Like much of Canada, British Columbia can lay claim to more than a few eccentric characters in its nearly 150-year history – people who blazed their own trails regardless of what their contemporaries thought of them at the time. It is these beat-of-a-different-drummer types whom Mitchell Press chose to honor in “Creative Pioneers: 06 Truly Unbelievable Stories,” a journal with Smyth sewn binding that is part history book, part journal for today’s dreamers.
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Digitally printed on the company’s Kodak NEXPRESS on 70 lb. Domtar Lynx paper, this 136-page volume was bestowed upon friends and clients at the beginning of January “to provide a launchpad for creativity, to generate ideas and create a fresh start and conversations for the new year,” Mitchell Press’ Scott Gray explains. “This comes after all the craziness of the Christmas holidays and competition for your attention. We wanted to get back to basics, be present with our thoughts and challenge the reader to do the same.”
Right away this book impresses with an eminently touchable cover courtesy of a 60 pt. board wrapped with Orange Verona fabric, its title hot foil stamped on the front, back and spine in Black and Gold.
Inside, modern, tongue-in-cheek illustrations by John Belisle and Adam Rogers vividly bring to life stories about half a dozen historical personalities from the province’s illustrious past – including its first official lifeguard, Seraphim Joseph Fortes, and pioneer “Cougar Annie” – written by John Belisle and Sebastien Wilcox.
The full-page illustrations for each entry are actually made up of many smaller ones that Mitchell Press has used for wrapping paper, cards, and other creations. John also worked closely with them to ensure that there were ample blank pages left between each story for recipients to jot down their own ideas.
Speaking of stories, you might wonder if the ones contained herein are true-to-life or more like tall tales.
“With respectful recognition and thanks to our indigenous hosts who have thousands of incredible stories, we decided to poke a little fun at how ‘we’ think we’ve been here so long in beautiful British Columbia,” Scott reveals. “We...had a little fun by embellishing their history to include creativity. Is it 100% true? Well, maybe 85%. OK 83%…” This combination of playfulness, humility (and a dash of utilitarianism) is uniquely Canadian, which is rather the point, I think.
The Elegance of Smyth Sewn Binding The whole piece is elegantly casebound with Smyth sewn binding, THE binding method for those books that will see repeated use, need to lay open flat, as well as when you want to communicate a sense of high quality. (Scott notes that traditional case binding has become Mitchell Press’ calling card since their recent acquisition of North West Book Operating Company, one of the Pacific Northwest’s most award-winning case binderies – so they do it all in-house now.) Custom end sheets featuring maps and charts created by Vancouver, B.C.’s namesake, Capt. George Vancouver himself, printed in Digital Metallic Gold ink, complete this snazzy look.
“Creative Pioneers” is that rare thing – a perfect “leave behind” that’s certain to be kept within easy reach for years to come.
Sabine Lenz is the founder of PaperSpecs.com, the first online paper database and community specifically designed for paper specifiers.
Growing up in Germany, Sabine started her design career in Frankfurt, before moving to Australia and then the United States. She has worked on design projects ranging from corporate identities to major road shows and product launches. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, her list of clients included Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Deutsche Bank, IBM and KPMG.
Seeing designers struggle worldwide to stay current with new papers and paper trends inspired Sabine to create PaperSpecs, an independent and comprehensive Web-based paper database and weekly e-newsletter. She is also a speaker on paper issues and the paper industry. Some refer to her lovingly as the "paper queen" who combines her passion for this wonderful substrate called paper with a hands-on approach to sharing her knowledge.