Hm, we would need a flyer, a catalogue, anything. To showcase our company and our projects. Hm. A boring old print document, folded and stapled in some way, was out of the question. It had to be something a bit special. And it had to be related to our slogan IDENTITY, HANDCRAFTED in some way.
First, we set about dealing with the content and the topic of IDENTITY. That was mostly done using large full-page portraits of our staff – because they make up the identity of our company. We didn’t want to write all that much, but we still wanted to look at the topic of identity from different angles. And so we developed ten statements, short and to the point, about brand strategy:
100% genuine – the intrinsic properties of the brand.
We asked a former German secret service agent and a bona fide agency man, who was once a church musician and a conductor, to talk to us about identity. “The most important thing for a successful relationship – including between brands and target groups – is for you to make basic decisions” and “Aspire to the extraordinary, the unique, to what you do better than anyone else” – these are our favourite sentences from the two essays. The crowning glory of the identity game are cards of photos of projects (i.e. our customers’ identities that we have designed and built), which are in an integrated drawer at the end of the book.
The HANDCRAFTED theme is reflected in the design of the book: the drawer, the open binding, the high-quality finish and of course the cover. We soon knew that we want a cover with a handcrafted look. Wood was too simple for us and too ordinary. Paper with a stone, wood or metal look and feel was too inauthentic for us. And so the only option we had left was to make the cover ourselves. And we wanted our cover to rust.
First we tried transferring rust onto paper. We added hydrochloric acid to metal and pressed a stamp onto the paper. The paper absorbed the rust only partially and superficially. We weren’t convinced by the result and it wouldn’t have been suitable for serial production, either. Then the boys from the paint shop had the idea to try a paint that oxidises and changes its colour. That’s what we did, and after many, many tests we figured it out: paper that rusts!
The nice thing about the rusting cover is that no two books look the same. Every book has its own identity, which in turn matches our logo. And people are always surprised by it, because you never usually see such a finish. Each time we hand over a book we attach a small vignette to the cover page using a mini magnet with the book’s limited edition number on it – for example 21/500. Once the recipient realises that the cardboard is magnetic, questions are asked – and we can talk about the story of its origin.