Helen Friel, Ross Symons and other paper artists’ incredible designs for Google

Six paper artists have created stop motion animations entirely from folded paper, as video wallpaper designs for Android tablets or smartphones.


Google abides by a visual language that provides a unified experience across all platforms and device sizes. It’s called Google’s Material design.

The idea is for Google’s digital interface to resemble real-life objects, and Google Material is the design philosophy, guidelines if you will, behind this. It’s a way for designers to collaborate with users and create a cohesive design (if that still doesn’t make sense, here’s a video from Google Design that tries to explain it). 

To mark the third year since its existence, in a strange twist, well-known paper artists have created stop motion animations made entirely from folded paper, which have been digitalised into video wallpapers for consumers to download onto Android tablets or smartphones.

Image: Helen Friel

Helen Friel, Ross Symons, Sena Runa, Clare Pentlow, Anastassia Elias and Ayumi Shibata have all created stunning paper designs – to be played on loop – available for anyone to download through the Alive Video Wallpaper app.

Google announced Material Design at its I/O conference in California in 2014 (see Nexus Studios' beautiful animation from this year’s conference). The visual design language tries to embody paper-like surfaces and light and shadow effects – which can be seen in most Android apps today.

The paper artists 'live wallpaper' designs are part of over 200 other designs, designed to be "perfect looping scenes", such as waterfalls, forests, nature and city scapes.

See the paper fold designs in this feature. 

Image: Helen Friel


Helen Friel

Helen is a freelance paper engineer and illustrator based in London. Her Mindful Geometrics video wallpaper collection has been created in collaboration with photographer Mitch Payne.

The endless loops, minimal design and gentle motions are designed to act as a focus for calm breathing.

A portion of every sale from this collection will go to Young Minds, a UK charity that supports the wellbeing and mental health of young people.

Find out how Helen created her book, Midnight Creatures, in this feature

Alive Video Wallpaper is available to download free from Google Play.

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Ross Symons

Ross Symons is part of White on Rice, a brand based on the ancient Japanese art of origami that works with clients to create social media content and origami installations. White on Rice specialises in origami stop frame animations.


Clare Pentlow

Clare makes intricate pieces from paper by cutting, folding and layering each sheet. Her geometric patters usually take on bold colours, and have a hypnotic sense of depth and movement.

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Anastassia Elias

Anastassia paints, collages and illustrates. Her designs are a series of sculptures inside cardboard cups.


Ayumi Shibata

Ayumi was born in Japan and now lives and works in New York. She uses the traditional method of Japanese paper cutting to bring attention to our human relationship with the environment.


Sena Runa

Turkey-born Sena specialises in the paper quilling technique combined with sketching.

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