Fable’s The State of Print questions the relationship of digital and print in both content and design
Singapore-based multi-disciplinary design consultancy Fable have produced a new digital/physical experience titled The State of Print, with Singaporean neighbour Basheer Graphic, that aims to spark conversation on the place of printed matter in the digital age. Coming with every purchase made from the book store, The State of Print is a book that encourages the reader to interact with it digitally; marrying AR, QR codes, Instagram filters, spatial experiences, the project’s own interactive site and more.
In conversation with Fable’s Founder Jiahui Tan, he explains that “print and bookselling are slowly becoming a tough business in Singapore, with everyone going online (Pinterest, Behance) for inspiration,” adding that younger creatives are beginning to spend less and less time with books, and instead spend “more time scrolling.” After speaking to Basheer Graphic’s owner about the issue at hand, Fable set out to create something playful and participatory, involving the integration of digital to print and introduction of print to digital.
“The website also involves topics and interviews with industry professionals from both design and the peripheral industries (paper merchant, author),” Tan explains, giving the audience an insight into the shifting industry of print and its related fields. “We were involved in curating, writing, and also interviewing all the topics,” Tan notes, covering issues from e-waste vs print waste and sustainable tech to history of print and the evolution of publishing. “We feel we need to send a strong message to educate both the history part of things,” Tan explains, “as well as misconceptions;” also wanting to emphasise the typically unappreciated mass of e-waste across the globe.
With an engaging and fun aesthetic, which itself plays with the contradiction of digital and physical engagement, the design is spearheaded by its lively custom letterforms that construct the book’s cover as well as the primary interactive tool on the website. Looking to progress the letterforms into their own fully-realised typeface, Tan explains that “we have always approached design with intent and not just trendiness,” hoping to educate those who exist both in and out of the design field on design and print processes. “We made it move in the motion graphics for the fun and dynamism, of course!” he adds.
“Black and white bring out the intention of the execution best,” Tan explains, recalling the intentional limitations imposed on their design decisions. “We feel that we have to strip down to black and white for this project as we did not want to have any unnecessary design elements,” he tells us, citing factors like colour and gradients as design components that can complicate a project’s execution. Wanting to create something as sophisticated and contemporary as possible, Tan comments that “the website is already quite interactive both in mobile and desktop,” adding “and hence having more colours would make the experience quite glitzy and confusing.”