Swedish company releases Christmas card with 44,000 variations!

Iggesund's 2016 Christmas Card has 44,000 variations.
Iggesund’s 2016 Card has 44,000 variations.

Iggesund Paperboard is part of the Swedish forest industry group Holmen, one of the world’s 100 most sustainable companies listed on the United Nations’ Global Compact Index. Its flagship product, Invercote, is sold in more than 100 countries. The company also has a tradition of producing incredibly sophisticated Christmas cards. This year, Iggesund created a snowflake that can be folded in several thousand variations, featuring crystal white to winter blue colours. The card consists of seven die-cut snowflakes with each side printed with a different pattern. These 14 variations can then be folded to create more than 44,000 different patterns!

The design is the brainchild of German artist Peter Dahmen, who in recent years has specialized in digital finishing, often together with Israeli print finishing OEM Highcon. The snowflake is actually created by the card’s recipient, who then encloses it in a card made of Invercote Metalprint 359 g/m2 with shades of cyan printed on metal foil with the traditional Christmas greeting on the reverse side.

Peter Dahmen.
Peter Dahmen.

“Digital finishing is an exciting field and Iggesund’s Christmas card is one of the most sophisticated commissions I’ve done in this area,” said Dahmen. “In theory, the project could be done using traditional die-cutting tools – but with an edition of this size, that would be much more expensive – because then you have to remove the excess strips of paperboard manually.” Highcon design engineer Yaron Eshel supported Dahmen in the creative process.

“I got the idea for the card the night before I was to fly to Israel,” Dahmen explained. “I was having trouble getting to sleep, but when the idea came to me I had to jump out of bed and write it down before it went out of my head.” During the flight the next day, he refined the drawings on his iPad and showed them to Eshel on arrival. “When he said it could be done using Highcon’s process, the basics fell into place.”

Dahmen has worked both with digital and traditional die-cutting and creasing and is very familiar with all the techniques. But he said that digital technology makes it possible to do more meticulous adjustments at the last minute. “After you get the cutting tool and see how it functions, you may realize your idea won’t work quite the way you’d thought, or that a few more adjustments would raise the quality of the end result. Digital technology gives me, as a designer, greater freedom because usually there’s no time to wait for a mechanical adjustment to the cutting tool.”

Anna Adler.
Anna Adler.

Iggesund Paperboard’s motive for producing sophisticated Christmas cards is not only to send an elegant greeting to its customers. “We’re actively looking for new solutions and techniques, or innovative uses of traditional methods, that can inspire our customers around the world,” said Iggesund Paperboard’s Project Manager Anna Adler, who has about a dozen such cards to her credit so far. “The Christmas card is a printed sample which shows what people can achieve with our paperboards – Invercote and Incada. This year’s Christmas card made of Invercote from Iggesund Paperboard can be enjoyed in more than 44,000 different ways,” she added.

Iggesund was founded as an iron mill in 1685, but has been making paperboard for more than 50 years. The two mills, in northern Sweden and northern England, employ about 1,500 people.


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.