“This is weird in a very good way,” said Barbara deWilde of the 2002 annual report for the Croatian food-production company Podravka. Bound in damask tablecloth material and wrapped in parchment paper, the report is stuffed with lavish design stunts hiding a cookbook’s worth of recipes. “It’s got tricks, but they are delightful and not gratuitous,” said deWilde. “It has humor and beautiful type, too.”
Several aspects of the book are interactive in the most analog sense: The financial section is on French-folded, perforated paper, which, when ripped open, discloses a series of recipes—for Christmas cake or shrimp croquettes, for example—set in bold red sans-serif type. A section called “Lunch Time” is printed on silver foil and contains photographs of cooking pots overprinted with bright red hearts (a reference to Podravka’s slogan, “a company with a heart”). The design surprise here is an invisible recipe printed in thermoreactive ink, which shows itself only when warmed. Readers are advised in a caption to “cook” the dish by placing a hand, or breathing heavily, on the heat-sensitive organ.
Other highlights include the company logo repeated on a page of stickers, and a gatefold portrait of Podravka’s executive board dressed in chefs’ regalia. The gatefold opens to reveal cooking tips from the top, such as “soup must always be stirred clockwise.”
Hayman praised the “immaculate production” and Geissbuhler described the multilayered narrative and trickery as “really well thought through.” DeWilde concluded: “The idea that you can make a fleeting thing like an annual report become permanent by simply adding recipes is amazing.” She added, “I’m going to retire. I love that this is graphic design.”
Established in 1995 by a pair of design students, Zagreb-based Bruketa & Zinic has grown to a 30-person advertising agency that specializes in creative communications. Last year, it was awarded the title Agency of the Year at the national advertising festival in Croatia. The company’s work has been honored by New York’s Art Directors Club, Germany’s Red Dot Award, Slovenia’s New European Advertising Festival, and Russia’s Moscow International Advertising Festival. It has been featured in Print, How, Graphis, Communication Arts, and Britain’s D&AD Annual.
Q+A with Davor Bruketa
Bruketa & Zinic
So how did you get the job?
It’s our third annual report for Podravka. The company chose us because we had experience working with large regional companies.
Does the client usually put out such creative materials?
In the past Podravka produced some of the most interesting marketing communications in this part of Europe. However, now that it’s one of the largest regional food companies, the quality of the work varies. The company is restructuring and modernizing, setting new and higher standards. We hope to have raised the bar a little with this annual report.
What was your budget?
Around $90,000. A lot of people worked on it because they thought it was a great, innovative idea, not because they got a lot of money. We didn’t hire models from casting agencies; most of them were our friends, brothers, sisters. Some of the scenes were shot in my parents’ apartment.
Is the completed project close to what you envisioned when you began?
Mostly, but we aren’t quite happy with certain details. The thermo-reactive dye doesn’t behave exactly as we wanted it to. If your hands are cold you probably won’t see all the recipes. We also wanted to include tattoos with the company’s logo, but we had to give them up because of the expense. We would have been happier if the tablecloth on the cover was of better quality. Because the local tablecloth manufacturer didn’t have enough material with the same pattern there are variations from report to report (which in the end turned out to be pretty cool).
And next year…?
Since most of Podravka’s products require cooking, we’ll try to do the entire report with thermo-reactive dye. Imagine getting a blank book with the instruction to bake it in the microwave for 15 seconds—and then the text appears. Cool!
Podravka d.d, Koprivnica, Croatia
Bruketa & Zinic, Zagreb, Croatia: Davor Bruketa, Nikola Zinic; Maren Topic (photography)
Damask tablecloth, parchment paper, silver label foil
Adobe Photoshop, Macromedia FreeHand