THE MANY WAYS OF HANDMADE PAPER - A DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: Malina Letterpress, Germany
Hello all, my name is Caroline and I am based in Saarland, Germany.
My career as a designer began at a young age, since I am able to hold a pencil 😊 My godfather is a passionate letter writer and designs them in his own style. I think his work and love for art was the reason for making my own first steps immersing in the world of art.
When I was 12, I started to attend an art school in the afternoon. This helped me a lot to get a feeling for colours and the importance of dimensions, expression delivery and techniques. Beside the art school and also afterwards, I was always creating and testing different techniques and styles, but never rested at one.
My hardest decision in life was, what I want to study. Because of the big selection of courses related to art, I didn´t want to decide just for one. So, I decided to go a completely different way, ending up as an electrical engineer working for a worldwide company. But my love for art and creating things has never stopped! After I started an office job and no longer worked in the industrial plant anymore, I was eager to keep my hands busy. Around this time, I fell in love with the machine “Original Heidelberger Tiegel”, which brought my creativity back to life!
I have mainly private clients, and I am very happy with that. Doing what I love, making people happy and seeing their reaction is bringing me joy!
Show us one of your favourite designs and tell us about how it came to be.
I have a lot of favourites, but my design using only handmade paper is very special to me. In order to explore my style, I worked on collections without requests from a client. I wanted to show off what is possible and to have full control without restrictions.
My idea was creating an invitation with only handmade products and old printing methods. Also, a touch of vintage design, to accentuate the print technique and handmade paper. It should convey that feeling of holding an invitation from the 1800s in your hands. The colours should be neutral and warm, very unremarkable but noble. At first, I drew a lot of ornaments, which should be clean and not too ornate. When it came to the layout more and more ideas came to mind and the final design was finished very quickly. My two absolute favourites of this suite are the edge of the detail card and the ornament illustration inside the envelope. I think this suite represents my work and style very well. The combination of handmade paper and letterpress hits me every time! When I use cotton cardstock for the main card, I try to add handmade paper by detail- or RSVP-cards.
What are your favourite colours to work with right now? And why?
Now, equal to your paper shades, I like to work with greige and wheat. You can combine other colours perfectly with these two tints, as you can see in many of my collections.
Your all time favorite colour in Hex and how would you describe it?
I would have to say white or black to be on the safe side. But as a creative person, I never had only one all-time favourite colour, but I am deeply in love with #cdc3b9. It is a beautiful bright beige shade which is very changeable by combining with other colours.
Which of all our colours of handmade paper do you like best if you had to chose one?
I vary between wheat and greige.
Colour combination that will never go out of style? Colour combination that will make a comeback?
I am creating primarily wedding stationery, and in this section, white, grey, blush, and nude tones are the all time favourites. But I hope that colour combinations with perfectly matched shades of peach/blue or green/blue will become more popular among clients.
What are design elements that you use consistently in your work?
I like to use my own drawn ornaments/floral illustrations or paintings from well-known artists. My direction is more in romantic and classic as in plain, straight design, but always with the intention of achieving timeless uniqueness. Furthermore, I am a fan of combining two fonts – mainly one vintage for headings or names and Fanwood for the flowing text. Also, I like to combine different types of paper. To loosen up the design, to increase the attention of the recipient, and to enhance the quality of the stationery. I try to include well thought-out details as much as possible.
But my absolute goal for the future is, to have my own recognizable calligraphy font. My intention is, to make an artwork with perfectly matched colours, illustrations and materials to evoke memories or feelings appropriate to my customers.
How do you see handmade paper? Is it a more modern or a more retro design element?
Neither nor! It has its own features that can revive any style you want!
What inspires you?
A lot of different things, like the nature and just my surroundings when I’m paying attention. Sometimes other cities and their buildings, handwritten letters from my godfather, a good friend´s work as a florist, or a series on Netflix 😊
Your dream design project?
I have a lot! But some are:
If you had to use only one font on handmade paper for the rest of your designer's life, which would it be?
Also a hard question, but I like Fanwood very much.
Are you secretly a serif or sans serif person?
Serif, forever and always!
Which three words best describe your style?
Romantic, artful, noble
Did you teach it yourself or did you go to school for design?
I acquired all of that myself, but never say never! Maybe one day I will start studying art.
How did you learn letterpress?
When I knew, that I want to learn letterpress and to buy a Heidelberger Tiegel, I booked a 2-day workshop from an experienced printer 6 hours away from me. The main reason was to figure out, if I can handle this machine and what I should look for when making a purchase.
When I had a machine in my basement, I learned by trial and error. This was the most effective way of learning how the Heidelberger Tiegel works. Meanwhile I found coincidentally an active printer nearby and since then, I visit and help him and his wife, which are working together. But mainly I I teach myself.
Your guilty pleasure in design?
By fashion - Sometimes I would like to dress differently (more feminine and more representative to my work as a stationer) but mostly it ends up buying some comfy skater clothes. It is more “me” and I like having my own style.
Why do you like working with handmade paper?
Who said that? When I set up my letterpress machine, it is pure agony, knowing I have to waste some perfect sheets 😉
-Jokes aside! -
I love the texture, feel and the fluffiness of the paper. I use to say “pressed clouds” for the sheets. Every single sheet is unique due to the deckled edges and brings its own character. It makes me happy to see how changeable the paper is with every idea that I implement.
See more of Caroline's work on her website.
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