Good design. Is it purely personal taste or do some things just universally work for everyone?
The Scandinavian countries are famed for their inherent sense of design. In Denmark for example, children grow up with beautifully functional school furniture. Well proportioned design is ingrained in their culture and expected as a standard. I think part of the reason that the Scandi style has taken off everywhere is that it promotes a sense of space, balance and cosiness. And yes, that actually makes you feel good.
Surrounding yourself with visually pleasing things on a daily basis makes you happy. That’s why we design prints and wall art bursting with colour and wit. We are also huge fans of design focused stationery and paper goods. I love nothing more than finding a new little notebook, beautiful pens and striking wrapping paper. I have a drawer dedicated to my stationery stash. It’s full of cards and washi tape and notebooks and honestly, just opening that drawer to look at it gives me so much joy. Not only do I have an endless supply of useful items I can use in my daily life, I also always have a sweet little gift and beautiful wrapping ready for forgotten birthdays, or those ‘just because’ gifts.
It’s National Stationery Week as I write this and it got me thinking about my favourite stationery brands. As a small creative business I often get to discover other boutique businesses early on, especially at shows we exhibit at such as Top Drawer. So, if you love good design and stationery as much as us, my top 8 stationery designers might hold some new discoveries for you!
Ham made bunny cards
Katie Leamon stationery selection
Jot marble, granite and neon cards
Tom Pigeon Reflex pocketbook set
Velvet Olive foiled gift box
Present and Correct stationery selection
Paul Farrell swallowtail card
Ola studio foiled spine notebooks
Following the adventures of a pig and a rabbit, Ham have a minimal style with a seriously playful edge. The black and white graphics are so striking with humour running throughout. They specialise in cards, mugs and prints.
I’m a long time fan of Katie Leamon’s unique blend of graphics, texture and typography. The range is extensive, from cards to wrapping paper to writing sets. New for this year is POST, a monthly subscription service that includes a seasonal selection of stationery goodies. I’m hooked!
New brand Jot have launched with a really strong range of striking cards. Marble, granite and neon lettering are the focus of their first collections, so they are right on trend at the moment.
Known for their balance of geometry, colour and luxurious foil finishes, there’s something lovely in knowing that they work in a studio by the beautiful Scottish coastline. Their pocket books are a really handy size and I always have one in my bag for notes on the go.
As you might be able to tell, I’m a bit of a sucker for some metallic foiling, and Velvet Olive combine lots of this with rough Kraft finishes. They’ve just introduced a new geometric gift box range, but they’re so attractive I think they’d also make great storage for the office.
Present & Correct
So while technically not a brand, this London shop houses the best in stationery finds. I simply couldn’t leave it from this list! If you’re looking for unusual paper clips, elegant pens, and every other stationery accessory you can think of, this is where you need to look. You’ll often find some really unusual items as they source globally.
With an unmistakable style that combines graphic shapes, bold colours and twists on classic compositions, Paul Farrell’s cards are some of my favourites. There are some great options for kids, and if you’re anything like me you’re always on the lookout for kids cards and prints that are stylish and cool.
We mentioned ola studio in our round-up of Top Drawer finds and I’m including them here because their notebooks are just lovely to use. Handmade in the UK, they have a high quality feel to them in an understated style. I predict big things for this design studio.