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The HP Indigo press 5500 meets traditional bookbinding


HP Indigo and hand binding create unique photo books


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Art meets technology

Photographer Phyllis Lane began shooting weddings several years ago and wanted to present her work in a unique way. When she couldn't find a source to help deliver on her vision, she and her husband, Rodrigo Coelho, created their own solution. Today, their online company, COUTURE BOOK, combines high-quality photos printed on the HP Indigo Press 5500 with customized, hand-sewn bookbinding.

"In the fashion industry, the word 'couture' means one-of-a-kind, hand-sewn garments," said Lane, who also does high-end fashion photography. "Our books will carry the couture message—that is, one-of-a-kind, hand-sewn, custom books."

HP quality rivals offset

Phyllis Lane
"Of the digital printing technologies available today, HP is head and shoulders above the rest."

Phyllis Lane,
professional photographer and owner, COUTURE BOOK
Lane and Coelho realized they could turn Lane's portfolio idea into a business and fill a niche with other high-end photographers. They also knew that the highest-quality printing would be critical to their success.

That's why they chose the HP Indigo press 5500.

"We evaluated two other leading digital presses, but we didn't like them because of the shine you get in photos with heavy toner coverage," Coelho said. "A lot of our photos have heavy black coverage, which produces shininess that distracts from the overall impact." With COUTURE BOOK, Lane and Coelho wanted to emulate offset print quality to produce books worthy of presenting the best photographers' work.

Lane and Coelho called upon direct marketing agency and digital printer R and R Images in Phoenix to help. Having worked with R and R Images on other projects, Lane and Coelho knew the company would be perfect for achieving the level of quality digital printing they want for COUTURE BOOK.

The HP Indigo press 5500 uses liquid ink rather than toner and a six-color ink system, including light cyan and light magenta, to produce photo-realistic colors and tonality. The press also features HP DreamColor Technologies, which ensures color accuracy and consistency from print to print.

"Of the digital printing technologies available today, HP is head and shoulders above the rest," Lane said. "With six-color printing and smaller dot size, you get a more continuous feel with smoother skin tones and richer colors."

"In some ways, HP Indigo presses exceed the quality of offset," Coelho said. "If you look closely at offset printing, you can distinguish the dot patterns. But the dots are all but invisible in images printed on the new HP Indigo presses."

High-end photos with a unique edge

Pages are hand sewn and gathered for the binding, using a technique that allows the page to lie flat
Pages are hand sewn and gathered for the binding, using a technique that allows the page to lie flat.
In addition to the outstanding photo quality, traditional, handmade bindings help set COUTURE BOOK apart. These photo books highlight the old-world art of bookbinding, featuring richly embossed, hand-engraved leather covers; handmade papers with decorative edges; and hand-sewn bindings.

Lane and Coelho collaborate with a 40-year-old, family-owned bindery to produce the photo books. The company, one of the few in the United States that employs traditional bookbinding artisans, now has dedicated part of its facility to COUTURE BOOK production.

The HP Indigo press 5500 supports a broad media portfolio, giving COUTURE BOOK customers more options for creative expression in their photo books. COUTURE BOOK offers several different photo book lines, including the Italian line, with 100-pound cream-felt pages and hand-torn edges; the Himalayan line, with handmade Nepalese paper; and the French line, with a velvet cover.

Pages are hand sewn and gathered for the binding, using a technique that allows the page to lie flat when the book is opened. Books are available in three sizes (8 x 8 inches, 8 x 10 inches and 8.5 x 6 inches) and can be up to 300 pages in length.

"We offer a wide variety of choices in these standards," Lane said. "But from the design to the binding, customers also can create something that's non-standard, so it's truly a one-of-a-kind, hand process."

Powered by HP

Powered by HP
At the COUTURE BOOK website, www.couturebook.com, customers can upload photos for a book, then either use an online design engine to lay out pages or arrange to work with a Couture Concierge to enlist a professional designer. Lane and Coelho use HP DL 380 servers to power the COUTURE BOOK site.

"The cost and quality of the HP hardware cannot be beat," Coelho said. The easily scalable servers give COUTURE BOOK the ability to process and temporarily store hundreds of gigabytes of photos prior to printing.

Lane anticipates that COUTURE BOOK, in addition to gaining fans among her peers in the photographic and graphic design communities, will appeal to newlyweds looking for a unique wedding album; corporate marketers who need high-quality presentation books, architectural books and design portfolios; and even style-conscious consumers at high-end boutiques.

"These are books that will be valuable treasures to people for the rest of their lives. They are meant to last generations," Lane said.