Astrid & Irene: paper love

The other day we were talking about why paper makes us so happy. It’s mostly because so many good memories are connected to paper. The note received from the cutest boy in first grade — Richard — with the words ‘I luv you’ (Irene); the homemade, limited-edition family newspaper, written on an old typewriter (Astrid); the letter in a blue airmail envelope from a brand-new summer-vacation friend — Fabienne, in France — in 1981 (Irene); the booklets made as gifts for your parents’ birthdays (Astrid); the diaries we filled with photos of the idols of our youth (both of us): they’re all paper.

We used to worry that people’s love of paper was on the wane in this new digital era and that no one would understand the thrill of a blank notebook any more — which is as exciting as the first day of spring. Or the contentment of hearing the newspaper thud on the doormat on a Saturday morning. Or how great a new Flow smells and feels when you hold it in your hands.

But now we know we have nothing to worry about. Paper is back, and has made itself indispensable once again. It’s marvelous how it has reinvented itself. Once it was a commonplace and utilitarian object; now it’s so much more. Paper has come to stand for slowing down, taking a time-out moment, paying attention, reliability. All the latest studies are positive about paper’s future. Research done by WeTransfer about creativity shows that 40 percent of respondents prefer recording their ideas in a paper notebook instead of storing them digitally. Other research shows respondents saying they remember information much better when they read it on paper.

We are and will always be paper lovers. You can wake us up in the middle of the night for a handwritten letter, a crisp new notebook, a box of stationery, or a gift tag on a string loop. Also for a beautiful illustration in a magazine, that we like to tear out and hang on the wall. We’ll always keep enjoying paper — how it smells, how it feels, how it always is a little gift to yourself. And, now, also how it helps you slow down. For us paper is the new yoga!

  • Read more about paper love in issue 33.