Meet The People Behind Design & Paper

Design & Paper came to life in 2012 as an initiative of the Europapier Group, whose Design Paper collections are known and trusted by many designers and printers in the Central and Eastern European Region. Committed to always giving their clients and partners the very best support, to help bring your projects to life, Europapier is a trusted and respected companion to many professionals in the design and paper industry. 

We believe the life of a project doesn’t end with production. And on Design&Paper, we celebrate the work that matters! Our goal is to inspire as well as build knowledge, by showcasing talented works in one of our 9 categories: Paper+Printing, Art+Illustration, Type, Insights, News+Events, Branding+Packaging, Publishing, DIY, and Design. 

Are you ready to meet the people behind the screen, the faces behind Design & Paper?

Behind almost any successful endeavor, there is a great team. This applies equally to the workplace, professional sports, as well as here on Design & Paper. Behind the screen, you can find three faces that all contribute to the process in their own unique ways. With our individual strengths and passions, we share a common goal of bringing you the very best content, and of course, share a love for all things design and paper. Numerous people and industry professionals over the years have contributed to the making of Design & Paper, but at the core of our doing, is our tight team of three who you’ll meet now:

Sini Mäkelä, Senior Editor

The one responsible for the visual style and tone of voice of Design & Paper: Sini Mäkelä

Graphic designer and content creator Sini Mäkelä has been with Design & Paper from the very beginning. She was part of the original concept development and has since become the voice behind most of our articles. Besides curating submissions and constantly being on the lookout for new, exciting projects and designers from around the world, Sini is responsible for the tone of voice as well as maintaining our numerous social media channels. She is also our photographer as well as the maker of our seasonal DIY projects. As a designer, Sini truly enjoys the opportunity to offer a platform for up-and-coming creatives, while highlighting ground-breaking projects that define the field of design and new trends of the era.

Sini, you’ve been on the Design&Paper project from the very beginning. How do you feel the blogosphere has changed in the last 10 years? “Design & Paper was launched at the height of the blog trend in 2012 and I believe we managed to capture the zeitgeist of the time quite well. In the beginning, our articles were much shorter and came out more frequently, but as we, and the genre itself, developed towards a more online publishing platform style, we evolved with it. I’d say our content has matured as we now focus on more curated, in-depth articles – which I personally enjoy writing, and reading, more.”

What is your favorite category and why? “I’m the one who is overly obsessed and always reading up on the latest trends in the BRANDING + PACKAGING design world, so when I get the chance to dive into that topic I sometimes find it hard to stop. But I’m also a sucker for beautiful ART + ILLUSTRATION projects, as there’s endless creativity and imagination there.”  

What do 10 years mean for you? “Well, it’s a little crazy to think that I’ve been working on Design & Paper for a decade now. It’s the longest project I’ve ever been involved in, and a true testament that when you are having a great time, it doesn’t feel like work! I am extremely proud of what we’ve made here.”

Sandra Schmidt, Publisher

Respected paper industry professional, who brings exclusive insight and knowledge: Sandra Schmidt

Since joining Europapier in 2015 as Business Lead of Design Papers, Sandra Schmidt has revolutionized and extended the Design Papers assortment, inspiring customers and colleagues alike, while supporting creatives, printers, and publishers in bringing beautiful print projects to life, the best of which have found their place on Design & Paper.  Constantly inspired by new printing and converting technologies, Sandra enjoys sharing her unmatched knowledge and professional insight with our readers in our PAPER+PRINTING category. As the acting Publisher, Sandra makes sure the quality of the content of Design & Paper stays high and constantly evolving, while her passion for the craft keeps the whole team motivated and inspired.

Sandra, you’ve had a monthly column in the Graphische Review magazine, since 2020. What do you think the main difference between the two mediums is, and as a paper industry professional, do you prefer print over digital? “Nowadays, you need to combine the mediums in order to optimize your communication. Even if we are now in the age of digitization, paper holds the dominant position when it comes to the emotional factor of messages and value to be expressed. Paper has meanwhile undergone a reassessment, thanks to digitalization. It has become the truffle of the communication media. Back to the roots, to the subtle and analog. The communication should feel real, therefore touchable. On the other side, digital media help to spread ideas, like we are doing with our Blog. We share projects with the target to inspire paper lovers all over the world with beautiful print projects. Cleverly connected, digital and analog media help enormously spreading ideas and messages.”

Who would you like us to interview for the blog and why? “Irma Boom, a bookmaker from the Netherlands. How she approaches book design and connects content, story, material, print, and binding is amazing to me. With her books, she has pushed boundaries with her ingenious, unconventional approaches. To mention just a few exceptional books: The Architecture of the Book, a book which comes in a miniature of 41,4 x 54 mm – 55g which also has an XXL edition of 7,5 kg; Weaving as Metaphor, Sheila Hicks. The minimalistic cover and the edges, which are jagged and frayed, are really stunning; James Jennifer Georgina, a story in postcards of a family. She brought the family story together by planning a book spine of 3 elements, representing the 3 family members and connecting them in the book via this spine. And that is exactly what is so fascinating to me, every book shape, material, and design approach has a reason. I could listen for hours to Irma Boom in order to hear the background stories of her book design approaches.”  

Where would you like to see the blog take off? Which direction do you envision for the future? For the future, free reporting remains important to me. Design is at the heart of all of our decisions about what posts to publish. This independence remains our philosophy also for the time to come. And, for a while now I’ve had a dream of publishing a magazine and extending the blog with an analog medium.”

What do 10 years mean for you? “10 years full of inspiration. 10 years, working with a great team!”

Andra Tănase, Editor

Keeping our editorial calendar full of inspiring content and well organized: Andra Tănase

Andra Tănase came on board the team in 2018, after joining Europapier as a Product Manager for Design Papers. Her focus on Design & Paper is to curate inspiring projects from Central Eastern European countries that utilize and showcase to our readers the incredible versatility of Europapier’s Design Papers collection. Andra manages this by closely collaborating with a vast network of Europapier Sales Teams, whose proposed customer projects she then reviews and writes about. Andra also enjoys introducing Europapier’s new paper assortment tools and launches, as well as putting together our monthly newsletter that highlights the top articles of the past month. Without Andra’s networks and amazing organizational skills, many of our articles might not have never seen the light of day.

What was your favorite moment working on Design & Paper and why? “Definitely when we did the blog redesign at the beginning of 2019. We hunkered down for two days – outside of the office – in a totally creative space in Vienna, where we mulled over ideas, approached the why and the how of the blog, and set a new course for the future. There were fun times, lots of laughs, and free-thinking, which really brought us together as a team. Everything was then topped off with one of the funniest photoshoots of my life.”

What paper recipe would you develop if it were possible? “Personally, I would love to have and use a range of up-cycling papers with a completely captivating smell, on top of the look: since it’s autumn, my mind goes towards pumpkin pie smell, fresh from the oven, cinnamon or mulled wine. The paper would contain these raw ingredients in the recipe, and as an extra bonus, they would delicately emanate the scent.”

What do 10 years mean for you? “It’s a significant amount of time in a person’s life, a good moment for self-reflection and re-grouping. Am I how I’ve seen myself at this point in my life? Am I who I want to be? What could I be doing better? Change is the only constant in life, so it’s only natural you view yourself, your trajectory, or the projects you are investing in, transform over time. I’m also a big believer in celebrating milestones – be it personal or professional – honor the effort you and your team have put in and take delight in the achievements. It gives you energy and resources to carry on, improve and do better. “

Design&Paper Team
Get the latest articles and news delivered straight to the comfort of your own inbox!
Get the latest articles and news delivered straight to the comfort of your own inbox!