Leading the GFSmith product development team, it was my role to research and deliver trend briefings into the business. Seeking new partnerships with international paper companies and developing new products formed part of a wide-reaching program of innovation.
Research trips to Japan, America and Europe led to cross-cultural analysis while visits to events such as the Salone del Mobile offered insight into a wealth of techniques and ground-breaking technologies that would inspire our product development.
In 2010, I instigated the connection with pioneering Japanese paper distributor, Takeo. In the course of a research visit to Tokyo and Osaka, we found a wealth of traditional techniques and ground-breaking paper technologies, which would inspire our European customers and complement the GFSmith range. The new papers chosen included Sukashi watermarked patterns, embossed textures, and wool and fibre finishes in a range of shades including traditional Japanese colours.
—Relaunching The Flagship
Colorplan is GFSmith’s iconic range of premium coloured papers and boards that forms the cornerstone of the portfolio. As such, it represents a high percentage of the company’s turnover. In early 2013, the leadership team developed a proposal to take product sales global, and the range was examined to ensure relevance to this wider audience. Based on knowledge gleaned from workshops and market research, and working with a team of colour specialists, I led the rationalisation of the palette; removing 10 products, and developing four new colours, resulting in a consolidated range of 50 shades.