Paper Foundation

Paper Foundation

Identity

The Paper Foundation is an arts and heritage charitable organisation created to celebrate the remarkable material of paper. The Foundation is based in Burneside, in England’s Lake District. The locality has been a mill village since the middle-ages and a paper-making community since 1746. The organisation was formed by Mark Cropper, sixth-generation papermaker and chair of the renowned James Cropper mill, and operates a handmade paper mill and a centre for paper arts. It makes fine paper for artists, conservators, bookbinders and presses.

As we began working on the identity for the Paper Foundation, we aimed to provide a simple and meaningful solution that would bridge the organisation’s activities steeped in heritage and resolutely looking forward. The Foundation’s dedication to reviving skills, preserving physical tools and processes, involving the local community and sharing its knowledge with a wider audience was inspirational.

The identity takes a restrained approach, letting the paper play a pivotal role. The logo is based on historical watermarks used by paper-makers to certify their production. The stylised house emblem echoes the protected space offered by the foundation as a place for nurturing skills and housing an archive.

Whilst searching through the Paper Foundation’s rich historical archive, we came across a telegram printed by James Cropper in 1800s. Its envelope featured an all-caps sans serif typeface with a distinctive underline and period. The telegram became the starting point for the Foundation’s word mark — we adopted the same distinguishing typographic treatment and crafted bespoke letterforms which are closely modelled on those of the telegram, with similar weighting, proportions and spacing.

To accompany the word mark, we developed Burneside Grotesque — a custom typeface loosely based on Grotesque No. 6, a design from 19th-century Sheffield-based type founder Stephenson Blake. Our contemporary take on the design celebrates the original’s charming naïvety and reflects the Foundation’s strong British heritage and industrial roots.

2020