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The new “Creative Block” range and how it happened

creative block tea towels by port and lemon

Both Tracy and Kate trained (many moons ago) as textile designers, Kate studying print and Tracy weave.
They decided to go back to their roots and create a range based around a print technique that every textile student uses at some stage- block printing.
Ideas started to develop during their Friday “studio play” sessions where, along with a few fellow designers, they explore new ideas and use lots of different technique in the hope that inspiration flows and new and brilliant designs evolve!
Still using the Port and lemon blue they decided to (shock horror) add to their palette and include other colours. So a turquoise, orange, yellow and grey were deemed worthy partners.

creative block coaster set by port and lemon
creative block coaster set by port and lemon

Blocks were cut from foam into simple geometric shapes, this type of printing works best when you don’t try and get too intricate. inspiration was taken from the popular Scandi style, used in conjunction with their original flat graphic look and interpreted into bright repeat pattern.

creative block kitchen capers tea towel by port and lemon
Tea towels

Whilst the quirky strap lines are no longer a must, they have been used in some products such as the tea towels. Other items, like the new cheese boards and mugs, rely on a brash mix of pattern to make them stand out.
The finished range makes a bold and bright statement “no pretty twee pastels here” may have been said once or twice, but then restraint has never been part of the Port and Lemon style…. that would just be dull and they don’t do dull!

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From Sketchbook to Product – The Creation of a Port and Lemon Design

We are always being asked who designs our products, well WE do!  Everything you see in our range is the result hours spent chatting, drinking coffee, writing words, giggling over cheesy phrases, sketching, painting and finally editing on Photoshop.  And occasionally we feed our creativity with a bit of cake too!

As designers we do spend a lot of time researching, our first port of call (just can’t resist a nautical saying……sorry) is always Pinterest.  WE LOVE PINTEREST!  It’s a great source of inspiration, so much so that we often get design overload and end up with a head full of possibilities and no place to start!  It’s easy to spend hours trawling through fabulous images and such a simple way to create story boards although I do sometimes miss the old days of pinning tear sheets and colour charts on to an actual pinboard but there’s progress for you!

Sometimes we are given a brief from a customer which is, as we like to call it, ‘wide’ to interpretation so we often spend a lot of time googling words or searching Instagram for inspiration .

When we’ve had a chance to gather some imagery we come together for a chat and bounce ideas of each other.   Kate usually gets into her creative headspace a lot quicker than me, she’s used to designing several pieces at a time with 20 years experience in the fashion industry.  I take a little longer to gather momentum, part to do with only ever being used to designing under my own label in the past and also because I do the admin side of the business too.

Then the actual design process begins with sketchbook doodles and finally into a working design.  Kate has always been used to hand painting designs and still does this with most of her designs, mainly in gouache but after a few years battling, she is finally seeing the benefits of computer aided design.  I don’t always have the patience to hand paint so I tend to either hand draw or part paint designs in my sketchbook and then do the rest on my graphics tablet.  Some end up being used in their entirety, some are broken down and some don’t make the cut at all!  Once we’re happy with a design we then put it into production as a card, the cheapest way to gauge the reaction, if people like it then we look at moving it forward into other products.  All very simple in principle but the process can take a very long time from start to finish.

We have lots of hand painted designs from over the last few years and people often ask if the originals are for sale.  Up until now we’ve sold only to those who have asked specifically but there comes a time when you just need to make space for more work and drawers of our plan chest are overflowing so we’ve decided to put a few of the original hand painted designs up for sale on our Etsy shop.  We thought if people like the brand then they might like to own a unique piece of art, you could say a piece of Port and Lemon history.  You never know, one day it might be worth millions…….well there’s nothing wrong with dreaming.

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New designs for Spring

Here at the Port and Lemon HQ we’ve been busy designing lots of new greeting cards ready to launch at the Progressive greetings Live trade show in London.
With only 12 days to go we are in a frenzy of painting, editing and gathering in preparation for our trip to the city. We’ve tried to get a little bit more “urban” in our subject matter, including a couple of new designs that are aimed at Londoners. Its a totally new avenue for us seaside dwelling creatives but one we are keen to show, proving we are not just water enthusiasts but we can do “land” too!
Inspiration comes from all over the place with new “art” themes as well as the usual wild life with a twist.
This year we have welcomed into the fold a new designer, Christian Dakin Brown. We will be exhibiting her range of Christmas cards as well as various other beautiful designs inspired by nature and produced in her stunning individual style.
So hopefully the sun will keep shinning on us and the buyers will place HUGE orders and we can retire to our luxury yacht to sip G&T’s on the sun deck…

Progressive greetings Live is on from the 6-7 June 2017 at The Business Design Centre, London N1 0QH

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Ten Secret Santa Gifts under £10

Struggling to find gives for your Secret Santa present?  Here at Port and Lemon we love a bit of shopping and we’ve founds some fabulous little gift ideas you could give to your friends, loved ones, work colleagues and teachers.  Here is our list of Ten Christmas Gifts under £10.

  1. 1.  Hole in my Pocket ‘No Work Today’ mug £9.75

High quality bone china mug featuring a humorous black and white illustration of Bean Man. Wouldn’t you love to say ‘No work Today. As it’s such a nice day, I’ve decided to go out and play’ The mug is printed and hand finished in the UK and has a Hole in My Pocket Stamp on the bottom.

2.  Port and Lemon Any Port in a Storm tea towel £9.00

Hand printed in Cornwall, this 100% cotton tea towel features Port and Lemon’s Any Port in a Storm design.  Bold graphic style in blue and white and perfect for any old sailors or someone who likes a tipple!

3.  Frank’s Mint and Parsley Dog Treats £3.00

By Fetch and Follow, these Minty Fresh Kisses dog treats are hand made in small batches using only the best human grade ingredients.  Great gift idea for dog owners.

4.  Montezuma’s Ginger and Orange Drinking Chocolate Tub £6.99

Single Portion solid chocolate discs with wonderfully warming Orange and Ginger, great for those cosy winter nights.  What a great idea, just the right amount of chocolate to make a delicious drink to warm your cockles!

5.  Port and Lemon ‘Boat Scrubber’ hand crafted soap £4.50

This fun soap contains the freshness of the sea with a fabulous blue wave trapped inside, perfect for the removal of tide marks.  Great for sailors, scrubbers of boats, or anyone needing a bit of a freshen up!  All wrapped up in our quirky designed packaging.

6.  RNLI Address and Birthdays Book £6.00

From our specially commissioned range of Port and Lemon products, the Address and Birthdays book has a wire binding which folds flat for writing, features A-Z address pages, indexed stepped dividers, Jan- Dec birthday/anniversary pages and has a hard wearing printed cover with elastic closure.  Great value product with proceeds going to a great cause.

7.  Ohh Deer ‘Colour Me Ginger’ colouring book £7.50

Have you ever dreamed of colouring a book full of magical red heads?!  Look no further, colour in these celebrities in whichever way you desire.  Featuring Rupert Grint, Ed Sheeran, Prince Harry and many more.

8.  Port and Lemon Salty Old Sea Dog Lens Cloth £6.00

This microfibre cleaning cloth removes dust, finger print and grease particles without chemicals for a smear free shine. Perfect for glasses, screens, phones, cameras, cds and other delicate surfaces.  It features our Salty Sea Dog and makes a great gift idea.  A practical gift for posting to loved ones anywhere.

9.  Alison Gardiner ‘Great British Tea’ £5.95

Great British Tea is a classic English blend with excellent strength and a full rich flavour. It has been blended from teas which are from the best estates in Assam, Sri Lanka and Africa. You can enjoy it with milk or sugar (or without!) at any time of day, making it refreshing and delicious to drink.

10.  Jin Designs Set of 2 Penguin Coasters £10

An adorable coaster set featuring Penguin from the Winter Collection by Jin Designs.  This endearing illustration is the perfect companion for your drinks through the festive season.  Made in Britain.

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New 2016 Port and Lemon Range for the RNLI

magnetic list pad

Fish and ships apron

All hands on deck tea towelCrew provisions Juco shopperSplice of life address bookNapkins

The new Port and Lemon range for the RNLI has now been launched on their web site

There are 7 new products in the range which include a new galley apron with an update of our famous Fish and Ships image, a hand magnetic Crew Provisions list pad, perfect for sticking to your fridge so you never loose track of your shopping list, a great heavy duty jute shopping bag which also features our Crew Provisions design (complete with cheeky ships cat), a new tea towel featuring a crew of quirky seagulls in our All Hands on Deck design.  Get organised with this  Address and Birthdays Book with our Splice of Life design and a fab new bone china mug with a Down the Hatch image. The range has a strong Port and Lemon look with bold graphic images and our trade mark blue, but we’ve added a few more colours so it’s unmistakably RNLI!

We are also still supplying them with our very popular “Choppy Today” kitchen board.

The products should also soon be available through many of the RNLI shops which are dotted all around our shores so keep your eyes peeled when you are next passing one and have a look at our designs, all the proceeds going to a brilliant cause.