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Collection: Cambridge Imprint

Cambridge Imprint is a small paper-making business in Cambridge, England, designing and printing patterned paper. They are known for their beautiful colours, joyful illustration and typography, a lively, hand-drawn aesthetic, and meticulous attention to detail.

Cambridge Imprint is a design partnership of painter Claerwen James, textile artist Jane Powell and ceramicist Ali Murphy. They use simple hand-stencilled screen-printing to create their original designs, and spot-colour lithography to replicate that studio process in manufacturing the final paper product. The result is a matte paper of unparalleled intensity and clarity of colour.

Their influences are eclectic, but it has often been noted that their patterns have a particularly English quality, with a palette that is both sober and exuberant. Cambridge Imprint export paper all over the world, even to Kyoto in Japan, probably the world capital of beautiful patterned paper: an indication that they're producing something with a very distinctive flavour. At recent design awards Katie Law of the Evening Standard called them ‘wholly original’ and ‘trend-free’.

THE JOY OF PAPER

Cambridge Imprint are evangelists for paper and the wonderful versatility of this ancient material. There are paper’s tangible virtues: the tactile satisfaction of making a mark with pencil, ink, or paint; the way it absorbs and holds colour; the way it can be folded, sculpted, cut and glued; its surprising tensile strength and durability. This last attribute has a paradoxical element: the permanence of paper over time is balanced by its utter ephemerality, like the leaves of the trees. These qualities of permanence and evanescence remain more relevant than ever now, in a time of anxiety about the impact of humankind on the planet.

Paper is a stable, low-energy medium. A printed book, a written diary, a photograph or drawing, remains legible for decades or longer, where electronic files, with an ongoing energy bill for maintenance, can become unreadable in just a few years. On the other hand, unlike the hardware on which we store digital information, which is full of heavy metals, and will lie in landfill sites for millennia, or the information itself, which proliferates online or hides away in mysterious corners of our computers, to destroy paper is simple and the environmental consequences are less devastating.

Cambridge Imprint seeks to create an authentic product, minimising or eliminating the dead hand of the camera and the computer from the design and manufacturing process.Hand-drawing, hand-making and other pre-industrial, pre-digital design processes create a livelier texture, a more living result. The spot-colour lithographic printing they use to make the paper sets a limit on the complexity of the images and the number of colours that they can use: constraints that they find a spur to their creativity.

In general, their aim is to preserve the crucial quality of improvisation in their work, to maintain an environment where happy accidents can occur and be capitalised upon.

To remain agile and responsive, it helps to be small, and to work locally. Cambridge Imprint make their products in England, and source as many of the raw materials from England as they are able. Only by keeping manufacturing nearby are they able to maintain the necessary attention to colour, texture and other detail. This strategy also minimises the distance travelled by the products and their components during the course of their manufacture, and means that we can be sure about the conditions in which the products are made.

Virtually all Cambridge Imprint products are designed, manufactured, finished and packaged in England. Their patterned paper is printed on a lithographic press by a long-established printers’ cooperative in Bethnal Green in London. It is printed on a matte uncoated stock using vegetable oil-based inks hand-mixed for each job, a process that closely mirrors the way the prototypes are produced in their workshop. From Sheffield and Stoke-on-Trent, through Bedfordshire and Suffolk and down into Devon, their products are manufactured by various small English businesses with high levels of expertise and craftsmanship. They work with a range of box-makers, book-binders, potteries and textile printers to make the patterns and papers into enduring, resilient, beautiful, useful things.

ENVIRONMENTAL AND ETHICAL CREDENTIALS

The paper is uncoated and printed with vegetable oil-based inks. It is therefore both completely recyclable and biodegradable. The stock they print on has Forest Stewardship Council certification, which means that it is produced from sustainable sources. Their wonderful printer, Calverts, is a long-established workers’ cooperative for whom environmental concerns are a key consideration. Calverts adopted low-impact, environmentally-friendly protocols long before such issues became mainstream, and they continue to innovate in this regard. They use the minimum of packaging compatible with preserving their products from damage in transit, and use absolutely no plastic of any kind anywhere in the product packaging. Some of cards, labels and notebooks are protected by a fully biodegradable cellophane sleeve.

Discover our range of ready made gift hampers containing Cambridge Imprint products below or create your own gift hamper HERE!

3 products
  • Send a Hug
    Send a Hug - Custom Bundle
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  • In The Mix
    In The Mix - Custom Bundle
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    Custom Bundle
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    £41.75
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  • Send a Hug EXTRA
    Send a Hug EXTRA - Custom Bundle
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    Custom Bundle
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    £57.04
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