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Let’s deep dive into the latest print design trends, the revolutionising print industry and the brands that are already embracing this change.

While most designers have been putting all their effort and attention into the digital boom, they have completely missed out on the transformation and innovation that is offered by the printing industry. The advancements of printing technology today are perhaps every creator’s dream, allowing for flexibility and unimaginable possibilities. Apart from this, the overdose of digital exposure, leading to rising digital fatigue, shows that a tactile experience involving all our senses is going to be the way forward.

A small segment of the design community is already capitalizing on these new advancements taking their work and their customers’ experience to a new and immersive level. In fact, few are strategically complementing the digital creation with the physical experience of sharing unique print applications to their clients and their consumers.

Let’s have a look at some of the developments from the printing world that can transform every designer’s career.

Print Design Trends that are Here to Stay

1. Personalization

A personalized experience would any day win over a made-for-millions experience. And now we see brands custom-making their products, campaigns and print designs to connect with the specific expectations of their customers. The potential of this trend is explosive since designers can now create multiple variations for a few in a very seamless, efficient and cost-effective manner.

Print Design trends

2. Medium Agnostic Approach

Traditional printing has been limited to a handful of mediums apart from paper. However, with the advancement in printing capabilities, it is possible to print on virtually any medium, like wood, veneers, ceramic tiles, plastic, and so many more. This means designers can now reimagine the possibilities of their ideas creating innumerable tactile experiences.

Visual Communication - AnantKulkarni
Brand Identity of Godrej Jersey by NH1 Design
Brand Identity of Godrej Jersey by NH1 Design

3. Seamless Integrated Experience

The overexposure to digital platforms has created a disconnect in the real and virtual world for most people. But now a rising trend is to close this gap by creating a seamless experience that extends from the digital space to the real world. It is no more about digital against print, but about both realms working hand in hand complementing each other. We already see explorations of AR/VR extending into print collaterals.

Print Technologies that are Solving Some of the Most Common Challenges

Some solutions in digital print technology have emerged as clear winners in addressing the essential market concerns, along with designer and brand needs. These technological advancements have greatly supported the design community.

4. Versatility & Scale

This technology breaks the barrier of size, quantity, medium and colours; making it possible to print for short runs as well as customized large-scale projects. Now print becomes far more accessible in spite of the option to print fewer numbers and instantly when required. Similar accessibility is seen with the versatility and options of a material and exhaustive range of colours available. This is a great way to make a bold statement, for brands to stand out in their communication, and achieve all this on a smaller budget and shorter turnaround time.

5. Security and Counterfeit

Today every design or creative illustration is so close to a designer’s heart that losing the work due to an error would be quite painful. Fortunately now, the technological advancement in printing can help secure these valuable designs and intricate artworks. The innovation in technology provided helps preserve the special colours, patterns, variable data printing and more, aiding the designer in creating their best works without any limits.

Brand Identity of The Earth Collective
packaging design by Swt.Co
packaging design by Swt.Co

6. AI Enhanced Printing

Operational is probably one of the biggest frustrations for designers who can’t wait to see the creativity in print as soon as possible. AI and ML have now touched the printing industry as well, revolutionizing the entire execution process. With its features of security, reduced error, self-monitoring, smart algorithms and so much more, designers can now focus on the important stuff.

7. Cloud Support

Like most industries, cloud storage and sharing have become a part of the advancement in printing technology as well. This makes the printing execution very efficient and convenient.

How are Brands Embracing this Change?

While we do have an understanding of the trends and technologies, it can be challenging to
imagine the possible use cases for this. Fortunately, many brands are already riding this wave, showing us how designers can capitalize on this opportunity as well.

1. Zooboo Story

Zooboostory.com is a personalised storybook venture based out of India, that specializes in creating custom-made storybooks for little ones, to give each child a personal experience. The Zooboo books are based on the idea that ‘every child becomes the hero of their own story, and aims at sparking the curiosity of young minds through engaging relatable storybooks.

Print Design trends

Parents simply need to log into their website, feed in the name of the child and their gender, and a story is picked from the multiple options, thus resulting in a personalised storybook.

This priceless reading experience is made possible by the innovative personalization feature in printing technology.

Nestle Mexico

Personalizing a cooking experience hits all the right spots. Especially when it is a gift. Nestle Mexico created a limited edition of personalised recipe books, where customers throughout Mexico created their unique recipe books, by adding their names, short messages and even selecting the cover of their choice. The recipe books were later sent out as gifts, giving the gifting experience a very personal touch.

This is another example of how the flexibility of printing opportunities has great potential in the gifting industry.

Conclusion

The future of branding and design is now breaking many physical barriers. Size, material, cost, operations, all these factors will be insignificant as we begin to see larger than life brand communication and design possibilities. The use cases are countless right from exhibitions and marketing campaigns to limited editions and personalised experiences. This is a great time for designers to go back to exploring their love for print.

Stay tuned as we bring more insights and fascinating updates from the powerful world of print, in the month of October with a series of “Innovate Possibilities” virtual sessions.

Kurnal Rawat - How have Brands Evolved through Time?
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Hazem Ameen breaks down the unity of his illustrations and personality through his creative process and various influences, which do not always exist in the creative sphere.

Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
Thiriyal, the bard
Wailing Merfolk

Hazem Ameen Ahsan is a freelance artist from Kerala whose work largely focuses on character art and narrative illustrations. Going by the tag “caninebrush”, a moniker he came up with when he learned that prehistoric people used canine teeth to carve drawings into rock, Hazem discovered digital art through the work of Izzy Medrano (a concept artist who worked on the God of War game series) and realised that being an illustrator was a viable career choice that balanced all his interests.

Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
Kali, the dancer
Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
Al Manaat, goddess of Fate and Destiny

Looking at Hazem’s gallery of illustrations, all the pieces are rooted in fantasy or mythology with a mystical folk vibe that immediately transports the viewer to a world of creatures and magic with a promise of adventure. On asking him to describe his personal art style, he says, “Every artist has an art style, and it usually is the result of all their collective influences and visual inspirations. I could not explain why my art looks the way it does anymore that can explain what makes me myself.” He does mention that his approach to each project is based on timelines, and a faster method may give rise to a “new style” just due to the circumstances.

A Cave Shrine
Illustrations by Hazem Ameen

While he draws inspiration from other artists, art forms, and video games, the larger sources are books, both fiction and non-fiction. It comes as no surprise when he claims to be influenced by history, mythology, and religion while creating his digital art/ illustrations. As an artist, being obsessive about something that isn’t art is a great way to find a well of inspiration. Aesthetically, fantasy literature such as Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones has inspired Hazem to create his own worlds through his own cultural sphere, which bridges his interests, giving him a unique voice when contributing to the genre.

Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
Padayani, the truth-teller
Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
Al Uzza, goddess of Lust and War

A huge fan of the ideation phase, Hazem visualises his concepts before putting pen to paper to help with any creative blocks. He is a line-drawing centred artist who sketches the entire concept before approaching colour and details, always using any references to help the project flourish. His art career includes working on RPG tabletop games for companies like Paizo, Petersen Games, Chaosium, and Creative Assembly; an online game titled “Vainglory”; and the 3DTotal book series.

Al Laat, goddess of Wisdom and Strategy
A bond in the sea

Hazem holds great appreciation and hopes for the concept art industry in India. While there is always room for growth, he is confident that with the accessibility of art resources today, many Indian artists will use their heritage and distinctiveness in today’s vast global art market to stand out. Only half-joking, the effects of the pandemic had not changed his routine much as “artists have been social- distancing from others long before Covid”. He went on to say, “This pandemic, though terrible for many of those unfortunate, has helped me focus and finish a lot of work, get some jobs and even set up a personal studio.”

Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
The Grower
Zaba the flute player

We threw a bit of a curveball question to Hazem, where if aliens invaded and he could only save the world through art – who would he choose to be by his side? He drafted his artist friend (Aniruddha Khanwelkar), who he claims represents the human condition and his mentor, Even Mehl Amundsen who guided Hazem’s journey as an artist. It goes to show that when it’s all said and done, the support of a community and a guide will always be valuable.

Illustrations by Hazem Ameen
Odin, the Alfather
Mermaids of the Reef

Hazem is excited to explore and experiment with different storytelling methods within books, graphic novels, video games, and animated films in the future. We can safely say that we are excited to see more of his fantasy world-building and riveting characters in the days to come.

The Yanuk Priest
Birker and the gang

Published in Issue 52

The pandemic has brought many different challenges for everyone. But educating our young ones is among the top priority. The issue focused on how design education is still possible while most of us are locked in our homes. We also interacted with illustrators and photographers such as Jasjyot Singh Hans and Anirudh Agarwal, who seem to stand firm with their uniqueness in this time of chaos. Overall this issue serves food for thought with visually stunning creativity on a single platter.

 

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Swedish automotive manufacturer, Volvo recently updated their new logo, from the iron, men and Mars-based logo to a minimalist looking 2D logo

Volvo, a renowned automotive manufacturer just announced another upgraded version of its ‘Volvo’ script and bar version, which was first revealed in 1930. The initial production of vehicles featuring the new design is said to be launched in 2023 sported by the successor of large SUV XC90.

A creation of Swedish design agency Stockholm Design Lab in collaboration with Tröllback & Company, ” Volvo needed a redesign of the iron mark, optimized for communication and versatile for all types of applications,” the agency writes on its website. “The logo has been simplified in its purest form and conveys the brand’s vision; to be the world’s most progressive and desirable premium car brand.”

The new design was publicized this week on the brand’s website and social media pages and retains the ‘iron mark’ signature with a diagonal arrow affixed to a hollow circle – but removes the contrasting bar across the centre, with the ‘Volvo’ text ‘floating’ in the circle. The shape of the arrow has also been tweaked along with a different typeface, a new flat finish.

“An updated version of the Volvo Iron Mark will be used exclusively on products and in small digital spaces when clear visibility of the Volvo spread word mark can’t be ensured,” a Volvo Australia spokesperson told Drive and added “The change will be gradual. We started by rolling out the updated identity on our main website, main social media platforms and in the new Volvo Cars mobile app. The updated iron mark will be rolled out in other areas step by step, and the first car with the updated iron mark will be launched in 2023. The old iron mark will be phased out over time.”

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Tokyo’s Musashino Art University students design huge animated creatures (Sculptures) from straw to bring back lost practice of using remains from rice harvest in Japan.
Image credit: Wara Art Festival

Leftover straw post the harvesting season of rice in Japan has found a rather innovative and creative use. Huge, gigantic structures (Sculptures) of various animals and mythological characters have been created from the same, be it the mighty Gorilla or popular character, Amabie.

Image credit: Wara Art Festival

“Wara,” as it is known traditional in Japan, are remains from the process of extracting rice off the crop. Generally, it is put to use for the purpose of building roofs, tools of different kinds and even footwear. In fact, it has typically been put to use even to improve the fertility of the soil, alongside being utilised as feed for cattle and raw material formats of all sorts.

Image credit: Wara Art Festival
Sculptures
Image credit: Wara Art Festival

However, this practice had lost its popularity in recent times. Since 2008, though, the Wara Art Festival has been regularly held at Niigata’s Uwasekigata Park to revitalise and bring back this form of traditional Japanese art among the masses.

Image credit: Wara Art Festival

Designed by students from Tokyo’s Musashino Art University and thereby exhibited in the form of art installations through collaboration with local residents in Niigata, the festival portraying these giant straw figures is currently in its 13th year. Local craftsmen and farmers are the ones who bring the idea into physical reality through a hard technique called “Toba-ami.” Expected to last until the 31st of October, this year’s edition comes after a year of setback due to the Covid-19 pandemic not allowing for gatherings and events to be organised on a large scale.

Image credit: Wara Art Festival
The hope or purpose of this effort is mainly for the practice of using “wara” to be embraced and acknowledged once again.
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Vivek Mandrekar takes us through his journey of illustrating digital movie posters effectively. In the process, he also shares his own illustrating journey and insights gained behind the reel.

Posters by Vivek Mandrekar

CG. What’s the story behind choosing movies specifically as your avenue?

Vivek: First and foremost, it was an obsession with watching all kinds of movies that led me to see movie posters on a theatre lobby, lamppost, street-side wall, video store, newspaper or in a film journal. The artwork on them, especially the Hollywood ones, intrigued me. It gave an essence of what the movie would be before watching it. Then recreating and drawing the visual from posters became an interest. Be it Shah Rukh Khan from “Baazigar,” Jim Carrey from “The Mask,” Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone from any of their movies or even a “Jurassic Park” logo. I did not know, however, this interest would lead me to become a full-time movie poster artist. So, yes, life has been kind.

Posters by Vivek Mandrekar

CG. As a digital artist in this genre, how do you perceive the film poster painters and process of the previous era and, thus also, how are client expectations different today from then?

Vivek: Huge Respect! To all the veteran poster artists of that era. I was privileged enough to meet and learn from them. God bless them all. The process is the same till now. The only things which have changed are the medium, technology, time, involvement of more minds and interference. Those days, a poster artist was given creative freedom. These days, everyone knows everything except the artist working on it. But I can’t help it, so I’m going with the flow and doing my best job around it for a living.

CG. How did your design journey start and how did you carry it forward through any related education, learning processes, practice and experiences?

Vivek: It started with my father, Late Shri. Arvind Mandrekar, who was a fine artist and illustrator for Amar Chitra Katha. So my upbringing in art and inspirations were from him and also my drawing teachers, Beena Godambe miss and Rajesh Rumade sir, who guided me in my school days. Presently, I have been learning under the guidance of a well known fine artist and teacher, Shri. Suresh Bhosale sir. Post the 90’s a digital era in designing started, of which movie posters were part. It had everything from a Title Design, Image Manipulation to Colour Grading done digitally.

Posters by Vivek Mandrekar

Somewhere, the childhood interest in movie posters created a curiosity that pushed me to learn the tools of the trade. But, in those days, there was limited access to tutorials, the internet and online courses. Thankfully, a god-sent friend of mine, Dinesh Narayanan, a master digital artist in entertainment art, gave me advanced training in Adobe Photoshop, which was the tool for creating movie posters. But, afterwards, due to personal circumstances, I could not afford to join art school or take formal education in it. I started working at an early age in the movie poster industry, which wasn’t easy at the beginning. I did odd jobs for survival. Humiliation; insults from senior artists in the field; failure and rejections came with it. But if I look back on these now, there was a silver lining. These experiences have been my education and learnings which led me to follow my dream.

CG. What’s your progression of taking artwork from understanding the brief to executing the final result?

Vivek: It starts with the reading of a script. Then, grounded on that, concept sketches and mood boards are created with various options. After approval and revisions, a photoshoot is directed based on the concept sketches. Post the photoshoot, the actual magic starts, where the final execution of the poster starts shaping up.

Posters by Vivek Mandrekar

CG. Which films or related works would you consider your best and could you please elaborate on the process they involved?

Vivek: Not yet. Long way to go! The journey has just started. But what gave me recognition and a foothold in the industry was my work on the movie, “Thugs of Hindostan.” Especially the illustrated Imax poster, which got me appreciation from my inspiration and legendary movie poster artist, Paul Shipper sir. What more could I ask!

CG. What features or nuances do you need to pay attention to in your artwork so as to engage today’s audience?

Vivek: Aesthetics, balance, composition, typography, mood and, above all, storytelling are the required features for any movie poster. Movie posters have the power to hold viewers’ attention and tell a story within seconds. Condensing a 2-3 hour movie in a single image is not as easy as it seems.

CG. Can you name some of the artists and illustrators who inspire you and what about their works draws your attention?

Vivek: There are so many in various art forms but some of them I look up to and still learn from in poster art are Diwakar Karkare, Eswar, Yashwant Parab, Drew Struzan, Paul Shipper, Steven Chorney, Bob Peak, Bill Gold, John Alvin, James Goodridge, Mark Westermoe, Rory Kurtz, Steeve Reeves, Akiko Stehrenberger and some of my contemporaries, Raj Khatri, Tuney John, Vinci Raj.

Photographers like Abhitabh Kame, Gautam Rajadhyaksha, Rico Torres. Typography artists such as Kamal Shedge, Jignesh Pancholi, Sandeep Bobade, Thom Schillinger. Illustrators include Bal Thackeray, Vikas Sabnis, Raj Thackeray, Pundalik Vaze, C.M. Vitankar, Deelip Khomane, Mort Drucker, Norman Rockwell, Frank McCarthy, Sam Spratt, Jason Seiler.

Posters by Vivek Mandrekar

CG. What kind of projects interest you and is there any particular kind of work you are looking for?

Vivek: Every kind of project interests me as long as there is creative freedom. Currently, I am more inclined towards doing illustration-based movie posters.

CG. Do you have any other areas of interest as an illustrator and artist?

Vivek: I have been experimenting, learning and achieving traditional medium techniques in my digital paintings, which has given me a different avenue to explore – the other side of my interest and calling, apart from movie poster art. Thanks to the arrival of Wacom Tablet and Balaji Waghmare, an artist and friend who taught me to use it. Also, Sheridan J, whose tutorials helped me learn digital painting art.

CG. What do you think the future holds for poster designing?

Vivek: In the past ten years, poster designing got much more attention, thanks to the exposure on social media platforms. But on the other hand, due to the dying print culture, consumption has shifted to digital thumbnails and video content. Agencies and artists are now just a small part of this industry. Hence, evolving and adapting according to the trends are the only ways to reach success.

Posters by Vivek Mandrekar

CG. What skills do you think the upcoming poster designers need to have in order to be in tune with these anticipated changes in the field and how can filmmakers contribute to taking the art genre in a better direction?

Vivek: Patience, observation, being honest with your work, and constantly learning are the only skills required, rest follows. Don’t get attracted to the glamorous side of the industry. Be focused and dedicated to your craft! Everything will arrive at the right time.

 

Filmmakers can contribute by being more respectful towards the art of poster designing and help it become an asset.

Vivek_Feature - Amitabh Bachchan
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Nudes, an architecture firm founded by Nuru Karim introduces The Forest as a place that encourages hands-on learning, green learning possibilities, networked communities, and experiential learning while improving air quality and student health.

Pune, a city in Maharashtra, has seen some substantial urban growth in recent years. This increase in urban density has led to very scarce recreational spaces around the city. These spaces, also known as green pockets, are what act as the lungs for the city. Mumbai based architectural firm, NUDES have taken this case up to design an urban forest like school in the city. The design is a part of the winning entry of an invited competition for design on ecological change.

Architecture by NUDES

Concept of the School

Titled “The Forest”, the school is built on five major concepts of ‘grow,’ ‘learn,’ ‘reuse,’ ‘plant,’ and ‘play,’ and investigates the link between nature and education. The proposal includes two cylindrical “green towers” and attempts to bring some landscape amidst a crowded area. Located at a distance of 3 hours from the city of Mumbai, the design for the school has a rooftop “infinity” loop track connecting the two “green” cylindrical volumes.

Design in Detail

The ‘loop’ on the top has been created as a cycling track that will host a variety of activities, including workshops, student exhibitions, student-led marketplaces, and other events, in addition to its primary role. With the increase in pollution, the school’s architecture acts as a beacon of hope to meet the community’s wider requirements. “The track was a consequence of our consultation with stakeholders who expressed concerns about gaps in the city’s infrastructure, such as secure pedestrian walkways, universal accessibility, and cycle tracks, among other things, the architect Nuru Karim chips in about the project.

Architecture by NUDES

The school will also include a double-height theatre on the bottom floor and five stories of classrooms above it, reaching a height of 32 metres at its tallest point. The exteriors of both buildings will be surrounded by stepped balconies with plants, creating a vertical forest. Phytoremediation is a technique in which certain plants absorb harmful substances through their leaves or roots, allowing them to remove contaminants from the air. Photosynthesis is another way they convert carbon dioxide to oxygen.

A Futuristic Proposal

Nudes’ Forest School intends to tackle Pune’s urban challenges by planting trees at every level and building a “bicycle track for a city in desperate need of pedestrian walkways and cycling tracks.” At the basement level are a tennis court and a pool. There are also service pathways for access to the landscape at the facade, which has restricted access for safety purposes.

Architecture by NUDES

This kind of architecture that imbibes the values of climate change and environmental protection at the structural level will be an efficient stage for the students to learn these values from. The programmatic functions and the interiors are also tastefully placed to ensure an open learning environment. Hands-on learning, green learning possibilities, networked communities, experiential learning, improved air quality and student health, passive cooling, sensitivity to climate change and global warming, and social responsibility are all some features included in the ideation of the project.

Architecture by NUDES
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Real is believable. But abstract teases the imagination. You don’t have to choose one of the two while creating. Mixing reality with abstract is the way to go according to digital artist Ankur Singh Patar. Whether it’s creating a portrait or manipulating a photograph, the digital art is capable of going as far as your imagination can take it. He shares what to keep in mind when working on the digital medium.

Illustratio for Toyota Land Cruiser - 70 years
Digital Art
University of Queensland
Digital Art
University of Queensland

Let your Artwork Play the Guessing Game

Realism, disguised with abstraction, makes for interesting artwork. Abstract art has no boundaries, no set of protocols and no clear message. The fun part is that even though you’ve created the piece with a certain subject in mind, every viewer will comprehend it according to their thinking and imagination and arrive at different conclusions. Realism is important because it helps to connect with the viewers.

Digital Art
Harp and Rabaab
Digital Art
Pandit Ji
Digital Art
Campaign for Adobe

The Challenge is to Re-create the Already-Created

When a famous personality is your subject, it’s important to think beyond how others have portrayed him/her. It gives you the chance to surprise not only yourself as an artist but also the audience. Doing some research, like going through some of the best creative works on the subject, is always recommended. You’ll notice that most portraits are hand-drawn sketches or paintings. That’s why exploring the digital medium can work wonders as it gives you limitless scope and opportunities to experiment.

Digital Art
Anom
Digital Art
God of Small Things
Digital Art
Femina Illustration
Illustration & Photography for Anibus

Creating digital portraits makes your work stand out. It also allows for the beautiful creation and merging of abstract elements along with unique colours. Now that’s different!

Digital Art
M.S. Dhoni
Digital Art
Rafael Nadal
Digital Art
Roger

Colours are the Protagonists

Our subconscious mind is capable of communicating with colours. After all, they are the expressions of our emotions, feelings, thoughts and moods. That’s why, most of the time, you’ll find that the colours you chose were done without a thought. Sometimes it’s better not to plan them and let them be spontaneous. However, sometimes they need to be monitored with respect to the design. The primary colour is an important ingredient as it sets the mood. Including a splash of contrasting colours supports and emphasizes the message and feeling which are embedded in the design.

Digital Art
Scent of a Woman
Digital Art
Udda
Digital Art
Ghagga

A Colour on its own is Incomplete

Colours are like a language. Like certain words hold different meanings when used in different contexts, so do colours. You can use the same colour to represent a smile in one artwork and laughter in another. It’s how you combine it with other colours and look at a painting as a whole to tell the complete story.

Digital Art
The Catwoman
Digital Art
Djokovic
Digital Art
Surjit Patar

Photo Manipulation is not an easy way out

Using real photographs in your artwork and building around it is equally challenging. You need the right photographs, to begin with. Once you’ve got it, you start planning what effect or things you want to do with it. The best way is to work along the way and alter your design numerous times before you finish. You add an element and then maybe tomorrow when you look at it again, you replace it with something better. That’s how your design grows and a photograph evolves from a subject into a story and finally becomes a piece of art.

Digital Art
Stairs to Heaven
Digital Art
Mad Scientist - Lenovo
Digital Art
Prison Break Fan Art

Published in Issue 14

We dedicated this issue to Digital Art where we explored the connection between our dreams and imagination and how the flexibility of technology can be used to document that. In his exclusive article, Android Jones explains the broader perspective of digital art. Featuring Ankur Singh Patar, Archan Nair, Harshvardhan Kadam and Aamina Shazi Arora, every article discusses how each of them has an individual way of working and yet they all look at life beyond the obvious to appreciate it’s beauty. So, go ahead

 

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