by Cassandra Balentine
For those of us in the graphic arts, its potential is clear. One of the best ways to share the power of print is through excellent samples that illustrate not only the quality, but the possibilities this medium brings.
When International Paper debuted the new look and feel of its Accent product line in 2019, it considered ways to further engage with its user community. It released a children’s book, Apollo the Spacedog by Shayne Terry and Kyle Beckett. The original intent was to present a print sample, but it became much more.
“We decided to produce our own books, which could then be used as application samples demonstrating new printing techniques,” explains Karin King, commercial printing brand manager, International Paper.
The company also decided to implement Augmented Reality (AR). “By combining pixels and print, we can demonstrate that paper and technology are not mutually exclusive, but work together for a more immersive user experience,” she offers.
Apollo has become somewhat of a mascot for International Paper. The cartoon dog is pictured in the company’s latest Accent Opaque Swatchbook wearing a space helmet. “As we debuted our new collateral, we got a lot of great feedback about the pup, so we decided to name him and give him his own story,” shares King. The concept took off from there.
Both Apollo the Spacedog and the sequel Apollo and the Mill Moose are original children’s books created by International Paper in collaboration with illustrator Kyle Beckett. “After interviewing several illustrators, we chose Kyle because we felt his style was a perfect fit for Andi and Apollo, and he shared our enthusiasm for the project,” notes King. Andi is the human protagonist of the series.
Apollo’s AR Adventures
As previously noted, one compelling aspect of the children’s book is the use of AR. “AR has been around for a while, but it’s still new to many people. You hear a lot of talk about paper being replaced by digital experiences, but with the book you still get the tactile feel of the paper along with the latest in technology,” comments King.
For the Apollo book series, the AR experiences were created using the International Paper IP4D application.
“We used simple video experiences so that the AR would stay within the frame of the printed book—adding to the reader’s experience and not distracting from it. The AR portions of the books work alongside the printed stories by launching the readers into Andi’s imagination.
In the second book, Apollo and the Mill Moose, the number of AR instances doubled from two to four.
Both Apollo the Spacedog and Apollo and the Mill Moose are digitally printed. The first run of Apollo the Spacedog was printed in collaboration with Canon Solutions America, produced using Accent Opaque Text and Cover.
For the first book, the text was printed on a Canon ColorStream 6900 series color inkjet press with Chromera ink on Accent Opaque 80lb Text Super Smooth with ImageLok Technology. The cover was printed on a Canon imagePress C10000VP on Accent Opaque 100lb Cover Super Smooth.
Accent Opaque with ImageLok Technology is specially formulated with proprietary technology to provide excellent print quality on high-speed production inkjet presses. It creates crisp, vivid images and graphics, bright colors, and bold blacks.
The demand for Apollo the Spacedog was overwhelming and the first run was distributed very quickly. To produce subsequent runs, International Paper tapped Data Reproductions in Auburn Hills, MI to print additional copies using the same equipment. They needed a print provider that had Canon production inkjet technology as well as toner capabilities to produce the secondary runs as close as possible to the first.
Following the success of the first publication, International Paper immediately began working on the sequel. Apollo and the Mill Moose was inspired by the true story of a moose who wandered onto the property of International Paper’s Ticonderoga Mill and was safely relocated back to his forest home.
“The first book had such a large appeal as a print sample in our industry, a literacy initiative for the community, and an AR demonstration, we knew we wanted to continue the series. Then, when I heard an actual moose wandered onto the property of our Ticonderoga Mill, I knew I found Apollo’s next adventure partner,” shares King.
Print Provider Prospective
For the Apollo and the Mill Moose print run, International Paper again worked with Data Reproductions. Because the company stepped in and produced secondary runs of Apollo the Spacedog, they were a natural fit for the encore production of the children’s book/print sample.
The company was established in suburban Detroit more than 53 years ago. It has a staff of over 50 employees, including remote sales staff throughout the U.S.
Its modern, energy efficient 100,000 square foot facility was built specifically for high-volume book and catalog production. “We are committed to responsible environmental resource use, recycling nearly 100 tons of paper scrap waste each month,” says Dennis J. Kavanagh, EVP/COO, Data Reproductions.
Approximately 20 percent of the print provider’s current sales volume comes from digital printing. “Two years ago, the percentage was less than ten percent and outsourced,” he comments.
The text of the second book was printed using a Canon Colorstream 6900 production inkjet press and Chromera ink. Kavanagh says this helped them achieve vibrant color, hit deep blacks, and consistent quality. The cover was produced on a Canon imagePress C10000VP.
To improve the cover, Kavanagh says it used a soft-touch matte laminate, bringing it a little “extra pizzazz.”
The AR aspect didn’t present any difficulties. “We are always willing to work with publishers who want to expand their creative reach,” he comments.
The original run was for 5,000 copies of the children’s book.
Print with a Purpose
The production of the first Apollo interactive children’s book was intended to support more than print.
International Paper also used the book to encourage its Accent On: Reading Program, which is dedicated to fostering literacy initiatives. Upon the publication of Apollo the Spacedog, it worked with local schools and literacy partners to connect kids with dogs that were up for adoption at the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County. By reading aloud at the shelter, the kids practiced reading skills and socialized the dogs to better their adoption chances.
As part of the Apollo and the Mill Moose story, International Paper shares another of its passions with readers—forest stewardship. A responsibly managed forest is one of nature’s most powerful systems to capture carbon dioxide, purify water, and create diverse plant and animal habitats. King says the company’s mission is to ensure healthy and abundant forests by leading forest stewardship efforts globally.
One of the best methods of self promotion is creative samples that illustrate the power of print. Apollo the Spacedog and Apollo and the Mill Moose showcase the functionality and quality of ink and toner on paper as well as compelling technology that helps modernize print.
Apollo and the Mill Moose is available now through International Paper at try.accentopaque.com/apollo-and-the-mill-moose while supplies last. dps
Jan2021, DPS Magazine
augmented reality, print