This blog entry we’ll dedicate to show you on video and then analyze Gmund’s Heidi Collection, one of the latest releases from this manufacturer.
But before we get to the Heidi Collection’s particular details, we’ll pay attention to what does seem irreversible: the change in format and the creativity of the swatch books with which Gmund presents its papers.
The Heidi Collection now confirms that the design that appeared on Urban was not the result of circumstances, rather it marked the beginning of a new way of presenting their collections.
Now the usual diptych brochure (15 x 21 cm) has become a triptych of 15 x 26 cm (closed format) with an insert in the central body with which two flaps holds the sheets about technical information and designs. In every design there is a half perforation of four rectangles in case it’s necessary to cut a sample. The papers appear in 4 x 4 cm chips that are attached to the cover.
In contrast the “old” version, it consists of a diptych with duplexed cover inside which are natural examples, arranged in ladder, with a generous width of about 10 cm. In A3 format, on the second page we find the sheets, glued, that correspond to the technical characteristics and a large collection of designs on the papers of the swatch book with different printing and finishing techniques.
Gmund catalogues have been a coveted creative piece not only to be cherished but to design. The Bavarian house has always had professionals and agencies that are “pretenders” who dreamed of being chosen for some of its famous collections of papers.
Hence its swatch books were so useful and wanted. The combination of quality graphic design and production helped to dispel fears and fed the imagination of creative people. Facing these first-level papers is not easy and these catalogues are very helpful.
Unfortunately all this creative boast seems doomed to disappear. With sadness and disbelief we find that the creative pages of Urban and Heidi are the same except those dedicated to offset printing. Here the images change, but otherwise text, circles and geometric forms repeat to demonstrate the behavior of stamping, emboss or screen printing, to name some examples.
A slacker and simplistic business decision that does justice neither to the trajectory nor the importance of these materials.
Still using the adjective “old” to differentiate them. Luckily, everything points towards both designs coexisting for a long time to come. Because the swatch books will have to be exhausted, adapt to very poor designs already discussed and start working on changing a total of 26 collections.
And now let’s go to the video …
Despite the disappointment of the first lines it is fair to recognize that the launch of Heidi launch is good news. In these times we regularly witness the disappearance of creative references and the fact that Gmund releases a new collection in less than a year is to be appreciated.
At first sight we see a definite penchant for the high weights. Most Gmund papers have 290/300 g and the most versatile collections include weights suitable for applications of corporate stationery. Heidi starts at 330 and adds 530 g in its four papers.
If further colors are: kraft, gray, black and off-white … it is clear that this collection is to meet the most common demands of customers today. So it seems more than obvious that Heidi is a firm commitment to the winning horse.
From the presentation texts of the swatch book it is stated that they are papers especially dedicated to letterpress. However, it is surprising to see that inside the samples correspond not only to this technique but also to offset printing … and the rest you were able to see in the video.
Strange and never before seen things in Gmund catalogues and promotional pieces are cases in which it is clear that the technique with the standard design applied does not sit well with the paper. The silver printing on the surface of Dull Black is not clean and breaks the texts and their legibility. The emboss on Faded Grey is not well defined. And for a paper dedicated to letterpress, the end result of the samples is rather shoddy. Brutal honesty or neglect?
If things on the whole are improper of the trajectory and category of this house, the last straw comes when reading the technical specifications.
Heidi is comprised of 100% recycled papers. This causes that each sheet may be different from the next one and there may even be detectable particles and impurities on the surface. This composition makes the paper machine release specks and it will be necessary to pay attention to cleaning the rubbers. Due to the difference between the finish of both sides of the sheet it is advisable to carry out the desired process on the top side.
It is fair to note that these warnings are common in average papers or paperboards that are so well liked by customers. They bring creativity to the designs but are very difficult to handle in production due to their instability. They were intended for other purposes and the combination of their toughness with the brilliance of a design and the success in the technique chosen gives them a particular beauty.
It is strange that a manufacturer recognized for the high quality of its papers and the unique creativity of many of them now is out of character with its supposed “virtues” of this kind. And it is even less justifiable that it is found in a range of premium prices.
It is sad to see how the mighty have fallen. For some time Gmund has disappointed the expectations it created with its wit, its particular philosophy of understanding paper and its legacy of brilliant collections.
A reputation earned in the day to day of a factory that at each stage of the production process has one of the most exhaustive quality controls in the market. Painstaking work that goes so far as to check each sheet one by one before forming the packets.
It is incomprehensible to lower the bar so much only to keep the price levels. Even so, we are still stubborn and do not abandon hope that Heidi, as explained in this article, and Urban, its insipid rehash of collections and papers, are occasional errors. Hopefully Gmund will turn the corner and will dazzle us again as in the past!