Crazy about Colorplan!

Who better to conduct our first Fifteen Studio interview with than our favourite paper smiths, G.F Smith? Like us, they’re passionate about paper, so we picked Olivia’s brains to see what she had to say about design, materials and their influences.

An obvious one, and we’ve just got to ask, if you had to pick your favourite paper which one would it be?

This is so difficult! It really depends on what mood I’m in that day. I adore Colorplan Claret for its colour depth and versatility, but the Plike Dark Blue always pleases me – especially with foil! But then how could you not love something called Gmund Electric Blood or Vibrant Arsenic?! Takeo Yomoushi for its incredible texture… Seriously, I could go on for hours!

Does your favourite paper reflect your own personal style? If so, how?

Probably! My style very much reflects my mood and how I’m feeling – it’s very personal, which I think is a factor that is key with paper. When you choose a paper stock for whatever reason, is it saying what you want it to say? Through the texture, colour and weight? Does it speak your brand and your story?

We get super-excited about paper stocks, as do you, can you tell us why you think it’s so important to find the perfect paper for each physical element of a brand?

Pretty much the above! We react and identify so quickly with touch and vision… so these elements need to be key.

What’s day to day life like in the office? (Or maybe, out of the office?)

Different every day! Which I love, we have a pretty small team for the scale of what we do in the inner sales office and we also have our super talented paper consultants who are based on the road visiting creatives and printers. Day to day it can be anything from talking to students about the best samples for their projects, quoting a job for the leading fashion houses, talking someone through their options and our capabilities for their new greeting card business. As for out of the office, I have just been given the role of Paper Consultant for Hull & East Yorkshire. I am from Hull and with the new title of City of Culture 2017 it is a really exciting time to be part of everything that is happening in the city. There are some great opportunities for G.F Smith to be part of and for the rest of the UK (and the world) to take notice of the happenings in Hull!

Which are your favourite publications for industry news?

I really love It’s Nice That and Creative Review. They’re constantly inspiring me and as I studied textile design I always like to get a taste of what’s happening in all disciplines! Not just graphic design/marketing, etc.

We know you guys hate to see paper wasted, can you expand on this in any way?

I think we work so hard to create a beautiful material of the highest quality, in which we have so much pride, so obviously we want to waste as little as possible! However, we work on recycling products and taking environmentally friendly measures very seriously, which includes working very closely with our mill in the Lake District – James Cropper. Many of our papers are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and several are wholly or partly manufactured from post-consumer waste (PCW).

What’s the most inspiring project that you’ve worked on during your time at G.F Smith?

This is also another really difficult one, I think the great thing about my role is that I can follow the journey from first enquiry to completion and then oversee repeat orders. I can liaise with someone regarding the samples they require, which can go in all kinds of directions, to their final piece or collection which I may see on the shelves of luxury retail spaces or on television, advertising or Instagram! I love it – I spend so many hours going through #gfsmithpapers on Instagram!

The right paper choice can really bring a brand to life in a physical sense, so it’s important that we understand the hard work that goes into delivering the amazing materials that we work with on a day to day basis. It’s the difference between something good and something remarkable… Make your mark.

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