Book review: I Love Stationery by Charlotte Rivers

‘Take a letter Miss Jones’ ... once upon time, these words would have been a familiar cue to secretaries to pick up their notebook and pen.

Now, of course, we have many different ways to communicate with each other – email, mobile phones, dictation machines, blogs, Twitter, Facebook. In fact, writing down our messages and thoughts on paper is in danger of becoming a lost art.

But there is one corner of the ‘written word’ industry that is not just thriving but actually home to some of the most interesting examples of illustration and design.

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It seems that despite the onslaught of digital media, there are still those who like to indulge in the slower, more tactile medium of a handwritten letter or card so it’s just as well that there is an abundance of designers and printers just waiting to supply them with gorgeous stationery.

Charlotte Rivers, a freelance writer and contributor to a number of international design magazines, has decided that the time is ripe to celebrate a positive wealth of contemporary stationery in a book that will have creative souls rushing out to their nearest art shop.

I Love Stationery reveals the creative processes that go into making cards, gift wrap, notebooks, letter sets, invitations and journals and opens a window onto some of the world’s most luscious collections.

From the work of Gemma Correll in Berlin and Sakura Snow in Amsterdam to the Joie Studio in California and Winged Wheel in Tokyo, there are designs here to whet any artistic appetite.

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Organised by technique, the book covers hand-drawn illustrations, screen prints, letterpress, woodblock, digital illustration, calligraphy, spray paint, papercut, relief print and etchings.

Each chapter begins with an explanation and tutorial on the specific technique featured, and includes an arresting array of clever and colourful examples.

Insights from top designers and stunning examples of their work provide inspiration and insider know-how in equal measure while top tips and bite-sized interviews with stationery designers offer useful, practical advice on everything from paper choices to sustainability and how to approach manufacturers.

Produced in a handy, take-anywhere small format, I Love Stationery is jam-packed with stunning notepaper, bags, wrapping paper and letter sets and is a testament to the many talented designers.

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So if you would rather send a letter than text or email, and would prefer to put your thoughts in a journal rather than post a blog, this could be a golden opportunity to create your very own playful, witty, whimsical and experimental design.

(Jacqui Small, hardback, £16.99)