I decided to write this post based on a lecture given by our former Dean on Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. He told us about his experiences in moving to Doha from Pittsburgh, and one of the things he mentioned was the difference in standard, trivial things that nobody really thinks about. One of those things were, as the name suggests, paper size!
As silly as it may seem, this has really been frustrating me. I’m used to printing things out on A4 and A3 paper – and as a designer, part of my field of study involves (unfortunately) lots of printing. I had a booklet that I made for my service design course last year, 75 pages of A4 paper. For the past two months I’ve been looking for a place to print it out for my portfolio, but it’s impossible! Even the giant printing companies like Staples and Office Depot want me to special order paper in for my print job! The average price for the whole job, including binding, ends up coming to around $70-80. In Doha I could get the same thing done for free!
The second incident I had with American standard paper was when we were doing our project for Interaction Design – it was supposed to be on 11×17 paper, which is kind of like A3 paper squished horizontally and stretched vertically. Needless to say, it completely destroyed my grid system, I ended up having a poster which had to much white space on the bottom and not much space on the sides! I’ve attached a copy of my disastrous first assignment below, for your reference.
The moral of this story is: don’t ever misjudge the importance of the smaller things in your life. I never though paper size made such a big difference to my life until I came here. Everybody takes things like these for granted, but who knows, maybe one day the thing we expected to be by our side all our lives will leave us and we’ll realize too late how much we miss it. I can’t go back in time to appreciate paper, but hey, maybe you can seize this as a chance to appreciate things, or even people, that you take for granted everyday of your life.
Make me proud, take something out of this story!