The creation of a new kind of greeting cards

Maybe, you have already seen the “Iggesund Snowflake Card” on my project page. (If not, please click here). With this design, you can create more than 44.000 unique snowflake images.

Let me tell you, how this project came to life. This year (2016), on a Friday afternoon in early March, I received an email from Iggesund Paperboard. The project Manager Anna Adler asked me, if I would like to create this year’s greeting card for their paper mill. If you know the amazing cards that Iggesund had published in former years, you will understand, that this inquiry made me very happy! What an exciting request. Of course I wanted to to this job!

At the same time, I knew that this project would be very challenging, because each year, Iggesund sends out several thousand cards. As you might know, I love to create complex things from paper, like pop-up cards or paper sculptures that consist of many individual pieces. But the assembling of such pop-up cards is very time-consuming and so it was no option to create a pop-up card. I had do find a solution, which creates a „Wow-effect“ – but which can be assembled very quick, rather within seconds than minutes.

From the moment, when I received Anna’s email, I couldn’t get this project out of my head any more. But I had no time to make sketches or build models from paper, because I was preparing a business flight to Israel, to visit my client Highcon. I had to prepare my presentation for the event, pack my suitcase, check my flight information and such things …

On the night before my flight, I was lying in my bed but couldn’t fall asleep. Very late at night, I had the idea a foldable ornament – and this seemed to be a possible solution for the Iggesund project. So I stood up again and made a quick sketch into my note book, just to be sure, that my idea couldn’t get lost. I went to bed again and fell asleep immediately. Unfortunately, I had to get up after three hours to drive to the airport.

On the flight from Düsseldorf to Tel Aviv, I started to work on the details of my idea. I expected, that my idea of a foldable ornament would lead to some dozen or maybe some hundred variations – but when I calculated the actual number of possible combinations, I was amazed, that more than 44’000 different images could be created. (If you are interested in the mathematics, you may download a PDF file with the exact calculations here.)

Please note, that at this moment, my concept was nothing more than an idea – but I had to make sure, that it could be put into practice, especially for a long production run of some thousand pieces. What a luck, that I was visiting my client Highcon! So I could discuss my idea directly with the application specialist Yaron Eshel. The technical needs for my idea where exactly what their machine, the Highcon Euclid III, provides: perfect cutting lines and sturdy crease lines – and even better, the machine works completely digital! So we agreed, that my idea – now matter how complex it seemed to be – could be put into practice.
If you want to learn more about the production process, please read the interview with Yaron Eshel, application specialist at Highcon: How Highcon turned paperboard into snow.

One week later, when I was back in my office,  I was more than happy  to inform Anna Adler, that I already had an idea. But I needed some more time before I could present my concept to Iggesund. In the following days, I created a lot of models in different sizes, with more or less complex cutouts, from white paper but also with colored graphics. When I tested my first dummies, I was very happy that I could work with the paperboard Invercote, because it is perfect for folding.

For the creation of the color design, I needed to make some printouts on other paper qualities, (e.g. special paper for inkjet printers) but these models were only suitable for the judgement of the graphic design – they would break after folding them just a few times. But my folding tests with Invercote showed me, that this substrate was the perfect choice. I could fold my ornament a dozen or even a hundred times without damaging my delicate cutout elements.

I created a video, to present my idea to Iggesund. In this early version, my design was not perfect yet, but in the video, I could show the potential that lies within this design. I was more than happy, that Anna and her team at Iggesund liked my concept!

Please watch the video interview with Anna Adler from Iggesund Paperboard :

Video produced by Content Innovation for Iggesund Paperboard

For the production of the thousands of cards, Iggesund commissioned the company Maison Lack from France. This company gave us acces not only to a Highcon machine, which we needed for the digital creasing and cutting of the delicate snowflakes, but they are also specialized in paper finishing with Scodix. So besides the color printed gradients, which I already had planned for the Snowflake, I was allowed to add glossy and silver varnishing to my design. This made the card even more attractive!

The metal coated paperboard (Invercote G Metalprint), that we used for the small element of the greeting card, completed the luxurious appearance that we wanted to achieve.

After several weeks of careful planning and testing, I was very excited to receive the first samples from the final production. All the sketches, models and dummies that I made before to prepare this project, could just simulate the final effects – but of course they could never replace the original items from the real production. I was so delighted to see, that the final Snowflake Cards turned out to be really perfect!
A big THANK YOU to all people who brought this project to life! It was a pleasure to work with you 🙂

To get an idea of  my excitement about this project, please watch the video interview:

Video produced by Content Innovation for Iggesund Paperboard

For more information, please  visit the Iggesund website: www.Iggesund.com/snowflake2016

6 Comments

  • Hallo Peter Dahmen,
    Ich bin begeistert von Ihren Ideen und Ausführungen mit Papier.
    Herzlichen Dank dafür. Den Christmas Tree habe ich begonnen zu
    realisieren, aber jetzt hat mir die Zeit zur Fertigstellung gefehlt.
    Bleibt die Anleitung auf Ihrer Seite, um später wieder weitermachen
    zu können?
    Eine frohe Weihnachtszeit und fürs neue Jahr viel Glück.
    Marianne Bodenmann

    • Hallo Frau Bodenmann,
      vielen Dank für Ihr Lob! Ja, die Anleitungen bleiben auch nach Weihnachten weiterhin auf meiner Website. Herzliche Grüße, schöne Feiertage und einen guten Rutsch!
      Peter Dahmen

  • Your work is simply amazing and I am mesmerized by your designs. Is the snowflake card/ornament available for purchase anywhere?

    • Dear John, many thanks for your praise! The snowflake card is a design, that I created for the papermill Iggesund. They used it as their own holiday season card, to send it out to their customers and business contacts. These cards have been produced in a limited edition of some thousand cards. Generpusly, Iggesund provided some hundred cards that could be ordered for free from their website. The campaign was so successful, that all free cards have been sent out after just a few days. Unfortunately, thare are no more cards available – the link to this card on the web shop was removed. These cards were never intended to be sold, but they were only produced as the annual gift card for this company, therefore it is not planned to create more cards of this kind. But MAYBE, a card production company will ask me to create something similar in the future. Maybe, a card, that can be purchased online or in shops? If this will be the case, I will announce it here on my website. I hope that I could help you with this information. All the best, Peter

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