Saturday, 23 March 2013

Book Review: Paul Jackson's newest papercraft gem

Cut and Fold Techniques for Promotional Materials
By Paul Jackson
Laurence King Publishing
Paperback, £15.95
Published March 2013

Papercraft guru Paul Jackson is back with a new title to add to his indispensable collection of papercraft design references. This book is a collection of attention-grabbing presentation ideas - marvels of paper engineering - perfect for promotional materials and advertising. The ideas are either in the public domain or are the author's original designs. Many are appearing in print for the first time. You add your own graphics to suit your purpose.

Most of the designs are interactive - as the author states, "almost everything will open, close, collapse, turn inside out, change shape, or need assembling." There are designs that reveal hidden faces when manipulated, folded envelopes, modular solids, folded booklets, puzzles and illusions. A wonderful bag of tricks to delight and amaze.

A great thing about this book is that the author talks you through the paper engineering so that you understand the mechanism, enabling you to produce the design yourself. Lots of step-by-step diagrams, with colour where helpful. This is a much sounder idea than providing pattern templates sans explanation.

In the Intro, Paul Jackson makes the point that some of the designs don't look like much on the page - the magic comes when you make them up and the interactive element comes into play (sort of like a garment that looks ordinary on the hanger, but is fabulous when worn).
With this in mind, I have been sampling the projects in the book. The man speaks the truth.

Here are some of the projects to which I have added my own graphics:
This is a tetrahedron. The slotted pieces fit together in various configurations.
See - different sizes. You can also make elongated, rather than spherical shapes.
This is a "Desktop Trophy" - a Jackson Cube on a display base. (I'm thinking of making a "What shall we have for dinner?" cube.)
These are the components of the Desktop Trophy. The Jackson Cube is truly amazing- it interlocks solidly without any adhesive.
This is the Angled Envelope. I've made it up in a patchwork "cheater" print.
This is the Engineered Envelope.
The tab tucks neatly into the bottom flap of the envie.

Other projects that I can't wait to try include the Flexicube (with hidden faces) and the Spinning Spiral.

There are plenty of fascinating paper geek tidbits - like the special proportions of an A4 sheet of paper. Paul Jackson has made a career of his paper engineering expertise and he has retained his enthusiasm and sense of wonder. 

I did find a couple of the designs to be a little obvious - like the Windmill Base Manipulation (this is the origami "fortune teller" you surely made as a kid) and the Square CD Envelope. But it is better for these to be included than omitted - at least you will be reminded of them as design options.

You don't have to be a graphic design pro to benefit from this book. All the designs are accessible to the hobbyist papercrafter. The designs can be used as party favours, decorations, and gifts. Parents: this book would come in very handy during half-term.

Other marvelous Paul Jackson titles in this series include Folding Techniques for Designers (From Sheet to Form), and Structural Packaging (Design your own Boxes and 3-D Forms), also from Laurence King.