Theresia Uhrlau

A Designer’s Ode to the Everyday

In our increasingly digitalized society, it’s become clear that virtually all of our everyday correspondences are paperless. If paper will become an unnecessary, void product in the future, in what 500 ways could we use paper differently?

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Available in packs of 500 and with a paper strength of 80g/m² for laser or inkjet printers, standardized DIN A4 format paper has measurements of 297mm x 210mm. One square meter of DIN A4 sheets weight 80 grams together. Four right angles limit it; it’s slightly transparent and sharp-edged. One becomes a destroyer by tearing it apart and a creator by building objects with it such as folding paper planes. No other material is as banal and versatile; it records traces of our interaction and confronts the viewer with unexpected situations when it leaves the office context. Through small experiments, we explored how far we could push the boundaries of plain DIN A4 format paper.

Every aspect of this project is inspired by office standards. The font is squeezed into the grid, by stretching and distorting it as much as possible. We neglected most of the typographic standards in a harsh and brutal way, just like we handled the sheets of paper.

‘80g/m²’ is a design project, which questions the medium of paper’s relevance for today. In everyday use it only acquires value as long it contains information such as a handwritten note or a printed essay. This project provides proof of the versatility of paper as pure object.

Project Partner Christina Tran. Visual Systems, UdK Berlin. 2019

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