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Last week I was fortunate to attend Sappi’s The Standard 5: Special Effects event presenting the newest edition of The Standard (Enlarged Cover Photo to Left), a resource for designers and printers. A packed house greeted me at SVA Theater as the buzz of conversation overflowed out onto the street through the open theater doors and passing New Yorkers paused mid stride to peer in and try to catch a glimpse inside. Held partly as a benefit for 826 National, “a network of nonprofit tutoring, writing and publishing centers for students, aged 6–18, each connected to a wacky street-front store,” the evening exceeded initial expectations of a typical promotional event, highlighting the fantastic work done by 826 National and providing a healthy dose of inspiration accompanied by wine and hors d’oeuvres.

The program opened with Gerald Richards, CEO, 826 National saying a few words and reading a short story written by one of the program’s students entitled “2012, or is it?” taking the audience on a surreal, comical adventure alongside protagonist Party Boy VIP, whose mission was to travel back in time in order to thwart the plans of his nemesis Evil Randall 2. The story, complete with a knockout laser gun and ice cream-powered time machine perfectly illustrated how 826 National helps students express their creativity. Next, Patti Groh, marketing director, Sappi Fine Paper North America briefly spoke about how The Standard 5: Special Effects was intended to “test limits of creativity,” explaining how “The techniques demonstrated in Standard 5 show the innovative ways that designers can make printing on paper a multisensory experience,” Groh also expanded on Sappi’s reason for supporting 826 National and described how the organization’s “superstore” student centers acted as inspiration for The Standard 5’s visual theme of pirates, superheroes, robots and supernatural creatures.

Kit-Speakingg.jpgDesign legend Kit Hinrichs (Featured Left) followed. Hinrichs, formerly of Pentagram and founder of Studio Hinrichs, designed The Standard 5 and presented a look inside the design process behind the book as well as the book itself. He talked about how The Standard 5 was “Not just about ink on paper but the importance of the world outside the monitor” and “All types of other ways we use to communicate.” In relating what prompted him to work on the project he described the opportunity as a “perfect storm” bringing together his passion for creating with “social aspects of the business” and showed the evolution of the images featured in The Standard from concept sketches to final illustrations. Hinrichs also explained how “special effects frequently take the most obvious [approach] instead of enhancing the idea” as he spoke about the rationale behind each special effects choice made for the book. Some of the special effect highlights included lenticular printing, special foil stamps, flocking and an example of augmented reality (AR) technology, illustrating one of many ways “print and digital are increasingly intertwined and mutually supportive…”

Sam-Pottss1.jpgAside from the fascinating process and special effects, Hinrich’s also discussed the unique role custom illustration and photography played in the project. Describing the collaboration between himself and photographer Terry Heffernan on the snake and skull image at the back of the book as well as how each of the illustrators, Bill Sanderson, Patrick Hruby, Dugald Stermer, Mick Wiggins, Nancy Stahl, John Hersey, Beppe Giacobbe, Jeffrey West, Ann Field, Lou Brooks, Regan Dunnick, John Mattos, Brynn Metheney, Tim Lewis and Jack Unruh, brought their own style to the images.

Image: Sam Potts

During Hinrichs presentation I was struck by the ways in which his design process echoed qualities that go into teaching creative writing to kids—collaboration, openness and imagination, qualities that also seem reflective of Sappi’s corporate ethos. A sentiment reflected by 826 National CEO, Gerald Richards statement that “Sappi Fine Paper North America shares our passion for inspiring creativity, and, taking this mission to heart…”

All in all, Sappi’s Standard 5 event served not only to showcase The Standard 5 Special Effects edition but also a worthy organization and the value of the creative process. The evening ended on a high note with a conversation with Kit Hinirchs, Sam Potts and Gerald Richards. All attendees received a complimentary copy of the latest Standard Volume 5 and a limited-edition poster signed by Jack Unruh. Twenty thousand dollars was raised for 826 National. Future Sappi events can be found on Sappi’s events page here. Look for more on 826 National in an upcoming article.