[Alyson Kuhn] This print from Present & Correct was letterpress printed at Rohner Letterpress in Chicago. Here’s the funny thing. When Neal Whittington, proprietor of Present & Correct, recently told us he was in the middle of moving shop, I politely asked “Where?” and he said “North London.” Well, I confused that with New London, which is in Wisconsin, not very far from Chicago. Then I noticed Neal’s spelling (“favourite” and “organise”), and I realized he and his shop are in Olde London.
Letterpress Smile Print is 8.25 x 11.25 in. Shown here in Warm Grey/Apple; shown at top in Stone Grey/Orange.
What was your inspiration for the Smile piece?
I always point out faces that I see in things. I see faces on things and then I cannot see that object in the same way again. It just makes me smile, especially when it’s in something you don’t expect. So I thought I should do something with it. It’s a bit like a song that is in your head that you can’t get rid of. I just make things that I fancy doing in the hope that other people will like them too!
What was your thinking behind having the poster letterpress printed rather than offset?
I felt like these drawings had nice detail that would work well when letterpressed. It wasn’t something I had done a lot of, so I wanted to try something new. Lindy [Sinclair] at Rohner is super-helpful and patient and also knows what I like. She always suggests a stock, and I totally trust her choices because she knows much better than I do what will work well.
You describe your wares as “office sundries for the modern workspace.” How many of them are designed by you, and where do the find the rest?
In addition to vintage correspondence accessories and the occasional one-off item, we have a lot of new stock—from Japan and Spain and France and Korea, etc. Our own range has also grown. Currently, around 45 products are my own work.
Where are your customers located?
Until quite recently, we were only online. We send our orders all over the world: around 60% within the UK, and then the rest goes everywhere!
Training Typewriter: “Surely THE coolest typewriter ever known to man. This model from the ’60s was designed to train secretaries touch typing. The keys are colour blocked for them to learn the areas of the pad. Each coloured unit is removable to show the key beneath. We like it with them on! In perfect condition, with new ribbon.”
When did you start Present & Correct?
I’ve been doing this for four years now. I studied graphic design and worked in a really nice branding company called Winkreative for five years. So, at the beginning, Present & Correct was a “side delight.” It was something I really wanted to do, and to work hard on, in the hope that it would grow. I worked freelance for my former employer—as a graphic designer—and did Present & Correct at the same time. Now I get to spend all of my time working on it. It just happened gradually, over a long time, so I’ve learned a lot on the way. I’m so happy it has gotten to this point.
Leather Homework Pencil Case in Whiskey. Also available in Yellow and Dark Brown.
What are a couple of your current favorite products that you’ve designed?
I’m very proud of the leather pencil case. I cut and emboss these in small numbers in a workshop in North London. It’s really enjoyable! I have tea and biscuits with the sewing machine ladies, and it’s a fun, different process from the other things I do.
And something out of paper?
I did some paper bags this year which I was really excited about. I have a thing for envelope security patterns and wanted to take them outside of the envelope and use them as a graphic decoration on bags.
SPECS & CREDITS
Strathmore Category: Smile Print
Design Firm: Present & Correct
Designer: Neal Whittington
Client: Present & Correct
Printer: Rohner Letterpress
Paper: Strathmore Writing, Wove, 110 cover bristol (300 gsm), Ultimate White
Present & Correct will open in mid-December at 23 Arlington Way, London EC1R 1UY. The neighborhood is called Clerkenwell, which seems perfect.