Design: Paper

Analog creativity shows an old medium in a new form

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Edited by Austin-based creative collective Public School, “Design: Paper” gathers together some of the medium’s more curious recent works, spanning the areas of identity, print, packaging, stationery and papercraft. The book explores the upside of the digital age’s encroachment on paper: tangible projects may be less frequently explored now, but because of this they are now more thoughtfully designed.


“Once used as a platform to hold a message, paper is now being used as the message,” writes Public School designer Cody Haltom in the book’s introduction. Filled with around 300 examples, the image-heavy book illustrates how several young practices are pioneering a relevant paper revolution, and how they envision its place in the future.

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This isn’t just a wave of nostalgia, these designers are hoping to create works that are as forward-thinking as they are long-lasting. Essays from FÖDA Creative Director Jett Butler, Kelli Anderson, RoAndCo founder Roanne Adams, Owen Gildersleeve and Because Studio‘s Loz Ives offer a sincere look at their penchant for the medium and how it relates to their design processes. For example, Adams, who regularly uses paper in her graphic design work, relays a few tips on mastering the art of selecting the best paper stock for the printing technique, while Gildersleeve, a talented papercraft artist, talks about the patience paper projects require, and finding beauty in the imperfections the analog format creates.


Alongside an extensive range of works culled from around the world, the book also takes a “Closer Look” at the distinct design process behind studios like Manuel, The Metric System, Bond Creative Agency, Foreign Policy and Chevychase, to name a few. The array of ways in which paper can effectively, and often very subtly, shape an alluring message are fascinating—from a simple business card to elaborate packaging.


“Design: Paper” sells online from Amazon and Rockport Publishers for $40.