It includes white, neon and clear toners, foils and an extraordinary range of papers from Favini. Each week of the year has a separate leaf recalling an event that had taken place in that week in graphic style. “It is intended to show what is possible in digital print to creatives because most agencies out there are not aware that you can use white, neon pink and neon yellow, clear toners and foils. That general awareness is not good,” says Andy Campbell, Ricoh's application and innovation manager.
Over the years, printers have told designers that white is not possible in digital printing and those designers have learned not to specify something that is now highly feasible he continues. Ricoh is taking on that educational role. It printed 1,000 copies of the calendar initially, 200 being distributed at an event in the Customer Experience Centre in Telford and 350 presented to Favini for its marketing purposes. Others have gone to printers to show their customers what can be achieved with the press. “It is simply an inspirational piece that is on a desktop for a year,” says Campbell. “It’s intended to be thought provoking.
As well as the Ricoh press, a Kurz Digital Metal foiler was used to apply the different foils over or beneath print to create the different effects. Each has to go through the press to lay down the toner to which the foil will adhere. This places a demand for accurate registration on the press when applying foil to detailed areas and where multiple passes are needed. The evidence is that the press is up to this.
Precise registration is also needed for textured effects or where white is needed to provide a base on coloured paper to give the finished four-colour print a stronger lift.
The whole approach is to highlight that printers can create something that will appeal to designers and creatives, and that for the relatively short runs involved, the extra value is met by extra revenue. "There is a willingness to pay for this sort of print in the market," says Campbell.
The art lies in the story at time. Favini, he says, is known for creating papers featuring elements from unusual sources. When it offered fashion houses papers including algae from the Venica Lagoon there was a lukewarm response, but when the same customers were offered Remake papers derived in part from waste leather, a material closely linked to the fashion industry, the affinity was strong.
Printers need to grasp the nettle, he adds, explaining his own experience of asking printers to print a white logo on red cast coated paper for an event Ricoh was staging. Seven of them refused even to quote the job, while the last said it would be possible on a UV press – but not on the paper he wanted to use. "A lot of printers will not use so called creative papers, so the creative designers are not getting the job that they want in the first place and end up with something that they didn't want," Campbell says.
The work that Ricoh is doing, the calendar at the forefront, is intended to show that printers can give creatives what they want on the papers they want.
Check the panels on the right for Campbell’s guide to some of his favourite weeks of the year.
The folder and display stand for the calendar is all about the foil. There are four foils used: gold for the main title, red for Ricoh's logo, blue for the shadow and name of the project and silver for the lines representing a circuit board.
The paper used is 380gsm (the press is specified to 360gsm) comprising 15% waste leather in the pulp. The cover includes a stand to display the page for each week.
Story 1 of 5
For Halloween week, Ricoh has used an image from the USA Library of Congress on orange paper, foiled for the moon and printed in CMYK on top. After that a clear toner creates a subtle spot varnish effect.
Had Ricoh's new invisible toner been available at the time of printing, Andy Campbell says that he would have used this to pick out the eyes on the cat and the pumpkin to add another level of interest.
Story 2 of 5
The week of Mozart's birthday is celebrated with a stave of music in foil with CMYK and white printed on Favini's Remake Midnight 380gsm.
There was a white laid to be softened for the foil to give a better print effect when CMYK was printed on top. The figures are a single pass of Ricoh's white toner with the Saturday picked out in foil.
Story 3 of 5
Jacques Cousteau's birthday is picked out in blue foil on Favini Burano Prussian Blue paper. This apparently simple image, from Graphic River, required six passes through the press.
Black was printed for blue and silver foil to adhere to; then white for the dates and text, then the neon yellow, neon pink and then clear toner – "all on a €70,000 digital press, that's not bad".
Story 4 of 5
The opening of the Sydney Opera House is celebrated in October with print and foil on Favini's Prima 1s textured paper in Mandarin.
The image began as a stock photo, turned through 90º with the distinctive lines of the opera house picked out in foil lines.
The job also required white on top of CMYK to achieve the lizard and lines from indigenous Australian art.
Story 5 of 5