De Monsterkamer

Ingo Offermanns on paper

Since 2011, De Monsterkamer interviews designers about paper. What is their favourite paper, what are their sources of inspiration and how do they see the future of paper? The questions are always the same, the answers are surprising.

What is your favorite paper, why?
This is a hard question, because I always try to find paper according to the needs of the content that I’m dealing with. Therefore, I don’t have a favorite selection of papers, that I always use. But there are certainly some papers, that I use quite regularly such as Lessebo Design Lessebo Design 1.3 heeft een licht ruw oppervlak dat het papier een robuust karakter geeft. Het papier is geschikt voor alle druktoepassingen waarbij een mooie beeldweergave samengaat met een natuurlijk papiergevoel. Verkrijgbaar in vier tinten: Ivory, Natural, White en Bright., Munken Lynx Munken Lynx heeft een ongestreken, glad oppervlak. De natuurwitte tint zorgt voor een exclusieve en tegelijkertijd authentieke uitstraling, met een natuurlijk papiergevoel. Munken Lynx is ontwikkeld voor offsetdruk, maar is ook geschikt voor andere druktechnieken : flexo, laser, xerografie, digitale druk, inkjet en voor preprint toepassingen. , Arcoprint Milk Arcoprint Milk is een ongestreken papier en karton met hoge opdikking. Het heeft een aangenaam zacht oppervlak. Beschikbaar in een natuurwitte tint. , Arena® Arena® is een houtvrij opdikkend ongestreken papier en karton. Verkrijgbaar in verschillende tinten. Een excellente opaciteit en helderheid maken dit papier ideaal voor ieder grafisch project., Symbol Freelife Gloss Premium White Symbol Freelife Gloss Premium White is een gestreken papier en karton gemaakt van milieuvriendelijke pure cellulose, met een hoog gehalte aan geselecteerd gerecycled materiaal. Drievoudig gecoat aan beide zijden, met glanzende afwerking. Volledig biologisch afbreekbaar en recyclebaar., Symbol Tatami White Symbol Tatami White is een gestreken papier en karton gemaakt van milieuvriendelijke pure cellulose en heeft een hoge opdikking. Tatami is verkrijgbaar in de tinten wit en ivoor en heeft een tweezijdige halfmatte silk coating. Volledig biologisch afbreekbaar en recyclebaar. and Blocker Blocker heeft een maximale opaciteit. Bijvoorbeeld: 100 g/m2 Blocker is qua opaciteit vergelijkbaar met 170 g/m2 regulier papier. Het is geoptimaliseerd voor offset. Verder is het geschikt voor zeefdruk, foliedruk, blinddruk en stansen..

Could you give an example of a design you created where paper played a special or crucial role? How important is the choice of paper in your design work? Do you spend a lot of time picking the paper?
I do spend a lot of time picking paper, because it’s the body of the book. Book design is about constructing and playing with structures and rhythms, that equally speak to our visual and tactile senses, and even to our senses of sound and smell—and here paper comes into play, because it’s the most sensual part of a publication. Maybe my book design for Kazuo Katase is a good example for what I’m trying to say: Kazuo Katase. Katazuke is an autobiographical retrospect of the Japanese artist Kazuo Katase, who lived and worked in Germany for the past 40 years. Dialogue and the interlacing of East and West are core aspects of the artist’s work, and they are the underlaying current of the design concept. In order to avoid esthetic clichés, I worked with the cultural differences of horizontal and vertical dynamics, as well as with varying principles of page composition. Modesty, devotion to detail and craftsmanship, and a special mix of paper qualities – uncoated and coated bright white paper, plus an off-white uncoated paper, that shows embeddings of fibres, symbolizing both: rationality and naturalness –, are additional references to both cultural traditions. The aim is to create a subtle and porous emotionality, that reflects the conceptual as well as sensual – but always modest – approach of Katase’s art.

Kazuo Katase – Katazuke, 2018, 165 × 230 mm. Woodstock Betulla Fedrigoni, 140 g/m2 (cover & endpaper); Munken Lynx 1.13, 130 g/m2, Woodstock Betulla Fedrigoni, 140 g/m2, Symbol Tatami White Fedrigoni, g/m2 (inside).

Can you point out work by another designer that you appreciate when it comes to the paper choice?
I really appreciate the work of Patrick Coppens and Christine Alberts, because their design language is always smart and subtle as well as surprising and inspiring. They don’t create only intriguing graphics, but book objects, that activate and interweave all elements equally—typography, paper and binding. Paper for Coppens and Alberts is not only a surface on which to carry ink, but a body with texture, strain, smell, color and transparancy, that can transport meaning.

Ingo Offermanns on paper. What is his favorite paper, what are his sources of inspiration and how does he see the future of paper?

Printed Matter Het Nieuwe Instituut. Report Inventarisatie Archieven Design en Digitale Cultuur, 2019 Size: A4. Design: coppenalberts. All image rights belong to

Ingo Offermanns on paper. What is his favorite paper, what are his sources of inspiration and how does he see the future of paper?

Do you think there are any gaps in the current paper market for designers?
My impression is that the range of paper quality is being reduced more and more. Most of all when it comes to special paper. So, I do think, that the gaps in this respect get bigger and bigger. Even though, companies like Fedrigoni and Gmund still do their best to offer a wide range of intriguing papers.

What is your biggest frustration when it comes to paper?
My biggest frustration is when I decided upon a paper and then find out that the fibre orientation doesn’t fit my needs.

Do you find it easy/difficult to find information about paper, to get paper samples and/or collections?
No. Actually, I’m always very pleased with the support that the paper companies offer.

How do you see the future of paper?
I think, that the heroic times of (inter)national education with the help of books are over. This promising task is taken over by new media. Book design and production is no longer about spreading information as fast and broad as possible. Books become ritual objects more and more—objects, that work as much on a symbolic level, as on a functional level, contributing to our need for self-assurance. This means, that book production is going back to its roots: preserving and highlighting elaborated and valuable information, and creating thorough and repetitive reading experiences. In times when major parts of our daily life take place in an abstract, boundless, liquid and intangible sphere, a physical condensate of thought—like a printed book—becomes a means to counterbalance and enrich our daily culture of communication. Therefore, paper will indeed play an important role in the future. I only hope, that the paper companies will come up with smart business solutions to be able to provide a wide range of paper qualities for this future.

Ingo Offermanns on paper. What is his favorite paper, what are his sources of inspiration and how does he see the future of paper?

The World as Project, 2020, 210 × 303 mm. Peyer Surbalin vario, leather, 300 g/m2 (soft cover); Munken Print White 15, 150 g/m2 (inside)

Ingo Offermanns on paper. What is his favorite paper, what are his sources of inspiration and how does he see the future of paper?

Interview by De Monsterkamer with Ingo Offermanns