Dino Simonett about paper
What is your favorite paper and why?
At the moment I am fascinated by “Blocker” Offset Paper. It’s from Gmund at Tegernsee in Germany. A paper in only four weights and one off-white colour: 80, 100, 135, 270 g/m2. The paper is almost 100% opaque, so you can use a 100 grams paper and make a very thin and modest-elegant book without any transparency. The touch of the paper is smooth and you can print very sharp on it. So I think it’s somewhat like “Die Quadratur des Kreises” – you can print on it like on coated paper but it feels uncoated. One small problem: Very expensive.
Could you give an example of a design you created where paper played a special or particularly functional role?
OMG! I designed and produced two books (with René Burri) on japanese polypropylene material with the name of Synteape and later YUPO.
It’s completely “plastic” paper but it has an unforgettable touch and you can use it very thin too, even thinner than 80 grams: the material is untearable (unzerreissbar) but on the other hand very difficult to print on, you have to use water resistant colours. The second book we printed on it ruined my publishing company, because again: its tremendously expensive. But not to forget this: The results are two completely unique and very beautiful photo books that today you can call classics.
How important is the choice of paper in your designs? Do you spend a lot of time choosing the paper?
Of course very important, I make about ten dummies of each project, sometimes more. The paper has to be perfect. But the best paper is ruined by polyurethan binding: you can not open the book properly. We realized it late but now we make books only with white glue blinding (Weissleim-Abbindung).
Could you mention a designer whose paper choice appeals to you?
Hmm. Nobody. Maybe some people of an other generation. Or my friend Winfried Heininger of Kodoji Press, a creator of great sensitivity. And Bernd Kuchenbeiser from Munich: I learned things from him.
Is there something missing in the current range of available paper?
Not that I know. The availability is not the problem. The problem is the speed and the pressure on the budgets: Most designers design and produce too fast and you see it in ten seconds. A book printed in China I can recognize without even touching the book, for instance.
What is your biggest frustration in the field of paper?
I have no frustrations. Only pleasures. And a lot to discover and explore.
Is it difficult or easy for designers in your country to find information on paper, paper samples and/or paper collections?
Switzerland is paradise.
How do you see the future of paper?
For specialists like us it is fantastic. For telephone book producers maybe not.
This interview was conducted with Dino Simonett by Cristina Poiata (De Monsterkamer), August 2013.All images have been reproduced from Dino Simonett’s website with Dino Simonett’s permission.
The paper ‘Blocker’ by Gmund can be viewed at De Monsterkamer in Amsterdam.