Every one the same, Every one different by HP x Smirnoff


Last Thursday evening Emma & I headed to Bermondsey for a mysterious but exciting event with HP and Smirnoff. In all honesty, we didn’t really know what we’d rsvped to attend BUT as you know, we’re suckers for bright colours and patterns so the jazzy invite had us intrigued from the get go. Are we easily persuaded or what? Arriving at the venue we were greeted by these amazingly colourful posters, and that was JUST the beginning!

Graphic Designers, pattern addicts and tech geeks alike, join me on a magical evening…

HP D4D LaunchHP Smartstream D4D Yarza Twins

Inside the converted garage we found more and more amazing examples of colour and pattern which we later found out were courtesy of the Yarza Twins… I’ll explain in a bit though. Bold patterns were everywhere: the walls, the floor, the tables, the bar – it was AMAZING! We were pretty giddy from the pattern overload, and that’s even before any vodka!

HP Smartstream D4D

Admittedly Emma was being well behaved as it was a school night, but I had a cocktail or two… just to make sure the patterns hadn’t affected the Smirnoff or anything, y’know. Best to be safe 😉 Don’t worry, it still tasted good.

Dotted around the room were some giant cut outs of different crazy characters, and when I say giant they were even taller than 10ft tall Emma just to give you an idea of the scale. Ok, Emma’s not really 10ft, but still they were big. At this point we still weren’t sure what part the characters played in the evening but we guessed they might be important…

HP Smartstream D4D Launch

And just so you know, we don’t always wear matching outfits… on purpose.

Then the music stopped and the stage filled with creatives – it was time for the big reveal.

The big d4d reveal

HP Graphic Arts

To explain and showcase the capabilities of the new plugin HP had enlisted the help of some amazing creatives: Emily Forgot, Supermundane, David Shillinglaw and the Yarza Twins.

Each creative talked us through their experience of using Smartstream D4D and showed us their outcome which had been translated into 150 unique prints for everyone at the launch to take home. My unique set of prints (#134 of 150) are below…

Ok, but what is HP SmartStream D4D?

Basically it’s a super clever plugin for Adobe Illustrator which can enable designers to create the maximum unique outputs without a lot of faff. So, for example: Supermundane created one vector pattern which HP D4D then translated into 150 random different crops – a variety of rotations and zooms. You can set the parameters (quantity, zoom levels etc) and then sit back and let D4D do the work for you. D4D stands for Designer for Designer btw.

Introduced by Silas Amos (who seemed to be a cool guy), Emily Forgot talked through her piece first (and I found a video for you guys to watch)…

… followed by Supermundane and David Shillinglaw…

… and finally The Yarza Twins; Eva and Marta.

To demonstrate the ease and speed of using HP D4D the crowd voted between 2 posters and the HP team printed 150 unique versions of it before we headed home. I can confirm that it did happen and they were all very different – naturally Emma & I flicked through to pick our faves to take home!

So, what’s the link with Smirnoff you might be thinking? Well the Yarza Twins had used the Smirnoff bottle as the canvas for their D4D experiments:

HP Smartstream D4D x SmirnoffHP Yarza Twins

Eva and Marta created 21 (because it’s Smirnoff No.21) of every component in their design; 21 hats, 21 hairstyles, 21 faces, 21 tops, 21 backgrounds… you get the idea. And so of course 21 x 21 x 21 x 21 x 21 results in A LOT of outcomes. This is where the magic of D4D comes in and enabled them to create a large amount of variations with the click of a button. Nope, they didn’t have to sit around for hours and manually swap every hat on every head. Just think about all the time D4D saved them, but let’s not think about the headache of working out all of the possibilities. Vodka anyone?

You can watch the Yarza Twins chat a bit more about D4D:

If you’re still not sure on how exactly designers can use it think posters, labels, tote bags, cushions – anything where you want to create a number of uniquely printed items really. It’s going to be any self respecting patternista’s best friend if you ask me. Anyone as excited by the possibilities as me?

After seeing how the creatives had used it, I was keen to see it in action in more detail. Luckily some of the HP guys were on hand to demonstrate and explain how it works. It was great to watch it at work but I can’t wait to get my hands on it and have a play, which reminds me… AMAZINGLY I will soon be able to test it as HP are kindly letting me be part of the beta testing group. I’ll be sharing my experience with you guys too, don’t worry!

With all the excitement over for the night, we turned around and noticed the room was basically empty apart from the giant cutouts. That’s what happens with a room full of designers on a school night I guess – we’re not renown for being party animals! Happy we might’ve taken enough photos, we decided it was time to head home and await the email with the trial.

As I mentioned earlier, HP are kindly allowing me to be part of the 500 designers in the D4D Beta testing group, and rumour has it that you can apply too (you’ll need Adobe CC 2018 btw). So the plugin isn’t going to be readily available just yet but of course I’ll let you know more when I’ve tested it out.

Well then, what do you think? Are you intrigued by D4D? Maybe you already have an idea for how D4D could make your life a lot easier or maybe you’re still confused? Either way, let me know your thoughts and keep your eyes peeled for my experiments!

This post is in collaboration with HP but all enthusiasm for colour, pattern and the D4D plugin is 100% my own… if you couldn’t already tell.

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© Natasha Nuttall | January 2022

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