The new owner of Artwrap, a venture specialising in books of original New Zealand art decorated wrapping paper from local artists, knew he was on to a good thing, but the product was so unusual it would be a challenge deciding just where to even begin with such an unconventional product; in this case, two new books featuring wrapping for birthdays and Christmas.
Even for MC2, where we specialise in printing anything, the idea was new, but the process was not uncharted territory. That said, the production process posed significant challenges. The initial hurdle was the cost of printing in New Zealand – a staggering three times more expensive than alternatives. This is where MC2 stepped in, taking the reins of the project to produce not just a stunning, high-quality, cost-effective project.
The client had purchased a company that produced the books but needed more, including the technical services and know-how required to produce the books, essentially a new product.
Research and Development: Understanding the existing product and envisioning the new.
Meetings and Planning: Discuss previous efforts and new requirements, including the desire for more designs (10 instead of 8) and addressing issues like the problematic perforation in the books. The perforation had to be strong but not too strong that the wrapping paper would tear.
Exploring Printing Options: While local printers were considered, the cost led MC2 to look abroad. Ultimately, printing was outsourced to China, balancing quality and affordability.
Perfecting the books
Creating a mock-up was crucial because it allowed MC2 to fine-tune details like the perforation and ensure the quality of the final product. The book, unfolding into A1-sized sheets with six folds, was printed on premium 128gsm satin matt stock, featuring stunning designs by New Zealand artists.
One of the biggest challenges was managing the pre-press process and logistics. Ensuring timely delivery for the Christmas season meant opting for airfreight – a decision driven by the time-critical nature of the project, making the logistics a complex balance of timing, quality control, and coordination.
Reception and prospects
The result was nothing short of remarkable. The wrapping paper books received a warm reception at markets, particularly the Collective Christmas Market. This success has paved the way for further development and expansion of Artwrap’s presence.
The journey with MC2 was more than just creating a product; it was about building a brand that resonated with the New Zealand spirit. From liaising with graphic designers to ensuring print-ready files, every step broke new ground for the publisher of the gift-wrapping books, culminating in a product that the publisher and customers alike were proud of.
Overall, the outcome underscores MC2’s ability to navigate the complexities of product development, especially for a client new to the industry. It showcases how challenges can be opportunities with the proper guidance, innovation, and collaboration. The wrapping paper books are not just products; they celebrate New Zealand art and symbolise what can be achieved with vision and the right partners.