A conversation with Design & Practice
A conversation with Design & Practice
May 16, 2021

For what purpose did you visit De Monsterkamer for this assignment?

To get a better idea of ​​Olin's position and the market in which it operates, we especially wanted to know how designers view the different paper brands when they are working on an idea or project. We are, of course, designers ourselves and already knew many brands and their tools, but by starting our research in De Monsterkamer, we were able to put ourselves in the position of other designers and play a kind of role-playing and formulate a much better answer to the question: “how do you achieve designers best when they are looking for a suitable paper?”

How did your visit to De Monsterkamer help you?

The extensive knowledge of De Monsterkamer and the overview of the paper industry that we found there helped enormously, as the paper world is a fairly cluttered and difficult world to penetrate – even for graphic designers, who have to deal with it quite a lot. This gave us a better idea of ​​what the alternatives are, who the main competitors are and where the opportunities lie. But the space itself also helped us to put ourselves in the shoes of other designers and see where future designers might meet Olin and what could (hopefully) make that meeting a success.

Which concept was ultimately leading in the development of the various tools?

We realized during our research – and certainly partly because of our visit to De Monsterkamer – that when you design for designers there are actually 2 opposing forces at play: on the one hand, designers want to see something that challenges and appeals to them (visually), on the other hand, the design has sufficient openings. to give free rein to your own imagination.

With that in mind, the brand itself has been developed as an almost empty canvas; a simple black logo with clean typography and little frills. To avoid it becoming boring, we tried to put creativity into the details: the logo that forms a kind of closing mechanism, a folder with pages 'woven' into it, and cards with a range of innovative printing techniques, such as foil stamping with micro- embossing and 3-D blind embossing.

How does Olin Design differ from other design papers?

One of the things that sets it apart is the size of the range, with 5 colours, 3 textures (regular, smooth, rough) and grammages ranging from 50 to 400 g/m2.
But that is of course very product-focused and will ultimately not make the heart of many designers beat faster. We see Olin as the ultimate canvas for unlimited creativity and we show that in the tools through the diverse applications of offset, HR UV offset, foil stamping, blind embossing, screen printing and letterpress – and in all those cases also by adding the technology to the extreme test.

I don't see any print samples with photos, although Olin is often used for photo books. What was the consideration in this?

There are already many examples of photography on Olin, such as Exhibition Mag and the White Review . Olin also regularly sponsors initiatives by designers and photographers (such as the Antwerp Poster Festival ) so we didn't think it was our primary task to make sample samples with photography.

Much more important as the motivation was that we wanted to reposition Olin and give it a clearly recognizable signature. The motto we have come up with is “CREATIVITY + PAPER” to indicate that every project starts with creativity. So we also wanted the visuals to arise from that creativity. Ultimately, the prints in the Sample Folder are photos of paintings, so there is definitely some photographic detail in them too :-).

You work with multiple printers, one of them is robstolk® amsterdam, to whom you have been referred by De Monsterkamer. What have they been able to add technically?

Drukkerij robstolk has made an immense contribution, both in knowledge and dedication to the project. We spent many hours at the press and in some cases were able to achieve quite innovative results. We are now working on a very exciting project with robstolk, also for Olin, in which we print photography without using CMYK. But that tool isn't out yet, so I can't say much more about it!

What have you learned about the paper world by working on this project?

It is a world that is inscrutable on the one hand, with enormous interests and complex corporate structures, which means that the relationships are slightly different in every country. We started our studio in London once, so we notice the difference. On the other hand, it is a world of passion; printers, designers, our contacts at Antalis and of course De Monsterkamer; we notice an enormous passion for paper and its application in everyone.

You also take photos and videos for this campaign. Is paper promotion still possible in 2021 without a digital component?

The answer is very simple: absolutely not. Virtually nothing can thrive today without a strong presence in the digital environments. So it is very important to be able to convey the feeling of a product through social media, internet and other digital media. That is why the launch video is much more focused on the feeling we want to evoke than on the product itself.

At the same time, the tactility of a product or material will never lose its value. Our fingertips are made to feel and if it's just our phone or mouse all day, it becomes a very one-sided experience. So we believe very strongly in the future of paper as an enricher of our sensory experience.

Would you like to rebrand even more paper brands?

For now we have our hands full with Olin, but who knows what we could help Antalis with in the future?

Interview by De Monsterkamer with Design & Practice