A true lazy cat lady02-Jan-2018
Three years ago graphic designer Lizzy Parker decided to set up her own design and printing business Penguin Ink. Lizzy wanted to do things her own way and it looks like her customers appreciate it. We caught up with her to find out more about her work and inspiration.
Tell us a bit about Penguin Ink
This is our third year of trading and our third Top Drawer show. I am the designer and owner. I decided to self-publish after I started out because I wanted to keep creative control of the print and paper quality. I wanted a luxury distinctive brand which added to my style rather than letting it down. I started with just 16 designs and now have close to 80 different designs and 9 box sets. My work is striking, bright and simple using just a one or two colours to depict the shadows, highlights and character of animals in several mini collections, paying particular attention to their eyes.
I have been a Graphic Designer for over ten years and am based in the wonderfully creative city of Bristol where I did my degree, although I'm originally from Suffolk. The Logan Press in Finedon, UK do all my printing and are true artisans. I work very closely with them choosing colours and making decisions. GF Smith make my boxes for my note cards and Fedrigoni provide my beautifully thick 360gsm card stock. I have two small children. The youngest came with us to do our first show last spring when he was about 11 weeks old. My husband is also an important member of the team building the stand and helping choose designs to go to print. Rachel is my sales guru but only works with us at shows at the moment, but we've been friends since university days.
What's your typical customer?
I have a wonderful collection of independents and small multiples, mainly in the UK but since doing Top Drawer we now have stockists in Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Canada. After Top Drawer Spring I was approached by Manchester Museum and commissioned to do Stan, their Dinosaur, which includes a gold foil sticker on the front of each card mentioning the collaboration but are now stocked all over, and there will be more dinosaurs coming this year. I have some wonderful stockists including card shops, farm shops, gift shops, deli's, museums, florists and interior design firms to name a few plus we are talking to several Zoos.
What are your plans for this year?
This Spring we will be launching a new collection of luxury letterpress monochrome 'Little Notes' to add to our growing range. They are all illustrated with an adorable kitten that cat lovers are going to go crazy for. The collection shows off some familiar and well-loved cat behaviours with more designs to be added later in the year. I will also be rounding off my farm collection of large cards with a bright and adorable piglet and a Suffolk Sheep which my stockist have been calling out for this year. I'm currently designing a new collection of Christmas cards which I'll be launching towards the end of Spring. I like designing for Christmas at Christmas! I'm also working on designs for more kittens, more puppies and more little penguins.
I'm a true crazy cat lady and have been wanting to design a kitten collection for years but sometimes the more you love something the harder it is to do. One of my best sellers is my black and white cat Casey who was my first cat rescued as a kitten when she was only twelve weeks old. I currently have a silver tabby, Frank, who I've started a design of that I'll get finished at some point. With the piglet I've been designing pigs all year and am finally happy with this one and excited to see how popular he will be. When it came to the sheep I felt it had to be a Suffolk sheep due to me being a Suffolk girl but I did actually find the sheep in Bristol at a local National Trust estate.