Challenging the Archetype: A Critical Analysis of Electronic Paper Display as an Alternative to Pulp-based Ephemera
In October 2008, Esquire magazine became the first commercial publisher to utilize electronic paper display technology (EPD) for mass production and distribution of printed ephemera. Initially developed at the MIT Media Lab in 1997, E Ink displays have been integrated into a variety of hardware devices, including the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader. However, the Esquire cover represents a milestone achievement in the evolution of a more sustainable, paperless print solution due to the medium’s flexible nature, low power consumption, and limited circuitry requirements. Newsstands sold 100,000 copies for the regular cover price of $5.99 USD, proving both the economic viability and flexible application of the technology, which is impervious to ambient lighting conditions and adaptable to multiple modalities. This paper will outline the key features and benefits of E Ink, as well as the critical challenges impeding widespread adoption of EPD.
Keywords: Sustainable Design, Design and Society, Eco-design, Communication and Information, Case Study/Studies, Electronic Paper Display, E Ink, Pulp-based Printing
Prof. Christopher Moore
Assistant Professor, Department of Design & Computation Arts, Concordia University