Fenella Smith

Author: Andy Hartwell

We were approached by tableware designer Fenella Smith last month to work on her new brand book and print material. Fenella designs her collections and the ceramics are produced in Stoke-on-Trent with Cornish Clay. She wanted her Summer 2012 book to reflect the hand-made attributes and to reinforce the products’ Made in England qualities.

When launching the first collection Fenella focused on the stories behind each range and the inspirations for the designs. As the brand has established, we felt the books needed another angle to evolve and new stories to tell. During our chats with Fenella we soon realised process was a key element in her work, something we were keen to focus on. We wanted to imitate the handcrafted individualities of the products so began researching traditional typographic processes, looking at letterpress and delicate hand drawn fonts.

I found the whole stages of production really intriguing; from the hand thrown shapes, to the slip cast and firing – so we began exploring directions in which we could share this process and use as a narrative throughout the book, encouraging the reader to follow. We asked Fenella to break it down into 7 simple steps which would run through the spreads after a small introduction from herself on the first piece of transparency.

Using illustration to create shelves for the cut-out products to sit upon, we married the lifestyle photography together with hand drawn text and the informal narrative to give the book an intimate feel. The result was a 20x20cm saddle stitched brochure, that made its debut with the new collection at the Pulse London design show early June.