Isobel Chiang

Paper and Ink is both a technical and theoretical resource for anyone wanting to use paper and printing to shape the message, atmosphere, and concept of a book. Paper and Ink is our attempt to share the knowledge our studio has amassed through 150+ book projects over the past 5 years. It’s centered around the idea that things like paper, endsheets, thread, ink laydown, specialty finishes, folding structure, and cover material all belong to the book as much as its content, and it’s the designer who brings everything together under one cohesive plan. This requires not only material sensitivity — or an intuition of what “feels right”— but also an understanding of the possibilities and limitations of book production.

Because it’s impossible to truly understand paper or printing without feeling and seeing it in front of you, we included swatches from many of those projects—leftovers from accidents, make ready, or overage—alongside the text. We find so often in our commissioned work that there’s a disconnect between digital designs and printed reality. Bridging that gap requires experience and resources, which can be really hard to come by as an individual artist or designer. We hope this book can help readers leapfrog over some of that gap. Despite its technical nature, we think it reads like a love letter to bookmaking (at least to us book nerds).

The entire edition is printed, collated, and bound by hand. Each book contains different swatches, meaning each book is unique and imperfect by nature. 

This title is held in the collections of: 
Rhode Island School of Design 

Production Details 

8.5 × 11 in
52 pages
Spiral binding
1 color Risograph printed
Cover details: Gold foil stamp
Interior paper: 120gsm Cougar Vellum White, collated with offset swatches from Small Editions studio


Edition of 500
Published by Small Editions
Written by Isobel Chiang
Designed by Isobel Chiang
Bound by Small Editions
Printed by Small Editions, with help from Caslon Yoon
Binding help from Caslon Yoon, Sarah Nicholls, and Zachary Desjardins-Mooney

Located outside of the Brooklyn Navy Yard in occupied Lenapehoking (Brooklyn, New York), Small Editions offers services in book and print design, bookbinding, fine printing, and box making. We also run an independent publishing imprint, where we collaborate with artists
on several projects annually.