‘British Pop Archive’ Invitation Suite

When the best and brightest were invited to the opening of the new British Pop Archive in May 2022, organizers wanted to make it clear that their collection wasn’t just another celebration of The Beatles, Doctor Who and the like.

Instead, many of the items housed at the University of Manchester’s John Rylands Research Institute and Library relate to music, television, and counter-culture publications produced in that industrial English city.

Designed by Studio DBD and produced by Lancashire Foil & Print, the invitation suite for the opening of the British Pop Archive “pops” impressively.

Its secret? It manages to capture both the glamor and radicalism reflected in the collection through vivid colors and a surprising use of Foilco [projects/ website] foil that is every bit as edgy as the arts it celebrates.

Let’s start with the tuck-sleeve folder which consists of a 270 gsm (180 lb.) GF Smith Colorplan Mandarin sheet made even more vibrant with the addition of a large, Neon Orange Hot Foil star.

Not only is the design a powerful reminder of the counter-culture of the era that much of the archive covers, but the Orange foil on Orange stock also contrasts sharply with the large Silver foil asterisk, as well as the Black words and logo mark…which are also 100% Hot Foil Stamped!

That’s right, all the Black “printing” is actually Black foil, meaning – you guessed it – much of the foil here is overprinted with other foils!

(If you’re a PaperSpecs PRO member, you’ll know all about this cutting-edge technique, which we covered in a recent members-only Deep Dive with Foilco’s Matt Hornby.)

The registration is so super-tight, the gradations between Black and Orange foils are absolutely breathtaking. This is especially true of the circular, album-like graphics, which are nods to the bands represented in the archive, including Joy Division and Buzzcocks.

Undoing the tab-and-slot closure on the back of the folder reveals it to be a simple cross fold; lifting the panels provides a dramatic unveiling of the colorful invitation inside. And what an invitation it is.

Two sheets of Colorplan Pistachio were duplex laminated together to create a chunky, double-thick invitation. This not only provides a lovely Light Green shade on the front, but also along the double-thick edges, too. (Had they simply flooded a White sheet with color, the sides would’ve remained distractingly White.)

And thanks to the lighter background, the Neon Orange foil star and Black foil words “pop” even more, with the 8-pointed compass-star logo glimpsed in the “British Pop Archive” name even more prominent here.

(The North and West points of the star are extended slightly to acknowledge the archive’s focus on, and location in, the Northwestern part of England.) On the back of the invitation, the archive opening date and RSVP information is offset printed in Black.

Also inside the folder is a small, Saddle-Stitched booklet offset printed on 140 gsm (94 lb.) uncoated colored stock. It features a brief explanation of the archive, along with pull quotes from noted Manchester pop culture luminaries such as The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. Circular graphic elements throughout tie it all back to the folder and invitation branding.

As you can see, the use of colored foils doesn’t just make your design “pop.” In the right hands it can make it positively explode with vibrancy. And when you want to get people’s attention, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Project Details

Title British Pop Archive Invitation Suite Client University of Manchester’s John Rylands Research Institute and Library Date April 2022 Design StudioDBD Print Lancashire Foil & Print Limited
Paper GF Smith Colorplan

Production Details

Dimensions Tuck Sleeve Folder: 215 mm x 155 mm (8.5” x 6.1”) Print Quantity 500 Production Cost £2,500 (~$3,156) Production Time 2 weeks Printing Method Offset Number of Colors 1 Finishing and Binding Die Cutting, Hot Foil Stamping, Saddle Stitch binding
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