As digital continues its tsunami-like crush of tactile culture, a nostalgia for the physical pervades. Those who feel it most fiercely find relief in vinyl bins, old books, the very rare handwritten letter. While much of what was once seen and felt in the real world has moved onto the glowing 2D surface of a computer screen, some vestiges of old remain–better, in many ways, than they ever were before.
Case in point: Paper Chase Press. The family-owned press and bindery has been producing bespoke paper products of exceptional quality from their Los Angeles factory since 1976. They have been the go-to for creatives in film, fashion, art, and beyond. Condé Nast, Gagosian, Opening Ceremony: these are just a small taste of those looking for the company’s time-honed skills.
An encounter with a Paper Chase Press product means an immediate comprehension of its quality, of its uncommon design. Everything–lookbooks, posters, business cards, invites, soft covers, hard covers–is made by hand and in-house using American materials. The time and effort is felt, and that is certainly by design. With CEO Nicole Katz at the helm, daughter of the husband-and-wife team who started the company over forty years ago, demand for Paper Chase Press continues in the face of Cheaper and Faster. Because what they offer is, without question, Better.
Below, we head to the facilities of Paper Chase Press to pick Katz’s brain about fellow made-in-L.A. brands, bookstores of note, and Infoshop LA, an well-designed effort with political aims.
First memory of Paper Chase as a child:
Our first storefront was across the street from the historic Farmers Market on Fairfax and 3rd, so a lot of my earliest memories involve eating Bennett’s ice cream or warm bear claws from Bob’s Donuts with my dad. I also had a great little hiding spot under one of the desks in the stockroom that I loved to watch all the action in the shop from.
Did you always know you’d join the family business?
I didn’t know expressly that I wanted to join the business, but everything I did professionally prior to taking over seemed to orbit around the print world. When the opportunity presented itself to formally take the reins, it felt like a very natural next step in my career.
A business card is _________:
A small chance to make a physical connection.
Four other made-in-L.A. businesses we should support:
Favorite bookstore in Los Angeles:
I could spend many, many hours in Book Soup (there’s just something about their great selection of titles and how cozy the inside of the store is). I also love the Hammer Museum bookstore, which in addition to great art books also has really wonderful children’s books.
Best place to curl up with a book in Los Angeles:
Definitely at the beach. There’s nothing more luxurious than reading a book while lying in the sand.
Coffee shop for the best buzz:
Almond cappuccinos from the Blue Bottle near my office.
Literary figure you’d most like to share a cocktail or green juice with:
I think a cocktail with Hunter S. Thompson would be pretty brilliant.
Three things you always pack when traveling:
A good book, a pair of jeans, coconut oil.
One thing you are most likely to forget when traveling:
A phone charger.
Notebook doodler—yes or no?
What doodle do you doodle often?
Mostly geometric shapes and patterns.
What book is on your nightstand right now?
C7, a novella by Thymaya Payne, Various Small Fires by Celeste Ng (which I haven’t yet started), and a journal of anecdotes that I keep about my kids.
Magazine on your coffee table:
Artforum and the New Yorker, always.
Infoshop LA is currently working on:
Last year we released GOTCHA (your Governmental Office Tele-Communication and Harassment Aid). GOTCHA is essentially a phone book for the government that, in addition to contact info for all members of Congress, provides every tool and piece of information you’d need to be an engaged citizen (without having to use the web). This year we’re releasing L.A. GOTCHA, a phonebook and resource guide specifically for the city of L.A.
Type of client you love working with: