It’s a yearly tradition, the calendar of Zwaan print media. The calendar is a gift for clients of Zwaan printmedia and is always distributed in december. In 2011 it is made for the 29th time. And every year the calendar is designed by a different designer.
For the 2012 edition, Maarten Dullemeijer and Rob Stolte from design agency Autobahn experimented on the boundaries of materials. From their initiative of the Green Quotation (groeneofferte.nl - Dutch only) Autobahn felt a necessity to inspire fellow designers and to show wich sustainable choices there are to be made as a graphic designer.
A challenging goal
At Zwaan print media, sustainability and corporate social responsibility are given a high priority. They have several ISO standards and are FSC and PEFC certified. They strive to complete the chemical-free and CO2-neutral production within a few years. A very challenging ambition. An ambition which Autobahn can identify with and wants to contribute to by making a calendar that supports and promotes these ambitions.
Sustainability means making conscious choices
It was never the intention of Autobahn to design the most sustainable calendar ever. That is – in our opinion – impossible and was not our goal. Consciously dealing with (sustainable) design choices is the starting point of this calendar. As a designer, this will give you insight into the production of a design. On the one hand you can choose to do something and to not do something on the other hand. It's to find a balance, because if you produce something you’re bound to pollute anyway. By crossing things of the equation you 'may' afford yourself a little:
We chose to make paper from natural cutting waste to 'allow ourselves' to be able to lasercut the calendarium. By choosing an appropriate edition of this paper in order to reduce waste we 'permitted ourselves' to emboss the writing area on the calendarium. The calendar is printed with organic inks, we tried to produce as locally as possible, minimize material use and we chose papers with unique environmental performances. This makes the calendar a repository of design choices. Choices that are transferred by using the calendar, and hopefully find their way into the practice of the designer.
Papermaking and paper choice
A true inspiration calendar, that challenges to make choices. The idea inspired Autobahn to create completely new natural papers. We have personally collected twelve different kinds of natural products from the City Landscaping Department in Utrecht. With the pruning waste we had a range of materials to create the calendar sheets. Each sheet has its own material related to the months of the year. In the Middelste Molen, one of the last two paper mills still operating in the Netherlands, Pieter the miller and his team of volunteers used their traditional methods to create twelve very special natural papers for the 2012 Zwaan-calendar.
Besides the 12 unique papers produced by the Middelste Molen, we offer a peak into regular paper on sale by vendors. Behind each calendar page is a paper with unique sustainable performances. One such example is made entirely from recycled paper fibers, another of algae from the lagoon of Venice, a third is completely tree free and made from limestone, and so on. You can read on each page of the calendar what environmental performance these papers contain. The papers are presented to illustrate the wide range of possibilities in the field of materials for designers nowadays.
Understanding the production of a design
What we have not (been able) to give insight into, is the production of the calendar. As a designer, we make thousands choices during the design process, but we do not always dwell on all the actions that must be completed to achieve a particular design. This is because many printers are working with subcontractors such embossers, binders, lasercutters and others. Designers often do not have time to stand around the machine. Therefore we made a film to show what actions are taken behind the scenes to achieve the result of the Zwaan-calendar 2012. By making this film, it gave us more insight into what certain choices meant as our design was being produced.
Sustainable choice as a user
The calendar is designed so that it can be used in two ways. It is up to the user to make the following choice: "Will I use it as a reminder note calendar for 2012 or do I use it as a birthday calendar?" If the note calendar is chosen, then you can put the calendar on the wall straight out of the box. The days, weekends and holidays are visible and have their own color code.
However, for the birthday calendar you’ll have to rotate the back covers 180 ° so the colors that indicate the weekends and holidays are not used and the calendar can be used for many years in a row.
Printing: Zwaan print media
Embossing: Verhil Foliedruk
Lasercut: Laser ID
Box: Argent displays and packaging
Printing box: Helder Zeefdruk
Packing: Van Velzen grafische afwerking
Paper: De Middelste Molen
Video: Niels Mud