Since opening our studio in April, our working process has been a regular talking point with our customers. Often they are surprised – firstly that we design everything ourselves, and secondly that we actually draw things with real pencils and paint and paper! Recently, we've finally had time to spend designing a few new additions to our range, so we decided to put together a behind the scenes insight into our work, from start to finish.
Running a small business isn't all fun and games but this part really is. Designing new cards is the most enjoyable and exciting part of our job, and one of the main reasons we started Paper Parade in the first place. It gives us so much freedom; the brief is pretty much just to draw something that makes people smile (now you see why so many of our cards feature illustrations of food).
Inspiration can come from anywhere - a happy memory, an interesting plant we see, someone's outfit as they pass us in the street, or sometimes we just feel like drawing a unicorn. It strikes at often inconvenient times; we have been known to scribble thumbnails, unintelligible to anyone but ourselves, on the back of a bus ticket or bank statement before the idea is lost.
A good set of watercolour paints and a sharp pencil are our essential implements, and with these we sit down to create the artwork that will go on the cards. The first step is to decide on a colour palette and then we pencil out the design at full size, working from our tiny, wonky sketches. The finished paintings are scanned in and edited, and this is the stage where it does get digital. This is often what surprises people the most. I think if you're not an insider in the world of design, you might presume that like most things, it's all done with computers. Don't get us wrong, Photoshop and his friends are essential to our work, but only as editors; all our designs begin life on paper.
I'm sure it won't surprise you to learn that we are pretty particular about paper, so chose a textured, heavyweight, off-white stock for our cards to be printed on. And with that, they are off to the printers! All our stock is produced in the UK, and the cards come back to us to package up with our branded envelopes. It's always fun to see which of our designs are the most popular, we try to order new cards around 6 times a year and are always open to suggestions about what you'd like to see next!