James Cropper rebrands following Foldability partnership

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Thursday 20 December 2018

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Cumbrian papermaker James Cropper has launched new branding and a new-look livery for its vehicle fleet following a creative collaboration with design studio Foldability.

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The paper sculpture designs can be seen on James Cropper's 12 trailers

The company's chairman Mark Cropper approached Foldability to create a new look for the brand. The London-based design studio was founded by Scottish Designer Kyla McCallum in 2013 and uses the principles of origami and geometry across its works.

The brief for the project was for the artwork “to communicate the intrinsic beauty of James Cropper's bespoke papers, be delivered at a huge scale – the full length of an articulated truck – and to an unprecedented quality”.

“As a business, we stand for paper of the highest quality. Nearly all of our paper is custom-made to our customers’ exact orders,” said Cropper.

“We very much make unique products and with the rebrand we wanted to communicate this, and also that the quality of everything we do actually matches the level of our customers.

“The market that’s grown the most for us over the last few years is luxury packaging – we make materials for a high number of the world’s leading premium and luxury brands so it was really important to me that we look and feel at that kind of level.”

He added: “I came across Kyla's work on Instagram and it immediately struck a chord. Her work transforms a flat sheet into something dynamic and multi-dimensional that redefines the material. It is simple, but beautiful and completely authentic. The fit was perfect.”

Cropper commissioned McCallum to create four paper sculptures, each to be made from Kendal Green paper, James Cropper’s signature bespoke colour, which is based on a woollen cloth the area was famous for in the middle ages.

McCallum said: “The four paper sculptures include a total of over 10,000 lines, each one folded individually by hand. I wanted to create pieces with interesting geometric patterns that could work at the largest scale and reflect the precision and craftsmanship that James Cropper is known for.”

The final images submitted to trailer supplier Schmitz Cargobull were over 1GB each, the highest definition it had ever handled.

“Every fold and crease is visible, even the texture of the paper itself. The final result is fabulous,” said Cropper.

“The three-dimensionality is also very fitting, providing a link with our newest paper product Colourform, a fully recyclable alternative to moulded plastic.”

He added: “I was very keen our brand colour had an authentic provenance. We've been experts in colour for over 170 years and this experience is a key reason brands from all around the world choose to work with us. So, it was important our own colour was as unique and true to our roots as those we make for so many others.”

James Cropper launched its first vehicle fleet in the 1960s, replacing it in the late 1980s with livery showing a paper-cut design of the Cumbrian hills, before the James Cropper logo was placed centre stage in 2008.

The business currently operates 12 trailers, which Cropper called “the best-looking trucks on the road” following the rebrand.

For the half-year period to 29 September 2018, James Cropper reported a pre-tax profit of £1.4m, down 39% from the £2.3m recorded in the equivalent period a year earlier as it continues to be impacted by higher pulp prices.

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