Another Best of Show Win for BYU
In the minutes before Brigham Young University’s case-bound photo book was chosen as the 2014 Best of Show winner, Doug Maxwell admits he had a good feeling the piece might win. But this year, when the director of BYU Print and Mail Services learned that a unique Christmas card printed by his Provo, UT, in-plant was again selected as the top winner, he was taken completely by surprise.
“This was totally unexpected,” said Maxwell, a few minutes after accepting the award last month at a ceremony in Orlando, FL.
He, like the other attendees of the recent In-plant Printing and Mailing Association conference, learned about BYU’s victory by watching a video showing the judges picking the Best of Show winner out of all the Gold winners in the offset categories. In a tight contest, BYU’s card beat a pocket folder from the Houston Independent School District after a 4-2 vote. Maxwell says he was very happy for his staff.
“They were really ecstatic about it,” he says. “They appreciate recognition when they’ve done something good.” But “good” is a major understatement. The attention to detail required to get this piece to work exactly right was phenomenal. Far from a traditional Christmas card, the four-page-plus-cover side-stitched piece is more like a booklet—a very creative booklet.
“The [Marriott] School of Management here does a funny card every year,” explains Maxwell. “They’re always very unique.”
This one shows the four deans of the school dressed in a variety of whimsical costumes—Superman, an army man, a spaceman and a Ken doll. What’s unique is that each page is split into three sections by two die cuts so that different heads can be placed on different bodies by flipping just the top portion of a page. It’s a mix-and-match game that likely provided the 8,000 card recipients with several minutes of amusement—but for BYU’s staff, the cards took a month of careful effort to get right.
“It was a very difficult piece,” reflects Maxwell. “So we took great care to put it together. Obviously the book’s not going to work unless everything is lined up right.”
It all started with a meeting between Chad Little and Robert Gardner of the Marriott School of Management and three in-plant employees: LaMont Schofield, the consultant on this job; Kelly Sanderson, bindery foreman; and Delane Donithorne, production manager. They discussed the idea for the card and Schofield and Donithorne advised the customer how to design it so it would be easier for the in-plant to produce.
Designer Jon Woidka worked closely with Schofield to create the piece. Once the file was ready to go, it was placed on the in-plant’s FTP site. Lisa Nelson retrieved it and ran proofs on the shop’s Epson proofer. Then Dave Simpson burned plates on a Fuji Saber CTP device. Ken Simmons printed the job on the in-plant’s six-color 23x32˝ Akiyama press over two days.
Then came the tricky part: matching all of the images of the deans’ bodies so they lined up perfectly. Each page had to be painstakingly trimmed and matched against the others. Donithorne went through several prototypes with the customer, going repeatedly back to the Polar 55˝ cutter to shave off 1⁄32 of an inch or in one case 1⁄128 of an inch to get the deans’ heads and shoulders to line up.
“The most complicated part was the assembly—making sure that those cuts were exactly in the same place before we stitched it,” affirms Maxwell. “If you’re off just a hair, it won’t work.”
Donithorne says he didn’t mind spending all that time making tiny changes for the customer.
“I just said, ‘we can do that“It’s a good customer. We want them to come back again next year.”
Once everyone was happy with the way the images lined up, the pages were die cut by Daniel Niu using a very old Heidelberg windmill die cutter. The covers were creased with a Morgana creaser, operated by Donithorne, and folded on an MBO B-26 folder, run by John Killpack. The four pages with the deans’ images were tucked into the fold.
Each book was then side stitched with a Challenge dual head stitcher operated by student worker Emily Barton (granddaughter of the legendary West Barton). A second crease just to the right of the staples allowed the card to open easily. When the job was finished, the images of the four deans on all 8,000 cards lined up perfectly, so recipients could flip the top portion of the first page and put a different dean’s head on Superman’s body. The customer was very pleased, Donithorne says.
For his part, Maxwell says he had minimal involvement in the award-winning piece. He trusts his quality-focused staff, and they did not disappoint him.
“I have complete confidence in what they do,” he proclaims.
The new Best of Show trophy will be placed in a showcase in the in-plant’s front office, Maxwell says, alongside BYU Print and Mail Services’ other three Best of Show awards.
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.