Fons Hickmann about paper
What is your favorite paper and why?
The most important paper of the day is the toilet paper, but I’m not an expert. The paper of a newspaper I find very exciting because it is wood containing and you can almost watch its decay. If one puts a newspaper in the sun or exposes them to moisture, it dissolves within a few days. I am fascinated by the aesthetics of disappearance. We have designed the exhibition “Analog Man Digital” a poster series that has this topic.
Could you give an example of a design you created where paper played a special particularly functional role?
We made a folded poster for Papyrus Paper in Belgium once and we used their “Natural Evolution Paper”. We had all the freedom in designing it – we prefer to work like that.
How important is the choice of paper in your designs? Do you spend a lot of time choosing the paper?
Very and yes.
Could you mention a designer whose paper choice appeals to you?
Sven Lindhorst-Emme is a freelance designer in our studio and we do book projects together. If he is not working with us, he makes very beautiful photo books. In the near future we plan a poster exhibition about “The Contemporary Poster Scene from Berlin”
Is there something missing in the current range of available paper?
Honestly, I always feel that there is not the paper that I am just looking for. But this is perhaps more of a philosophical problem.
What is your biggest frustration in the field of paper?
That was on a school trip in 4th grade, I was about 10 years old. We were on a long bus trip to the Baltic Sea, it was the middle of summer and the air conditioning of the coach had failed. We children stewed behind the windows of the overheated bus. Around noon we stopped for a picnic and all half-dead children fell exhausted, dehydrated and hungry out of the bus. My only consolation was a delicious peanut chocolate bread my mom made – she made the best in the world. But when I pulled the bread out of my bag, it was completely fused to the paper that my mother had wrapped around it. She must have run out of sandwish paper and rapped it in a newspaper. The fat peanut butter had merged with the ink of the newspaper into an inedible mush. That was the worst example of the wrong choice of paper that I have ever experienced.
Is it difficult or easy for designers in your country to find information on paper, paper samples and/or paper collections?
How do you see the future of paper?
In the future we will use less paper since mass publications like magazines become digital. There will still be printing, but paper is no longer a cheap good but an exclusive material. For graphic designers that work artistically thats good and for the development of the nature too.
Interview by De Monsterkamer with Fons Hickmann