Print-maker and illustrator Andrew Berwick offers homeware and stationery products, created using lino-cutting, through the hand-printed and handmade business he set up after graduating from university in 2012. "Lino-cutting is a process I use a lot in creating my designs as I enjoy the mark making, techniques and often unpredictable nature of the medium," he says. "Its bold, graphic style and simple use of a limited colour pallet lends itself well to screen-printing, which I use to print and make my fabric and paper products.
"Screen-printing is a way for me to produce my designs on a larger and more productive scale, and was the natural progression for me in developing my range of products."
An obvious advantage to printing his designs in this way is that Berwick's work is immediately distinguishable amongst other similar products in a mass-produced market. People are purchasing a unique cushion with each sale, for example, as well as buying into the personality and originality behind the creation process, from design to finished print. Aside the novelty of articles created in this manner, the craft presents many with an entrepreneurial path into a competitive market.
At the other end of the spectrum, large companies are employing the same mechanisms to complement their industrial operations. With a portfolio of around 1,300 different products, and producing approximately two billion envelopes yearly, manufacturer Blake employs various mechanisms to complete its diverse portfolio, from a reel-fed press for large-scale jobs to individually handcrafted envelopes, where the company benefits from the experience of generations of hand-folding skills to create bespoke products.
"Everyone wants that little bit of uniqueness that is tailored by hand and shouts quality," believes managing director Michael Barter. "We are in a world where people want to differentiate themselves. This can be shown in something as simple as party invitations, wedding stationery or upmarket mailings."
By combining modern and traditional production techniques, Blake recorded a 40 percent increase in turnover for its bespoke division in 2014 and is aiming for an equally positive result in 2015. Meanwhile, Keep Calm and Carry On, seven to eight years on from its inception, has maintained its solid position and demand for its products remains unmoved.
One thing about trends is that they run their cycle and develop into fresh new ideas. This cyclical process allows for innovation in design, ensures that every dog has its day and that digital process does not monopolise the market. Print in 2015 is largely geared towards scale and customisation, with manufacturers contending in the marketplace over the finer points of picolitres, feeds and speeds. Yet, under the radar, old-style outlets continue to expand and sustain an upward trajectory.