HP Indigo and the 2,000 Heinekens that Emily Forgot

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HP Graphics Solutions Business

Printers and designers are known for appreciating compelling artwork and fine libations, which is why HP Indigo didn’t find itself short of friends at the Interpack packaging show in May. Visitors to their booth were treated to a daily Happy Hour featuring Heineken beer in one of 2,000 unique blue bottles, thanks to the modern miracle of HP Indigo’s variable-data digital printing technology.

Designed by Silas Amos, each bottle featured random samples from whimsical artwork created by Emily Alston (AKA Emily Forgot). Like much of Emily’s work for such clients as Harrods, Selfridges and Herman Miller, the art she came up with for the bottles is playful, unexpected, surreal, and in at least one instance, has “a screw loose.”

“We were looking to find a fun way to communicate the reinvention of packaging,” Emily explains in the video above. “I quite like looking at forms or seeing something else in them.”

And that’s really what HP’s cutting-edge SmartStream Mosaic software is all about – it’s like a deep dive into an artist’s unconscious. Working from one or more pieces of master artwork, it picks up random elements from them and prints those on an HP Indigo Digital Press. This results in individually unique products – no two items are exactly alike. In recent years this versatile combination of Mosaic and HP Indigo presses has been put to use in a number of extraordinary ways, including:

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But you don’t have to print hundreds of thousands of items to take advantage of Mosaic’s versatility. Because they are digital, HP Indigo presses are extremely cost effective for short print runs.

In the case of the 2,000 Heineken bottles, Emily created one master illustration – what appears to be a delightfully bonkers riff on MC Escher’s famous lithograph print “Relativity” – the one with all the staircases.

“I always use Adobe Illustrator,” she explains, “especially for something like this project. It lends itself really well in terms of working in a complex enough way to know that it would translate well for Mosaic.” To further customize the bottles, they were numbered from 1 to 2,000 using fun illustrations that Emily created for the numerals zero through 9.

In addition to the Heineken packaging, Emily’s designs were applied to everything from T-shirts and notebooks to tote bags and even fingernail art.

“The HP Indigo printing process is really exciting – it’s really nice to have been working digitally on my screen and then finally see the finished result and the really lovely print quality,” says the artist, before adding with a chuckle: “I’m trying to think now of what other projects I could do with it.”

HP will be showcasing these samples and many others at Pack Expo in Las Vegas, Sept. 25-27. You are invited to HP’s event there – please register here. You are also welcome to visit HP throughout the expo at the lower South Hall, Booth 6507.

And to see how this revolutionary technology can help YOU make one-of-a-kind creations that get noticed, check out hp.com/go/graphic-arts.

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