Thursday, February 24, 2011

Behind the Design: Ink + Wit

Excitement is building for this year's National Stationery Show, and we're checking in with a few of the leaders in the paper industry. Giftware News goes behind the scenes with Chicago-based letterpress stationery company, INK + WIT.

Tara Hogan, founder of whimsical design company INK + WIT, harbors a not-so-secret adoration of letterpress printing, despite today’s digital age of e-cards and text messages. “I love the history of letterpress, the texture and the way it makes everything feel like a keepsake,” says Hogan. “In that way, it feels more sustainable as well. People save letterpress cards, frame them or find resourceful ways to reuse and repurpose them.”

Hogan, a graduate from Syracuse University’s School of the Visual and Performing Arts, has always had a secret love for design and paper products. Hogan’s at-home Web and print designing work eventually led to running her own paper studio out of her home, and she’s since added on an impressive client list, creating works for the likes of babysoy,, Great Arrow Graphics, Graphique de France, Bella Figura and Pinball Publishing. With a firm goal in mind to create elegant, simple designs, Hogan has focused on the creative dialogue in her pieces. INK + WIT has evolved to include not only greeting cards, but to letterpress prints, apparel, customizable and ready-made wedding stationery and more.

Hogan finds her inspiration everywhere: yoga, animals, nature, Scandinavian folk art, Dutch design, abstract expressionism — and the list goes on. But being constantly inspired means a consistent slew of new projects. This year, she has added letterpress calendars, linen tea towels, felt bunting, stamp sets and bamboo mobiles to her line. And there’s more coming for 2011, including illustrated books, sculptures made from reclaimed wood, ceramics and more. Despite INK + WIT's foray into several different mediums, letterpress will always remain close to Hogan’s heart. “Letterpress has a tactile feeling and a long history,” says Hogan. “Although most printing is done with photopolymer plates these days, originally all the type was hand-set, and the perfectionism in this craft is extraordinary.”

Photo courtesy Ink + Wit.

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