Wedding Supplier Spotlight: Ink & Paper
We have featured a few stationers over the past few weeks here on the blog and with each supplier they have offered something slightly different - from watercolour art to origami and our feature today is no different.
For our spotlight today our supplier actually focuses on not one but two skills - letterpress printing and calligraphy. London based stationer Grania O'Brien of Ink & Paper brings together these two age old skills whilst adding a contemporary approach to each piece she designs.
Letterpress is a skill that uses old technology called print presses that add embossed textures to the design. Calligraphy on the other hand is the art of fine hand lettering that has been around for centuries and has most certainly soared in popularity over the past couple of wedding seasons.
Let's find out more about Ink & Paper's work from Grania herself...
Hello there, let's start this chat with finding more about you and your work.
Hello everyone! I'm Grania and I'm the owner and founder of Ink & Paper.
I’m inspired by a mixture of the natural, the cool-that-sometimes-teeters-on-the-edge-of-kitsch, and the painstakingly, soulfully designed – so London is the place that makes my heart full and keeps my mind agile. Give me a day out that encompasses the towering palms and lush blooms of Kew’s greenhouses, sunlight on a rooftop bar in Shoreditch, and the history and architectural splendour of Kensington’s museums, and I’m a happy woman. In fact, if ever you need to find me, the members’ room at the V&A is probably a good place to start your search – come join me for a negroni!
While I’m Londoner through and through, I also love recharging among the many shades of green in deepest Somerset, where my family are from. I need my country lung to fuel my city creativity, and will often escape the big smoke to explore new places, gather inspiration and collect memories.
I create beautiful contemporary & classic bespoke letterpress wedding stationery for style-conscious couples. Letterpress is such a wonderful traditional printing technique, where raised text and images are pushed into tactile cotton paper, leaving a satisfying embossed impression. According to the Heritage Crafts Association, there's less than 100 people professional printing using letterpress these days, and a lot of these are now women!
For me, it's an incredibly special way to create memorable stationery. In my eyes, the quality far surpasses modern digital printing and it ensures your invitations have something of an heirloom quality to them.
Couples fall for my mix of contemporary design paired with traditional printing techniques. Many are designers themselves (or appreciate good design) and appreciate the work that goes into creating bespoke letterpress stationery.
One extra special thing that I do is offer couples the chance to come and print their wedding stationery with me in my West London studio. This seems to be quite a rare opportunity for couples to be able to do this, I personally thing it is the perfect hands-on way to bring your wedding invitations to life!
What trends are you seeing in the wedding industry at present?
I'm definitely seeing a swing towards smaller events and elopements - tied into this, an increased focus on eco awareness and a desire to make the entire day a more considerate affair. Traditions are increasingly being viewed as optional rather than to be observed: first look photographs instead of after the ceremony, and full sit-down meals are being ditched in favour of more informal dining styles. Whether the current crisis will see a return to individual portions brought to the table again, who knows...
Stationery-wise, I've loved seeing more personality, colour and texture brought to the table! Cut off corners, mixed printing techniques, and varying textured papers all add a little something new.
Can you talk us through the process couples go through with you to get their invitations.
The bespoke stationery process can be an involved one, though I do all I can to make sure I take the hard work away from my couples.
I always start with a kick off meeting, either face to face in my West London studio, or via Zoom (at the moment, or for non-London couples) and we talk through your wedding plans, what you like, what you don't like, and any inspiration you may have. Some couples come to me with a very specific idea of what they want, others a more abstract idea that we can build on together.
From here I will put together my design brief for you to review and provide feedback on - if you are happy with the direction we are going in, I will then start the design process which includes three rounds of edits to make sure we can get your stationery just right.
Once you approve the final design, I then set to work creating your letterpress plates and ordering in cardstock for you. Then your design quite literally hits the press. I hand-feed and quality check each and every item of your invitation suite.
Finally, your stationery is carefully packaged up and wings its way to you, ready for you to send out to your guests.
For bespoke stationery, the process typically takes 8-12 weeks, though I also have a semi-custom range for couples with a little less time to play with.
Due to the labour-intensive nature of letterpress printing, I cannot send physical proofs of your design, though I do offer sample packs so you can have an idea of the quality and finish that you should expect from your bespoke design.
What is it you love and find rewarding about your job?
Being able create stationery that was previously just an idea in my clients' heads and has been known to make them cry with joy!
I love that I get to spend my days creating and designing beautiful things and making ideas a reality. Sometimes, it is quite literally making dreams come true. I find the whole design process very rewarding, bringing an idea to life, and strengthening my relationship with my couples as we move forward. Some have gone on to become friends too, which is always a lovely feeling.
Top tip when it comes to planning a wedding?
There is a lot of tradition wrapped up in weddings, but don't feel you should or need to do anything you don't want to. Remember, it should be a celebration and not a test! So if the thought of public speaking horrifies you, you don't have to deliver a speech. Maybe get a close member of the wedding party to deliver it for you, or you could write something beautiful to put in your ceremony booklet instead.
So we need to discuss COVID-19 and how it has effected your work, has there been any adaptations you have made during this time?
Obviously wedding bookings have been postponed in their majority, so in the first instance this work has been set aside at current awaiting new dates. If a couple has been able secure a new date then we can still move forward with their design process - the only thing I have had to do is temporarily suspend studio printing with my couples there. But fingers crossed this will open up again very soon.
As well as making stationery I also teach calligraphy, so at the start of lockdown I launched calligraphy kits with a detailed booklet to help budding calligraphers get started in their own time. To complement these, I also launched Zoom one-on-one workshops, which have proved very popular!
I am also doing a limited edition card and print - "Hold that thought; hold my hand" for couples whose weddings have been affected by Coronavirus. They are designed as a little reminder that at the end of the day, it is your love for each other that matters most. 70% of the profits go to support Bankuet, who do amazing work working with food banks to ensure they get the supplies they actually need.
I am about to relaunch a brand spanking new website this week with a refreshed bespoke service and streamlined semi-custom offer. Also, a new shop with increased functionality! (I do realise this is exciting only to me) But, to celebrate this *ahem* momentous event, I'll be offering 10% off all items in the shop + free postage. Yes, including semi-custom designs! So do keep an eye out on my website for this offer :-)
You can follow Grania for updates and to browse the new website at the following links:
- Website: www.inkandpaperdesign.co.uk
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/inkandpaperldn
- Instagram: @inkandpaper_ldn
- Pinterest: www.pinterest.co.uk/inkandpaper_ldn
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