Making the everyday special

If you’re forever searching for just the right kind of thumbtacks to pin ideas to a cork board, if you’re charmed by antique postage stamps or old-fashioned air mail stationery, then you’re of a mind with British designers Neal Whittington and Mark Smith. Present & Correct, their London shop (and its online version), offers new and vintage items for desk, office and correspondence.

Whittington and Smith have an eye for design and a reverence for otherwise ordinary objects. As a side creative project, they artfully assemble office supplies and photograph them for a Tumblr blog they call Stationery Compositions. We asked Present & Correct to share some of their favorite images, to demonstrate how we can perceive beauty in the simplest things around us.

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PINS AND ELASTIC BANDS
“This composition is a nod to ’70s-era string drawings. I tried to be as abstract as possible and to work as quickly as possible so that I didn’t over think it. The elastic bands take on a solid, structured quality, and the pop of blue from the sticky dot balances out the monochrome.”

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STICKER SHEET WITH ERASERS AND MASKING TAPE
“My main aim with this was to show the geometry of the empty sticker sheet through the colored masking tape, because I like its translucency. The idea, as always, was to make something attractive that also prompts you to think a little about what the items are.”

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ADHESIVE LABEL STRIPS
“The plain labels are tile-like in their original state, and I wanted to take that one step further by removing some of them to create a new pattern. The black background makes the perforations pop out, creating another layer of pattern.”

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PENCILS AND ERASERS
“It’s the classic pairing of writing tools, made into a super geometric pattern. The colors work very well together, and the erasers are so chunky and pleasing when they’re sandwiched around the pencils. The arrangement feels quite architectural.”

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STICKY DOTS
“A vintage scarf—with big polka dots on one half and tiny little ones on the other— inspired this arrangement of four sheets of adhesive white spots. The perfect slice through them makes the sheets really graphic, quite severe.”

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