De Monsterkamer

Rasmus Snabb about paper

What is your favorite paper and why?
I have to be paper-agnostic :). It is important to be able to choose the best paper for every job by taking into account the paper’s practical and expressive qualities. That said, I find that Arctic Paper’s range is really versatile and useful in many applications.

Since 2009 Rasmus Snabb has been responsible for the design, implementation and direction of the visual identity of Aalto University.

Could you give an example of a design you created where paper played a special or particularly functional role?
Since the opportunities to design actual printed products have become increasingly rare, I feel that all of them have to be of utmost quality. The point of printing something at all is in my view to make the best possible use of the ‘bandwidth’ that print offers: paper, colours, binding techniques, foils, varnishes etc. In this way it really is possible to enhance or emphasize the visual concept. So to answer the question: I like to think paper plays a special role in all of my printed designs.

Visual identity for the industrial design agency Aivan

How important is the choice of paper in your designs? Do you spend a lot of time choosing the paper?
As you can read from above: very important :). I spend a lot of time choosing papers, ordering dummys, speaking with the printer etc. I usually find it very hard to choose exactly the right paper – all the nuances have to be just right.

Could you mention a designer whose paper choice appeals to you?
I really like the way Jop van Bennekom has used paper in BUTT, Fantastic Man and COS magazine. The use of paper is both subtle and expressive, it enhances the visual experience and there’s also a certain playfulness to it.

Branding concept and visual identity for family of furniture designed by Ilmari Tapiovaara

The identity is based on the use and combination of specific materials and techniques: recycled paper, brown cardboard or paper, white silk-screened elements, and gold printing

Is there something missing in the current range of available paper?
A lot in my opinion. There’s a lot of pretty basic high quality papers available, and a lot of over-the-top special papers (textured, colored etc.) which are totally useless to me. I feel that a certain middle ground is missing – papers with character and interesting visual qualities that don’t overpower the visuals.

What is your biggest frustration in the field of paper?
See above. Another frustration is the opaqueness of paper pricing – it is very hard to judge how the choice of paper will affect the price of the printing job.

Is it difficult or easy for designers in your country to find information on paper, paper samples and/or paper collections?
In Finland it is very easy. I guess due to the fact that a lot of paper is made here, the companies are quite good at selling their products and helpful when choosing papers.

Branding concept and visual identity for family of furniture designed by Ilmari Tapiovaara

Branding concept and visual identity for family of furniture designed by Ilmari Tapiovaara

How do you see the future of paper?
I think paper will increasingly be used as an expressive device in design, due to the fact that print is now a luxury and paper is the most essential element of any printed product. We have already seen this in the rise of independent magazines and books, where paper plays an important part in the experience as a whole. Hopefully the paper companies will soon wake up to this, and start producing a wider range of usable papers.

2014/15 Finnish Design Yearbook. Design: Rasmus Snabb and Werklig. Papers used: Olin Rough and MultiArt Gloss, laminated covers, 7 different pantone colours + cmyk.

Utilizing the wire-binding many paper stocks were used in order to emphasize different sections of the book. The wire-binding also allowed for a book with many covers: 7 alltogether, all printed with different blue Pantone colors.

Interview by De Monsterkamer with Rasmus Snabb