Milligram has been stocking Rifle Paper Co. for many years and we love everything Anna Bond and her team create. We interviewed Anna to learn a little more about what inspires her.
There is an instantly recognisable nostalgic element to your designs and illustrations – what is your own favourite era (or eras) and why?
There are so many inspiring elements from a number of eras but I would have to say that I’m drawn to the late 50’s and early 60’s more than any other. There was this simplicity and craftsmanship to that era that is so beautiful to me. Everything from modern, minimal architecture to vibrant technicolor films. There are so many designs that have become timeless from that time and I find that incredibly fascinating. I try to pull some of that nostalgia and quality into my work and hope that I, too, end up with lasting designs.
Can you share some of the illustrators and designers that you admire?
Some of my favorite illustrators are Mary Blair, Don Freeman, Charley Harper, Edward Gorey, and a number of folk artists. Designers I admire are Peter Buchan-Smith, Stefan Sagmeister, and Paul Rand. There are different things that I admire about each of them ranging from innovation (Sagmeister) to beautiful simplicity (Buchan-Smith) to a sense of humor (Gorey).
Mary Blair illustration
What are some of the tools of your trade (paints, pens, brushes etc)?
I primarily paint with gouache, which is like an opaque watercolour. I paint my illustrations and all of my lettering with brushes (usually quite small) on watercolour paper and then scan the art to make adjustments on the computer. I also paint to scale so that I can see how the design is shaping up while I work.
What’s your preferred paper stock?
There are a couple U.S. paper mills that I lean toward because of their quality standards. I love uncoated paper and seeing how different paper stocks feel (how smooth or soft it is). I also choose stocks based on the color. I get in trouble sometimes for being so picky but there are about 50 different shades of cream. I try to pick just the right tone to match the mood I’m going for and to complement the illustrations.
How do you see digital and analog sitting alongside each other, especially in the arena of ‘social stationery’ as you so eloquently put it?
I think stationery has taken on a much more special meaning and role in people’s lives. Now that you don’t have to use it, it means that much more. Anyone can send a birthday message through their phone so receiving a card in the mail shows so much thought and effort. I don’t think technology will ever get rid of the stationery industry. I think it’ll just take on different meanings as we move forward. As a designer it’s my job to notice those changes and adjust our products accordingly.
What’s on the horizon for Rifle Paper Co.?
So many things! I was just planning out our goals for the next year and there are a lot of exciting projects on the horizon. We’re starting to expand our line with gifts products that aren’t just cards or paper-based. I’m also planning a unique side project that will debut next Spring and will showcase a different aesthetic.