Here at PiP HQ we thought is was about time you got to know a bit more about the company's founder. Ed has been put in the hot seat and has kindly let us dig a little deeper. We begin by talking about his journey to the creation of Place in Print, his favourite London haunts and how the future is shaping up.
How did Place in Print come to be?
Back in 2012, my friend Martin and I started a little business called South London Prints. We produced a range of limited edition South London themed art prints and sold them at local markets and craft fairs. That business eventually evolved into Place in Print in 2013, with a more ambitious goal to produce location-themed artwork for as much of the UK as possible!
You can read a bit more about the history of Place in Print here!An early South London Prints stall at Brixton Market
What new projects are you working on at the moment?
I’m really eager to broaden our geographic coverage, so at the moment I’m working on some designs that celebrate England’s ceremonial counties. I’m hoping to develop some in-house designs as well as some collaborations with illustrators new to Place in Print.
How do you decide which illustrators/artists to work with?
I love discovering new design talent, and there is so much to choose from both within the UK and abroad. We often receive emails from designers interested in potential collaborations, and I’m also always on the lookout for new illustrators to reach out to and work with. Usually I have a particular collection in mind when looking at an illustrator’s portfolio. It’s a case of figuring out whether I can see a designer’s style fitting in with our existing work and with the collections we’re looking to develop.
What are your favourite three pieces on your website?
I have a soft spot for Brockwell Lido. Over the years we’ve designed maybe 5 or 6 different views of the building, but the “Brockwell Lido & Park” design is my favourite (at the moment!).
I love the concept of ‘negative space’ in design, and our original “Catford Cat” illustration is a great example. Although the A3 size sold out a few years ago now, we still have a handful of 40x50cm prints left. I’ll be sad when we sell them all. I might have to find a way to re-invent it!
One of our very first collaborators was Pâté. Over the years he’s produced hundreds of location inspired “neighbourhood puns” for us. My favourite is his illustration for Putney.
What has been your proudest moment to date?
I think it has to be when our first set of lamppost banners were erected in Herne Hill. It was the first time our artwork was ‘on show’ in such a public way. Since then we’ve produced more banners for other areas including London Bridge, Streatham and Caterham. Every time a new set gets installed it’s exciting.
Why should people purchase pieces from PiP?
Well hopefully if someone is considering a purchase, they like the design - that’s the first hurdle! Beyond that, our print quality and customer service are second to none. We check every print for defects, and use super thick paper and archival inks to product vibrant prints that won’t fade over time. As a small business, the happiness of our customers is paramount - we go to great lengths to ensure that everyone has a positive experience when shopping with us.
Tell us about your favourite place in London and which illustration would compliment your description?
Blythe Hill, between Honor Oak and Catford in London is a really special place for me. I spent many a long evening up there walking the very first studio hound (Johnny) there. We lived in the area for quite a few years, and the park has an amazing view over London. In fact, the view is so good that we immortalised it in a print - “Blythe Hill Travel Poster”.Johnny on Blythe Hill.
What would you say is your top tip for anyone starting their own business in illustration?
I guess it depends on the nature of the business. If you’re setting up shop as a freelance illustrator, then it’s a case of building a strong, commercially-appealing portfolio. If the business is a print store like us, then it’s a case of finding a gap in the market and building up a collection of illustrations quickly. When we started the business the ‘location’ market wasn’t particularly well served, but since then the competition has got fierce. There is always room for well-designed, unique pieces though - you just need to find that unique style.
What’s the best customer feedback you have received?
We’re really lucky to have a load of great reviews on Trustpilot. It’s amazing what a difference it makes to a small business to receive a good review, both in terms of helping to encourage others to shop with us, but also psychologically they always help to just lift the mood that little bit! One of my favourites:
“A walk around Tooting print was absolutely brilliant and will be making an excellent gift for our neighbour who is moving. An apt work of art showing the heartbeat of Tooting. Highly recommend this company who offered a first class service, fantastic packaging and a no-nonsense approach to customer service.”
What challenge(s) have you been faced with during the Global Pandemic and what did you do to overcome them?
Packaging shortages have been a nightmare, particularly over the Christmas period. I must have spent most of a week hunting down cardboard to ensure we could still send out orders. We’re pretty good at having backup suppliers when things go wrong with our normal suppliers, but we hadn’t anticipated a country-wide issue which really had us running around. Thankfully we managed to get through it, and have figured out good alternative solutions in case our normal packaging isn’t available.
Do you have any work habits or superstitions?
Ha, not really! I do always find I work better with a tidy desk (although that doesn’t seem to stop me from making a mess!).My desk as it should look (but never does!).
What does the next five years look like for you and PiP?
World domination! Well, maybe we’ll start with the rest of London, then the rest of the country. Lots of new illustrations, introducing other parts of the country to our work and continuing to produce an exceptionally high quality of product and service for our customers.