Whenever I come across this paper I always stop and give it a second glance, not sure whether to love it or hate it. Twelve years later it still grabs my attention. Keep in mind this is an inexpensive machine printed paper. If you can disregard the stripes for a minute, the butterflies and roses are nicely styled. The butterflies are all shown in flight, each drawn differently with enough detail to keep them interesting. Some are coming, some are going, but they are all brightly colored which makes them pop against the background. Also, the thinness of the pigment, a necessity for machine printing, gives them a delicate aspect. Same with the color bleed, caused by running the paper though the printing press very quickly, works to their advantage, adding to the organic nature of their design. Same with the roses, though I think the coloring is less successful, but they are clearly identifiable as roses. I find the effect of butterflies and roses to be very light and airy with enough variation among the different motifs to make you unaware of the small pattern repeat.

Now when you view the overall design including the stripes it automatically feels heavier. The stripes totally ground the design. Given the translucent nature of the printing inks the stripes almost outweigh the butterflies and roses, with the stark contrast between the black and white stripes accentuating this effect. If you can imagine the background printed in two monochrome colors, say two shades of pink, the effect would be very different. But the black and white does create a strong graphic element and give the design a crisp look, though I can’t help viewing these bold stripes as prison bars and wonder what these poor butterflies have done. On the bright side, that strong vertical element would definitely raise the ceiling visually, and who doesn’t want higher ceilings?

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