Book Cover Design Trends: Paper Cuts

When I was in grad school almost 15 years ago, there were a total of three people working with paper as their medium. I was making sculptural and large format paper works, another person was working with Korean techniques of paper making and layers and the third person was doing paper cuts. We thought she was nuts. Sitting hunched over her desk with a large sheet of rice paper and exacto blades bought in bulk at the ready. She'd sit for hours, eyes trained on the faint lines as she'd cut several intricate patterns, stop, swap out her blade, and cut some more. Some of her patterns were so intricate that she'd go through one blade for every square inch of paper.

Back then, there were a handful of artists, worldwide, who claimed paper cutting as their medium. Now, I'm happy to say, I'm seeing the art form appear more and more in the mainstream. I noticed it gaining popularity a few years ago in magazine spreads and now it's popping up as a book cover design technique.

A few years ago I was thrilled to do a post on Sterling's Signature Shakespeare series, for which Kevin Stanton did some amazing illustrative paper cuts. Since then, I've seen the technique appear on a number of book cover designs.

Added 08.15.16:

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