Monday, 23 May 2011

Tilley Printing

We have a lovely new range of stationery at Cottontails, something that has evolved almost by accident following a chance discovery of an amazing letterpress printers in Ledbury.

Here are our beautiful new tags:

And here is how they came about...

I'm embarrassed to admit that for some time I had been printing my own stationery (and believe me, the products of a pretty basic £50 desktop printer are hardly what you would call professional).

'Sort new stationery' had been on my to-do list for well over 12 months when I spotted this lovely looking sign at the entrance to an alleyway in Ledbury.

At first I thought what a gorgeous vintage design. It wasn't until I'd had my first visit to Tilley Printing that I realised it wasn't just vintage by design - this was the real thing. Note the old fashioned phone number on the sign. I honestly don't think much has changed at Tilley's for, oh, 50 years?

It is a truly authentic letterpress printers, and stepping through the doors (at the bottom of an alley, through a yard, up some steps) is like traveling back in time. I was perplexed when I first arrived - I guess I was expecting something digital and 'ordinary' but believe me there is nothing digital about life at Tilley's - it doesn't even have an email address.

I had pitched up with a vague idea of having some sheets of pretty labels printed and rummaged in my bag for some samples. Martin, the owner, frowned and said he didn't really do that kind of colour. Or labels. 'You could use some paste.' he suggested. I peered past him at the dusty space, dominated by the vast black printing machines, and suspected I was in the wrong place.

But Martin is a charming man. He offered me a tour of the premises and a cup of coffee, and in the half an hour which followed I went from mild panic and a silent plan to leg-it to the nearest branch of 'Pronta-Print' to a feeling of genuine excitement about creating a really special range of stationery. Nothing fancy or colourful but something I couldn't even have imagined before my visit to Tilley's - something authentic, hand-pressed, crafted and simple.

Over the next few weeks we looked at beautiful paper stock, from hand torn Italian to chunky cardboard usually used as the backing for notepads, and settled on a range of natural craft 'luggage tags'. I re-drew my bunny logo in pen and ink and Martin arranged for an engraving to be made.

We worked on lettering, fonts, layout and colour. There was much rifling through tray upon tray of letter blocks, and whilst we eventually settled on a plain black colour, there was an interesting diversion while Martin mixed pots of paints to create a sample of a biscuit colour. He even went out and bought digestives to work from! And everything was done in person, over coffee. What a wonderful change of pace and genuine pleasure not to be able to email proofs and amends.

I am thrilled to bits with the results and love filling in the inventory forms (what's in the parcel) when I send out my orders.

So far I have compliment slips, 'to and from' tags, tags to use on a new 'Bunny Box' product (coming soon!) and the beautiful inventory sheets. But I am sure there will be many more beautiful stationery items to come, and we are even looking at creating a range of Cottontails greetings cards.

Below are some more photographs of this truly amazing printers. And for anyone local to Ledbury, I will put the contact details at the end.

Tilley Printing
Tilley's Alley
High Street
Telephone - 01531 632750


Leaff Design said...

Well described Charlotte, and a lovely story to share! I enjoyed reading it, and relating to your trip back in time!

magpie bessie said...

What a fabulous post! I so enjoyed reading this and seeing the photos— it was like I was able to take the tour with you(but alas, no coffee!). Congratulations on your new tags—they are beautiful! There is nothing like letterpress! Thank you for sharing!

d. moll, said...

The tags are GORGEOUS !!! <3 <3 <3
There is nothing like the texture and look of letterpress, it is so attractive.

Annette Tait said...

gosh! that's amazing and what a REAL find! so glad that beautiful work is still going on, today :)
well done - your products look superb!

Bumpkin Hill said...

Oh Charlotte, I have been longing to see these ever since you talked about them and my goodness I LOVEEEEEE them! Wish I lived near that place! Catherine x

TheCreativeShed said...

What a wonderful printers shop. I wish it was my shop! It looks like a piece of heaven...long may it continue.