In this, the digital age, creatives are instinctively focusing more on new technology than on paper. This is because technology is highly seductive with its constantly renewed innovation, because technology is very much the current watchword but also because it is part of their culture. The result of this is that paper seems to be increasingly ignored. Many so-called 360° strategies do not even include paper as a medium, whereas the largest digital operators such as IBM or Google have understood the impact of paper and use it to increase return rates in communications with strategic targets. Paper has advantages which can complement the digital aspect, as both have strengths which the other lacks.
This raises the issue of paper culture in the creative world. There is a vast gulf between the approach to paper adopted by the Art Director of an agency and that of a luxury brand. The former ignores it as a thing of the past and the latter adores it, recognising its unique effectiveness : so where does the truth lie?
Antalis, Europe’s number 1 paper distributor, has therefore taken the step of asking Véronique Vienne, a writer specialised in graphic design, to interview 12 international design icons from 12 different countries. They are guardians of the creative temple but simultaneously they have an eye on the future and they have shared their vision of paper in the digital age, a view which can be useful to all creatives but particularly those who have perhaps forgotten that paper is a medium in and of itself. Is it still part of the creative process?
If so, how is it possible to reconcile the instantaneous nature of electronic media with the slower but almost sensual process of choosing a typeface or a printing or production technique? How can the role of paper be evaluated in terms of effectiveness in communicating a concept, an idea or a message ?
The result of these interviews is contained in 12 notebooks, each of which provides a different but always fascinating response from 12 top creatives, be they designers or working in advertising. They all have something in common : whether they are working with paper, digital means or any other medium, they never divorce the idea from the medium. The content, the style and the medium create, in each and every case, a combination which contains meaning, which adds to the effectiveness of a communication and the choice of paper, the choice of apaper becomes a creative act in itself just as much as the concept, the visuals, the page layout or the message.