Die cut print adds a perfect finish to Shine 2017

die cut print

High summer in our calendar always means the completion of a project we are particularly fond of – the winners book of the Shine School Media Awards. It’s our fourth year working on Shine and each time we try and bring a fresh perspective to it – and this year I was really keen to try die cut print… which, as you can see, did indeed happen. However, I am getting ahead of myself. This endeavour is a true team effort. We give our time to Shine, effectively sponsoring the awards scheme, as do our brilliant collaborators – Denmaur Independent Papers and Pureprint. Once again, they were on board,  so we went for it – and I am really pleased with the end result.


First the paper…

Looking back, I think the big package of paper samples that Denmaur sent over in February or March was probably rather daunting. Where to begin… and how to translate these samples into our book project?

Andy, our collaborator at Denmaur was really keen we did something really different. He wanted to know if we could possibly use three different stocks. Three?! How? He suggested a pull-out section… but… what would that consist of?


However the answer came in the form of the process – I wondered if using die cut print in the design and a new ‘section’ of the book which used a coloured paper and literally ‘shone’ through could be the answer.

We started by thinking about using green. That’s the lead colour of the brand and in fact we had a few samples made up… but the more we looked at it the more we felt something wasn’t quite right. It just had to be yellow.

We also wanted to play with differing finishes – so the cover itself is a Fabriano Cocktail paper with a silver metallic sheen. This is then contrasted with an uncoated interior sheet of Colorit Buttercup Yellow. We were keen that the image-led content pages were as rich and colourful as possible, so used UPM Finesse Silk for this internal text section.



The Shine School Media Awards Winners Book – with die cut print on the front cover


… then the layout

Once we had figured out our format and our print approach from a technical perspective, the next step was considering just how much to change the design of a book which has evolved gradually over the last four years.

In the event, the spec of the paper lead the way as we laid out the pages in this year’s design.

As a starting point, we decided to only print black on the yellow internal cover meaning the Shine logo was visible through the bold, cut out cover typography. Then at the back of the book, the yellow sheet is used for listing the Special Awards and an article by Blogosphere editor Alice Audley – who was also a keynote speaker at the prizegiving itself.

Running with our yellow theme, we then included broad panels of colour throughout the book which, with extra pages, meant that the finished design had more white space and a clearer use of type than has been possible before.

With the additional sheets, it also meant we could include what feels like a broader introduction to the book with contents, a welcome and a series of quotes about the Awards themselves and inspiring quotes from Condé Nast director Nicholas Coleridge and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.


The Shine School Media Awards Winners Book – with die cut print on the front cover

The Shine School Media Awards Winners Book – with die cut print on the front cover

The Shine School Media Awards Winners Book – with die cut print on the front cover


… and our die cut print job

The icing on the cake, the thing that strikes you right away about this book, the main event from a technical perspective – is our use of die cut print on this project. And that’s all thanks to the kind donation of time and resources by Kensett, a specialist print finishing company in Kent.

It’s not often we have the chance to work with this technique and it must be said, it’s quite exhilirating to work on a design that we can imagine to an extent but never actually be able to fully see until it’s done. Actually, make that nervewracking!

In the event, each book had to be finished by hand rather than bound by machine lest the pages got caught as they were folded and stitched, something I think is rather wonderful. Each copy has received its own care and attention.

That sort of approach feels only right given the effort put into their publications and websites by the Shine Awards entrants themselves. And in truth, there’s a real pleasure to feel ‘in competiton’ with them as we work on this project.


The Shine School Media Awards Winners Book – with die cut print on the front cover


Find out more about this project

Read about our work on Shine’s logo, website and short promotional film below;

Our Shine School Media Awards portfolio

Visit the Shine School Media Awards website