 40,000 copies of the GF Smith Collection was guillotined individually to complete the project, which had taken Pureprint nine months from start to finish.

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