The idea of a blank piece of paper is somehow a touchstone for all our hopes and fears. Each new analog sheet or digital file holds out the possibility of creating something fresh that matters, that can make a difference. With the flip side being yet another flawed creation that falls short. But the prospect of failure is not enough to keep us from constantly engaging and making the first difficult mark on that disturbing expanse of whiteness. It’s from this struggle that paper company Arjowiggins Creative Papers launched its Blank Sheet Project in 2010, in association with D&AD.

The genesis for the project apparently came from the firm posing itself the question: ‘‘If we started again; if we had a blank sheet of paper; if we put sustainability at the very top of the agenda; what would we do? How could we do things differently?’ It’s a good question, a timely one, and one that too-few corporations are asking themselves, despite the increasingly precarious state of the planet. It was eventually reduced to its essentials by simply asking, ‘How will we leave our mark?’ How indeed.

To that end the project’s site posts interviews with those in the design industries, a few of which are included below. A recent initiative is its Time Capsule, which asks us to imagine the future of design. The idea is that over a six-month period, work that’s tasked to ‘represent your interpretation of Design in 2023,’ spanning graphic design to film-making, architecture, culinary arts, music, acting and illustration, can be uploaded to an online gallery, there to be commented on by as-yet-unnamed ‘mentors.’ The works will then be bundled up and the time capsule opened in 2023. Let’s hope we’re all still here for the opening.

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