In response to a society that is more and more online with each passing day, it’s a comfort to know that there are stationery brands like London-based Papier that are not only surviving, but also thriving.
After six years on the stationery scene, Papier recently sought a brand refresh to help maintain their momentum as a much-needed antidote to all things digital. They looked to their London neighbors at the branding agency Ragged Edge to take on the project, intent on leveling up and propelling the brand forward.
“We wanted an approach that would challenge us and push us to be brave,” says Taymoor Atighetchi, CEO & Founder of Papier. “That’s the Ragged Edge ethos, and that’s what they’ve delivered. This rebrand really sets Papier apart from the pack.”
Ragged Edge saw the task at hand as a moment to reframe stationery altogether. “To get people thinking differently about stationery, we set out to redefine a category that solely focuses on aesthetics,” they explain on their site. “While the category sells objects that merely sit pretty, Papier invites people to consider the transformative power of stationery and to discover the possibilities of a blank page.”
The cornerstone of the resulting rebrand is a distinctive typeface and jazzy logo. The primary type is Self Modern by Bretagne Type Foundry, which is at once playful and bookish, spirited, and sophisticated. “It has a lovely mix of elegance and a sense of wonder,” explains Max Ottignon, co-founder of Ragged Edge. “We wanted something that felt noticeably distinct without feeling gimmicky. A tricky balance that Self Modern nails. Body copy is set in Quarion by René Bieder, which provides a nice compliment.”
The logo, now the heart of the identity, also aligns with this vibe, depicting a side view of an open book with squiggly lines as rippling pages. “Inspired by printer’s marks, it represents the magic inside the pages of Papier—pages of possibility,” explains Ottignon. “The logotype embraces those cues and is designed with distinctiveness in mind. The aim was to keep it as far away from a traditional tech startup as possible.”
Papier’s new color palette is as soothing as a crisp blank notebook page, and that’s not by chance. “The primary colors are neutral, referencing paper and ink—an off-white and a soft black respectively,” Ottignon says. “And we chose a secondary palette to add a hint of color to backgrounds, without ever competing with the vibrancy of the product colors. One of the big challenges with the color palette was that it had to work with the huge variety of colors in the products themselves.”
There’s an exuberance to Papier’s new design elements that feels fresh and inviting. Meanwhile, it still retains a polish and class you’d expect from a brand that peddles luxurious writing paraphernalia. Ragged Edge enlisted the expertise of photographer Charlie Mckay and illustrator Ciao Chiara for additional support in executing the project.
“We saw the possibility of an emporium full of wonder,” says Max Ottignon, the co-founder of Ragged Edge. “And just as an emporium does, this brand has to invite people in, to dig deeper, not knowing what you might discover. It appeals to and even provokes the senses, just like stationery itself.”
Papier’s new look and feel have been informed by customer research which showed that the modern pen and paper shopper seeks out stationery goods that “invite us to express, realize, and transform who we are.” Papier and Ragged Edge ran with those findings.
“This rebrand is all about that transformative power of stationery—there really is magic under the cover of a notebook,” states the Ragged Edge press release.
Anyone else getting the sudden urge to write some handwritten letters?