Papergang Subscription

Box decorated with light-turquoise images of whales, with 'Papergang' cut-out.

I’ve written before about the perils of subscription boxes, so when I found myself bombarded on social media by adverts for Papergang, I was a little cautious. It’s important to resist the urge to seek small solutions for big problems, and the brief moments of pleasure offered by subscription services landing on your doorstep can be deceptive. However, on looking into Papergang, I decided that the difference with this one is that it’s offering things I actually need. As someone who still hand-writes almost everything before typing it up, I get through a lot of notebooks, and am always on the lookout for more. So, given the final push by the usual first box voucher, I signed up. I’ve now been subscribed for a few months, and am pretty happy with it. Here’s what came in my latest box, to give you an idea of what you might be getting.

Small single-month calendar sheet, page of stickers, notebook, poster reading 'there is no Planet B', narwhal pin, and bag containing metal straws, all in various whale-based patterns

Each box is themed, usually in conjunction with a fairly apolitical cause or charity. In the past it’s been butterfly conservation, this time it’s marine wildlife. They’re causes that are worth caring about, but also look cute on stationery. I somehow don’t think they’ll be supporting Black Lives Matter any time soon. Their causes have to be adorable, photogenic, and not question the status quo too much.

All cynicism aside, Papergang , which is run by Ohh Deer, supports independent and small-scale artists, and it’s good that they’re willing to use their platform to draw attention to some important issues. Each box comes with a little booklet explaining what’s in the box, an interview with the artist, and some articles on the theme. The box also usually contains something suiting the theme; this time an article on single-use plastic was accompanied by a set of metal straws in the box. All a bit micro-consumerist, but surely no one really believes buying a subscription box is going to save the planet. The artist for this month’s box was Jack Carter, and you can see more of his work here.

Image of the leaflet, with interview page and photo of Jack Carter drawing

The box contains a fair number of useful items, like notebooks, alongside more decorative items like the pin and poster. In my time subscribing I haven’t really made use of the decorative items, but they make nice little gifts. One box contained a ‘Conscious Shopping List’, which things to consider before buying new products, and I did put that up on our general notice-board at work.

Overall I get enough out of each box that I will keep up subscribing. Now I’m blogging more I’m also getting through a lot more paper, so it’s nice to have a varied supply headed to me every month. The products are all high quality and the box is pretty good value.

The one real negative about Papergang is that you never know what style you’re going to get. They choose a big variety of designers, whose work is wildly different, so if you’re picky, or have a particular style you like, this isn’t the box for you. Below is a photo of a previous box’s notebooks, and I can understand that someone who likes the cute whales of this month’s box wouldn’t necessarily like the graphic prints of this one.

Two note-books with bright oil-spill patterns in green and pink.

So if you know what you like, find yourself hoarding notebooks, or prefer to type, this isn’t the subscription for you. If you like trying new styles and get through as many notebooks as I do, then give it a try!

Have you tried any stationery subscription services? What did you think? If you want to give Papergang a shot you can click this link to get a discount. You can order as many or as few boxes as you like, and pause any time. I’ve also given a subscription as a gift, which went down very well. I’d love to hear what you think of Papergang!

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