Designer, photographer, passionate about art and the beautiful things in life and the world, Nuno F. Barbosa is a Portuguese designer by passion and vocation. In his relaxed style, Nuno speaks to The Printing Report about his experiences in the creative industry where paper is a fundamental and irreplaceable part of his work.

The Printing Report (TPR): When did you decide to be a designer?
Nuno F Barbosa (NFB): Since I was at primary and secondary school, my area has always been linked to the arts and so it was always my intention to become a designer. I can say that I really made the choice in my 9th school year. By that point, yes, I had a firm idea of the choice I was making and the path that I would follow.

TRP: What has been the greatest challenge that you have faced up to now?
NFB: I’m facing my biggest challenge now. Having to work as a freelancer, having to deal with clients directly, go to meetings and come up with solutions when what the client suggests doesn’t make sense. This is a true challenge.

TRP: Out of all the creative work you have done, what has been your favourite so far?
NFB: I shan’t say it was the most creative, but it was the most exciting. I didn’t do pagination, but rather image processing for 4 monthly and 1 quarterly magazines, as well as the final art for the printer. At this time, hundreds of photographs passed through my hands monthly, and this direct contact with excellent photographers and the printer gave me a lot of experience and know-how about the processes on both sides.

TPR: Do you normally work with paper?
NFB: Yes. I work regularly with pagination for magazines and books, so paper is the most widely used media.

TRP: How does paper inspire you?
NFB: Rather a lot. I am one of those people who keeps magazines that have somehow made an impression on me, whether through the originality of the layouts, or with innovation in terms of paper or cutting. Before I do any work, I always like to do some “research” in books, or in old magazines, in search of some “inspiration” and ideas.

TRP: How would you feel if you could no longer work with paper?
NFB: I would change profession! I think it would be a sign that things were going the wrong way. Digital media is also interesting, and it has other facilities that paper doesn’t have, nor shall have, like animations that can be on a page. But the growth of digital media must be seen as another option and not as the replacement or the end of paper.

TRP: In your opinion, is paper out of fashion?
NFB: In my opinion, paper will never end. In spite of being more expensive, laborious and slower (printing). The paper format will never end. Books and magazines have always been and will always be products that sell. Digital is more intuitive, easier to handle and more portable. But one must be able to touch a book; customers see books as product for reference and collection, and not as being on a hard disk or pen drive. We couldn’t be hostages to electricity, batteries or the internet to access a book or magazine that we downloaded in a digital format. Paper is in fashion. One must know how to progress and follow trends, but the paper format will always be the most sought after and appreciated by readers.

TRP: What advice about paper can you give to young designers?
NFB: I would firstly advise them to visit printers; it’s essential and imperative for any designer to realize the stages paper passes through from when it leaves the computer to when it arrives in our hands or the shops. The importance of paper’s weight, its quality and its interaction with the ink. Understanding ink’s behaviour with different types of paper to then guide clients and suggest the most appropriate for the task.