I’m not sure when I was first introduced to Ink Meets Paper but I do know once I was, I was mesmerized by their modern and clean designs, not to mention the beautiful handlettering and calligraphy used. Ink Meets Paper’s dedication to the details and qualities of each design can be seen with the quality of paper and envelops in which they use. Daniel & Allison Nadeau are the brains behind Ink Meets Paper that was started in 2010 in lovely South Carolina with the premise of creating timeless letterpress papergoods to foster the art of handwritten correspondence in today’s modern world. I had the opportunity to chat with Allison below!
It’s clear that you have a strong passion for all-things-letterpress, what led you both to create Ink Meets Paper?
Our interest in letterpress began in 2008. A lot of our previous work was digital– interaction design and editing. We wanted a way to connect with the physical, hands-on creative and craft process. Letterpress printing provided that connection. We feel that handwritten communication is one of the most authentic interactions you can share with someone. As we considered the different products that can be made on a printing press, so much surrounded inviting and gifting: wedding invitations, cocktail party invitations, personal stationery, greeting cards. Even as technology changes every single industry around us, there’s still something special about receiving something unique in the mail. Each Ink Meets Paper card supports this belief in the handwritten and the handcrafted. The 100% cotton paper is thick, and the ink is mixed by hand. Each piece is printed one color at a time on an antique printing press.
When developing each card, what is your approach to the creative process? Do you begin with the actual art or conceptualization first?
Our card line keeps us pretty well aligned with the retail industry in terms of product releases ( i.e. Christmas cards in May, Valentine’s cards in September, and so forth). Daniel and I usually run through sketches, concepts, and ideas to narrow down a direction and refine from there. Most of our card designs are hand drawn first, and then scanned and vectorized to be made into photopolymer plates.
Where do you get your inspiration from? Is it from people, experiences, or just things you see out in the world?
I’d say all of the above. We try to find beauty and inspiration in unexpected places. A lot of our sentiments are inspired by our relationship as a married couple (“I am so glad I found you, ” “I like you just the way you are,” “It just keeps getting better”).
Can you tell me a little about the printing press you use? Why did you choose this particular press?
We print on an 8×12 Chandler and Price platen press (it’s motorized, but each piece of paper is hand fed into the press). A fourth-generation printer was closing out the letterpress portion of his shop, and we purchased the press (and a bit of type) from him in 2008. We drove from South Carolina to Florida with a friend and a U-Haul trailer. Our friends were kind enough to allow us to keep a 1,000-pound printing press in their garage while we found a place for it (eventually converting a room in our house to a studio). Even though we were very inexperienced when we bought the press, we opted to go with a larger, floor model press, as opposed to a tabletop press. We knew the larger press would mean we could handle a larger volume, and we were willing to take the time to learn the press. Now, even six years later, we’re still able to handle all of our printing on this press.
With the plethora of art mediums out there today, why did you choose paper?
Paper is such a tactile experience, and for our paper goods, we love that it’s an experience that can be shared. When someone takes the time to craft his or her thoughts and ideas and, at the same time, embraces the physical process of actually handwriting and connecting the pen to the paper, it doesn’t matter if his handwriting is terrible because that person is part of the process.
Do you ever feel “artists block?” How do you get over it?
I think it’s important to find time for other projects and hobbies. It’s nice to be able to create just for the sake of creating, and oftentimes, that shift is all I need to get out of creative rut. Being around creative friends and other business owners is also infinitely helpful, as they can bring a fresh perspective to a situation.
What is your favorite card that you have received? Do you keep all the ones you receive?
Both Daniel and I have a huge collection of cards– from notes our grandparents wrote us when we were little to love letters written during the early years of our relationship. Every now and then we’ll read through some of them, and they’re always able to bring back such incredible memories, and in many ways it’s as if the writer is still with us.
I discuss artists’ “creative spaces” a lot on the blog. Can you describe yours and how you like to keep it?
We currently work out of our home, and have three rooms dedicated to Ink Meets Paper: studio (where all of the printing and production happens), office (design work and collaboration), and inventory/shipping room. Neatness and organization are key to keeping everything running smoothly. Everything has a place. We also try to keep our live-work spaces separate (which I think is really important, even though it seems like we work all of the time). We have Homasote panels on the walls of our office, making it easy to pin ideas and projects to the wall to discuss. Lots of natural light is also really important. Not only does it help with color checks, but it helps with our moods. I love that on the first page of your site it says “Text Less. Write More.” Do you use paper more so than online communication?
We definitely send lots of mail– it’s such a wonderful and personal way to connect with someone (and getting an actual letter in the mail is such a day brightener). Yet, there’s obviously great value and ease in online communication, and we’ve particularly loved how easy it is to connect with other likeminded, paper and mail loving people through social media (and we love being able to share glimpses into our day-to-day studio life this way too). I think it’s more about finding balance.
What was the last thing that made you laugh?
Daniel really likes bad puns
This feed always brings lots of laughs: http://twitter.com/BadJokeCat
Favorite colors to use?
Right now, I’m really loving metallic gold ink. Since we print on uncoated, cotton paper, it’s not very shiny, and the subtlety is really nice.
The Ink Meets Paper line is now available nationally and internationally in over 150 stores and includes national retailers (http://inkmeetspaperpress.com/stores). Their products are also available online at Etsy.
You can keep up with them here: