Pinch developed a twelve-page brochure both to accompany the PureBond product sample kit and to introduce the product to architects and interior designers. The brochure follows a simple argument in human terms, starting with a survey of the environmental risk associated with traditional UF plywood, to the story of the chemist pursuing his own curiosity who ended up doing applied biomimicry before he even knew the word, to rather technical discussions of the product’s performance compared to its competition, and finishing with a solid testimonial from an early adopter.
The cover features a multi-level embossed version of the PureBond pattern and the brand’s three central value propositions: formaldehyde-free, moisture-resistant, and cost-neutral. There is no overt sales message beyond the three features; Columbia has an eighty-year reputation for quality that didn’t need to be sold. End users needed to know only that the new product would perform as well or better than traditional panels, and that they wouldn’t pay more, hence the term cost-neutral, which allows less wiggle room than “cost-competitive”.
The opening pages discuss the environmental dangers posed by formaldehyde, and PureBond’s unique position in helping to address them. Here, we also set up a visual motif that follows through the rest of the brochure, showing the continuum of humans with the natural and built environments, using transparent overlapping images and the PureBond pattern acting as intermediary. This is a product brochure, but there are people on every page for a reason.
How PureBond works: the science behind the technology, and the story of Oregon State University chemist Kaichang Li, who developed what would become PureBond to satisfy his own curiosity regarding the tenacity of ocean mussels.
Is it a cheap shot to show a baby in a wood-products brochure? These pages discuss PureBond in the greater context of indoor air quality, for the end user but also at Columbia’s factories. We also show in real numbers how it stacks up against international standards.
This follows up the environmental argument with a look at PureBond’s performance in the shop, showing the results of a cyclic boil test pitting traditional UF veneer-core plywood against PureBond (the Green stuff approaches the moisture resistance of exterior-grade plywood, while the UF fell apart), and addressing the cost issue bluntly.
Testimonial and survey of the first major end-use of the product: a LEED-Silver high-rise condominium in Portland, Oregon, for which Columbia supplied all the hardwood plywood for cabinetry, and touting PureBond’s specification for the new headquarters of the USGBC.