Buroform across borders: A conversation with Claire Evrard of Switzerland’s Common Modern

International recognition for Buroform is on the rise, as our printing company increasingly catches the attention of designers and businesses from abroad. One such enterprise is Switzerland’s Common Modern, with whom we’ve had a close collaboration since last year. The production agency specializes in luxurious office items, from planners to notepads and notebooks, distinguished by their natural prints in challenging color combinations. We spoke with founder Claire Evrard about her unique sense for quality printing and how she extends it into her so-called ‘Nature Pop-style’.

Hi Claire, starting at the beginning: why did you start Common Modern?

“I worked as a graphic designer for over 20 years for a variety of clients, from small boutiques to large international corporations. My career took me around the world, to places like Melbourne, London, New York, and Singapore. Having contributed to so many brands and seen them flourish, there came a point where I wanted to start my own brand. In Switzerland, it’s hard to find office supplies with a distinctive graphic style, so my decision was quickly made. Moreover, I’ve always loved printing. Throughout my career, I’ve worked with many printers and was fascinated to see how the printing process unfolds. Four years ago, I officially launched Common Modern, which focuses on everyday office products with a playful yet sophisticated design.”

How would you describe the collections of Common Modern?

“Nature is my major source of inspiration. Graphic patterns and motifs always start from natural forms and silhouettes. Moreover, color is key: I love bold and unexpected color combinations. This way, I’ve developed my own style, which I call ‘Nature Pop’: nature-inspired designs that simply pop. For instance, the first collection is named ‘Ginkgo Pop’. This line was created based on the leaves of a young Ginkgo Biloba tree at my home. Other collections are inspired by, for example local Swiss fruits, shells from Australia, or the forests around the region where I live.”

Besides the ‘standard’ office supplies, you also develop custom products. What can clients expect?

“The premise of Common Modern is to design everyday office items with that little bit of extra finesse. Notebooks, calendars, cards, planners – we always try to add something special. This way, we create something that inspires people and isn’t just thrown away after use. Our products are fun to give, enjoy, and keep. Increasingly, we also design custom stationery collections for museums that connect with our Nature Pop style.”

Nature is more than just an inspiration for you. You consciously choose eco-friendly materials and production processes. How important is sustainability to common Modern?

“I’m concerned about our planet. About the future of our children. With Common Modern, the goal isn’t just to put more stuff into the world. The products need to be useful and recyclable. Materials, production processes, and partners – everything and everyone we work with most support this vision. Sustainability is thus embedded in our entire business philosophy.”

How did you come into contact with Buroform?

“A while ago, I was looking for a new technique for a special planner I had designed. At some point, I got in touch with a Belgian bookbinder, also a partner of Buroform. They recommended I visite you and introduced me to Jesse. After a fruitful discussion and a tour of the printing company, things started rolling.”

Why choose a Belgian company?

“For me, it’s important to create products that are truly high quality. At the same time, I want to keep the production process as close to home as possible. I was looking for a partner within the EU. Since my husband is Belgian, I quickly ended up in your country. I have a lot of family here and visit regularly, also for my work. Additionally, from the first contact, I had a very good feeling. Jesse showed me around the printing company and a range of completed projects. I was thoroughly impressed. Detailing is incredibly important to me, and you can tell that Buroform is just as committed. I love the feel of paper, the sensation of writing on it, the richness and depth of colors, the perfection of binding, special printing techniques, and so on… That Jesse and his team immediately understood where I wanted to go with my story completely won me over.”

Common Modern is booming. What plans do you have for the future?

“Soon, we’ll be launching a new design service for museums, botanical gardens, and cultural centers. The idea is to release collections that tap into the story and unique location of those organizations. If this becomes successful, I’d like to extend the service to other companies and sectors. Translating strong brand stories into Nature Pop is the big goal for the future.”

Thank you for your time and enthusiasm, Claire. And wishing you lots of success!