Q&A with Lesley of Swell Made Co.

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Q: What led you to create your own line of stationery and pretty gift items?

A: After years of working as a graphic designer and art director, I finally found my signature design style. 3 years ago, I felt a push to finally pull it all together and jump into creating Swell Made Co. It’s a perfect extension of the creative work I’ve done for over a decade. Everything I love is represented in my paper goods and I am beyond happy to share them with my customers. They’re swell.

SMGRLPWR-CardQ: Please tell us about a memorable piece of snail mail that you’ve sent or received.

A: As a teen I moved far away from my family and friends and snail mail is what kept me connected for years. I would write to my grandmother and best friend most frequently. There was nothing better than opening the mail box to find my grandmother’s delicate handwriting on her adorable choice of stationery, or a post card from my best friend’s travels abroad. This connection to snail mail has definitely inspired my own line of stationery and a continued love of the handwritten message.

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Q: We love the simplicity and elegance of your designs. What made you decide to limit your colour palette to while, black and gold?

A: I value simplicity in design, so it was an easy choice for me. It’s understated and beautiful. Less is more, but with a little bit of gold and wit. Keeping a simple palette and design aesthetic may seem restrictive to some, but for me it feels like a challenge to explore how far it can go. So far, so good. I’ll occasionally bring in spots of colour to complement the neutral palette for fun, but it’s always grounded by a cohesive style.

 

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Q: The sentiments on your cards range from six letters to longer phrases – what is your design process from idea to printed card?

A: As mentioned above, simplicity with a bit of gold and wit is paramount. My inspiration comes from a love for design, urban living and pop culture. I try to distill those things into modern and ridiculously simple designs that are versatile. All of my stationery is “all-occasions”. Recognizing a 90s hip hop lyric (and getting it stuck in your head), or reading BOOYAH in gold foil can’t help but make you giggle a little. Then, it’s just a matter of figuring out how you’ll make it personal by choosing a recipient and message. It’s a minimalist, but quirky way to connect with snail mail.

 

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Q: Any fun projects that you are currently working on?

A: Always! I love to explore new ways to bring in products and collaborations that complement the original items of Swell Made Co. Some stay, some go; but I always stay true to where I began. I also continue to work with other small businesses and creatives to help them define their style and brands. It’s a true love for design that continues. I wouldn’t have it any other way!