Iranian School Stationery Brands: Between Nostalgia and Innovation

Madi Jahangir *- “Teaching and learning is a form of worship.” For Irainans born in the 80’s and raised in the 90’s, this sentence makes so much sense. It is the nostalgic memorial of their school years, but the nostalgia is not only for the importance of seeking or teaching knowledge which in the sentence is emphasized. This sentence was once the only luxurious decoration of the notebooks in the 80’s. The quality of the papers was too low. Only few years past the revolution and during war time, the country was politically and economically under severe domestic and international pressure. So for the poor and the rich Iranians, that was the only available type and the government could not provide any better.

The Iranian school notebooks in the 80's

The Iranian school notebooks in the 80’s

Before revolution, everything was imported from abroad. But after revolution things were different. Due to war, increasing sanctions against Iranian civilians and tightened diplomatic relations, self sufficiency was forced as the only way out the trouble in the post revolutionary Iran. War ended in the late 80’s and it was only after war  that the stationary companies started to be more creative and work on the quality of the materials.

Nowadays Iranian brands  have made popular names in the national stationary market. On the way to self sufficiency, they have to compete in a market that is filled with foreign products, often like the rest of the world, imports from China. However, the business battle is not only commercial but cultural too. The images published on the covers of imported products are not very much compatible with the Iranian culture. In this country with such cultural diversity and deep historical background, there are generous amount of great personalities and figures to be published on the booklets and school supplies. Using domestic figures helps school children to be more familiar with their national identity and boosts their self esteem and confidence as an Iranian against all the anti Iranian propaganda in the mainstream media . The quality, variety and price also matters, to be able to produce supplies which are cheap in price but also high in quality.

national stationary logo

Papco: The quality and innovation

Parsa Plastic Co. (PAPCO) was established in 1984, and became a very successful and leading manufacturer of quality stationery for office and schools in domestic and international markets. They say in their website that they have been strictly committed to the philosophy of serving society as a provider of excellent products and services.

Notebooks for children PAPCO

Their logo PAPCO built up an excellent domestic & world wide reputation by developing and providing quality products which are fair in price and  good in variety. The general principles of the company are said to be best quality, innovation, promotion & best service with honesty and satisfaction of the costumers.

Papco website:

Roshana: Promoting Iranian Islamic Lifestyle

Roshana is the first Iranian brand which was founded to promote Iranian Islamic cultural heritage. As they say in their website, the founders started production of toys and school stationery as a short term goal, but they are also hoping to enter the education and tourism markets in the future.


Products on Iran Nevesht

Butterflies Roshana Roshana Iranian children

Kanoon: A guarantee of quality of the product

Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, is an Iranian institution with a wide range of cultural and artistic activities in the field of mental and cultural development of children and young adults among its tasks. In consequence of about four decades of active presence in the field of production of cultural commodities such as books, audio tapes, films and toys, IIDCYA is regarded by Iranian schoolchildren, teachers and parents as a trustworthy name.


Iranian carpet on notebook

Iranian carpet on notebook

Ayyam: Iranian Islamic Role Models

Founders of Ayyam company say that they have been involved in cultural projects since years. They believe foreign companies are trying to inject violence, immorality and materialism in the mind of children through the school stationery and supplies. Ayyam products aims to oppose such cultural influence by creating domestic role models.  The designs are selected from the movies or the public figures. Some of them also celebrate Iran’s progress in science and technology.


Ayyam Nuclear scientist martyr

The son of assassinated Nuclear scientist holds Ayyam notebook featuring his father photo

Qasedak: The new guest in the Iranian household

Based in Karaj, Ghasedak was founded by a group of cultural researchers. In an interview with Mehr News they stated that the products are result of team work and in-depth research. Their motivation was the foriegn cartoon figures and images on the notebooks which promote a type of culture against the Iranian norms. Qasedak products are like series of cartoons which features Iranian couple and their 3 children, Sana, Samin and Sina. Each of them has a personality of his/her own. For example Sana loves reading, art and sports. Samin is the youngest among them and loves to play around. Sina is curious, loves astronomy and is involved in scientific activities.


Ghasedak backpack

Ghasedak backpack

Shekarestan: The Sugar Land

Colors, colors and Iranian stories. Shekarestan aka Sugar land is cute cartoon series on the Iran’s national TV and the stories are based on Iranian proverbs. The show was successful enough to convince the producers to go for the school stationery production, featuring the cartoon’s personalities. The plan is quite domestic and rooted in the Iranian culture and literature. The graphic work is very lovely with the extensive use of colors and humor. Shekarestan producers say they were inspired by Iranian ethnic groups and landscape and the name Sugar land refers to Persian/Farsi language, known to be very sweet and soft tongue.


Shekarestan notebooks

* Madi Jahangir is editor at Dream of Iran. Follow us on Twitter @DreamOfIran and Facebook page

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