The ‘Smart Pholder’ project – a love affair with order, by Ina Braun, Gabriela Grassmann and Sihl

Stylish exterior, smart interior

30. September 2016
It started with an idea: Ina Braun and Gabriela Grassmann wanted to redesign those boring old transparent sleeves to make them more useful and individual. They took an office classic that had long gone by unnoticed and ended up completely reinventing it – as a modern organiser with ingenious extra functions.

We often fall in love when travelling, sometimes even with an idea. Gabriela Grassmann tells us how it all came about: ‘When travelling to the USA, we were inspired by the influences of the Japanese stores there and fell in love with the idea of making those rather miserable-looking, predominantly transparent plastic pouches smarter and more unique.’ The creative stimulus then turned into a business concept. Grassmann and Ina Braun became founders of the business and developed a product that had always been missing not just on their travels but also in their jobs in the creative industry: fully printed document sleeves. The combination of the special concept and the extraordinary graphic design offers various extra functional benefits for the user. At the heart of it all is ENDURO Ice, a composite material consisting of a foil centre surrounded by two outer layers of paper. So on top of the conceptual and graphical execution of the project, this also allows Grassmann and Braun to combine the best physical properties of paper and film: the duo’s ‘JuliFoli’ document sleeves are both stylish and attractive, as well as tear-proof, waterproof, durable and hard-wearing. Simply perfect for printing and processing.

Ready for the next generation of filing?

‘With the era of digitisation, the way data is archived has changed’, says Gabriela Grassmann, explaining the concept. Rather than being stored in folders in office cabinets, many documents are now saved in the cloud. Nevertheless: ‘The really important documents do still get printed out.’ So the task at hand was to develop a solution that would not only protect and store the files, but one that would also offer added benefits. The outcome was a smart, portable go-to product for offices, schools and training purposes: the JuliFoli® folder. ‘We’ve managed to create document sleeves that are both aesthetically pleasing and help users to find important files quickly, plus they can also be used to package and deliver something truly valuable’, says Grassmann with confidence.

  • Why did the founders use ENDURO Ice?

    Grassmann and Braun had set ideas for the kind of material they wanted:

    • Tear-proof material
    • Elegant semi-transparent look
    • Material that could be printed and processed according to their own specifications
    • Production and delivery exclusively ‘Made in Germany’
    • Can be processed like paper
    • Achieves flawless printing results in all common printing processes

    The decision ultimately went to ENDURO Ice, because this solution meets the requirements and, at the same time, its properties are as unique as the idea behind the JuliFoli® brand.

The next goal: Vibrant products that last

The fact that the creativity of the two JuliFoli® founders is sparking up again comes as no surprise: ‘We already have some ideas about how we’re going to develop JuliFoli® in the future. One area we would like to work on with Sihl in the future is the issue of biodegradable material. We want to give our customers a living product that helps us work towards improving our impact on people and the environment anew every day’, say Grassmann and Braun. In any case, the value of JuliFoli® has most definitely been confirmed by the market and the industry: the brand received the ‘Product of the Year 2015’ innovation prize from Verband der PBS-Markenindustrie (the German paper, office and writing supplies industry association) in 2015, plus it was nominated for the German Design Awards 2016 and won the Design Plus Award 2016. For their UNTERWEGS-series of German and international metropolises and for their entire concept, the young aspiring company also received the Nonbook Award 2016 of the Frankfurt Book Fair.