Typeface design education from Cooper Union
Pop up structures 101

Pop-up Structures 101
with Kelli Anderson

Have you ever wanted to design a pop-up book, but don’t know where to start? Are you able to build a pop-up structure from a template, but then find yourself at a loss with regards to how to alter it? This condensed class will cover the foundational logic of how pop-up structures work, empowering students with the knowledge (and control) necessary to freely develop their own new pop-up structures… and move beyond the basics.

Interactive physical structures offer infinitely vast possibilities for sensory drama, narrative, and explanation. We will take inspiration from contemporary artists, book arts, pop-ups, industrial design, Victorian papercraft, and conceptual art —exploring the wide variety of ways that a humble piece of paper can produce function.

Students will produce a set of their own reference books of the basics: how do v-folds work? What about layers? What about risers? These explanations, written in their own words and built with their own hands, will help ensure a deep understanding of the content necessary to build new structures.

The basics of pop-ups:

  • How to control and design pop-up structures
  • How to find an use templates to create new structures
  • How to deconstruct pop-up structures
  • A ton of inspiration for narrative and non-narrative pop-up books
  • An introduction to prototyping methods, and production techniques
  • How to work with a printer

This class is right for students with experience with craft and great manual skills. Students will walk away with strengthened conceptual skills and a different approach to pop-ups. The knowledge of this class might be applied to artmaking, artist bookmaking, packaging design, pop-up book design, or architectural design.

Required Materials

  • Classic crest 80lb cover stock paper
  • Xacto knife and lots of blades
  • A steel ruler
  • Scotch quick dry glue
  • Artists Tape

If joining remotely: A computer or device with stable internet connection

Recommended Suppliers

Neenah Paper

Talas Library Supplies (bookmaking supplies, paper, etc)

French paper (family-owned and hydroelectric!)

Registration is now closed

Sat, May 4 – Sun, May 5, 2024

Number of sessions: 2

On campus at Cooper Union
New York, NY

About Kelli Anderson

Kelli anderson
Kelli Anderson is an artist, designer, animator, and tinkerer who pushes the limits of ordinary materials by seeking out possibilities hidden in plain view. Her books and projects have included a pop-up paper planetarium, a book that transforms into a pinhole camera, and a working paper record. Intentionally lo-fi, she believes that humble materials can make the complexity and magic of our world accessible. She is currently finishing Alphabet in Motion, a book on the relationship between typography and technology with Letterform Archive. She is also known for her design, animation, and illustration work for NPR, The New Yorker, Wired, MoMA, Pentagram, Tinybop’s award-winning Human Body app, the Exploratorium, and the real New York Times, as well as her redesign of NYC brands such as Russ & Daughters and Momofuku.