Challenging the Archetype: A Critical Analysis of Electronic Paper Display as an Alternative to Pulp-based Ephemera

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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
Stream: Environmental Sustainability
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: , Challenging the Archetype


Prof. Christopher Moore

Assistant Professor, Department of Design & Computation Arts, Concordia University
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Christopher Moore is a designer and educator whose cross-disciplinary practice ranges from commercial publication design to media-based installations. Moore’s creative and scholarly research currently focuses on appropriated digital content, and the emergence of new genres of folk culture facilitated by social media applications. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions, and he has participated in artist residency projects throughout North America. Moore has presented his scholarly research at international conferences, including the College Art Association (CAA), Design Research Society (DRS), Association Typographique International (ATypI), and the Universities Art Association of Canada (UAAC). For the past 11 years, he has taught at institutions across Canada and currently holds the position of Assistant Professor in Design & Computation Arts at Concordia University in Montreal.

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