Last month German design studio Bureau Mirko Borsche relaunched the cult Munich street publication Super Paper, a free monthly distributed to 15,000 people, covering art, music, and culture in its own graphically provocative style. The paper functions as a kind of testing ground for Borsche’s studio, which he founded in 2007. “We always try out new things with Super Paper, things we use later for other clients,” he says.
Looking over the back issues, it’s clear that the studio isn’t afraid to make controversial design decisions and brave typographic choices, or feature suggestive illustrations. But while some of the graphic choices might raise an eyebrow, everything is done with a knowing wink. Speaking about his use of Comic Sans on the front cover of the November 2014 issue, Borsche says, “I was reading an article about how much designers hate that font, so I wanted to try to make that font work—with a little bit of irony of course.” He also explains that while working in a traditional newspaper format introduces greater restrictions than magazine layouts, he embraces a different approach that allows the studio to work within these restraints, rather than against them.
Undoubtedly, this approach is a divisive one. A recent story on It’s Nice That described the studio’s style as ‘confrontational.’ However, Borsche tells us it’s never about being weird for the sake of it. “We never try to do something strange,” he says. “We challenge people by doing things a bit differently than they’re normally used to.” The new design also introduces a new Super Paper logo–an illustrated dog carrying a newspaper. It’s another example of the studio’s stylized sense of humor. Borsche explains, “I like the idea of an animated, humorous character as a brand’s mascot.”
Admittedly, street papers themselves aren’t a phenomenon, but when they’re as subversive as Super Paper, it’s worth sitting up and taking notice.