Design Principles

At Mark+Fold, we create tools to help you get in the zone and do your best work. We believe that a beautiful blank canvas has the power to inspire you, make you more productive and ultimately guide you confidently towards your goals. So what makes great stationery? We believe in the following principles, which guide us when we develop any new additions to our range.

1. A considered edit

In a world full of visual noise, endless choice, and relentless fashion cycles, we offer a limited range of essentials. This is all you need, nothing more, nothing less. We've spent years considering every detail, and creating a set of elevated classics, to make your job very simple - choose from a limited selection of well-made options, and enjoy using them.

2. Timeless classics

We don’t follow fashion, instead we create simple classics that will stand the test of time. Designed to look at home in a board room, or on your kitchen table, thanks to the simplicity of the design. We keep things plain, with no patterns or unnecessary extra details. Refreshing in a world of overwhelming choice.

3. Invisible frameworks 

Our layouts are designed to be intuitive and unobtrusive, with almost-invisible grids and guides to help rationalise your notes. We want you to feel supported, without being told what to write where, so we avoid prescriptive pointers like 'to do list.' We print in a carefully-chosen Pantone colour, which is far softer than black and warmer than grey. We use very fine lines, subtle enough that your ink marks will be the stars of the page.

4. User-focused

We carry out a research phase as we develop any new product. We look at existing examples and analyse them to work out what's needed to create a truly useful tool. But what drives the design most of all is direct anecdotal feedback from our community. We gather insights at the start, and again ask customers to take part in focus groups, as we refine and tweak a design ready for launch. It's all about making things useful, and not simply beautiful. 

5. Universal

Our flexible systems are intended to be useful to just about anyone, so that you can create your own system around the patterns of your work and lifestyle. As suitable for a high court judge or an artist, a teenager studying for exams or a government official. We create neutral 'empty vessels' for you to fill with your personality, which is why we keep things as simple as possible - so they can belong to just about anyone.

6. Materials-led

Mark+Fold is born of a love for paper and the wonderful things you can do with it. We always start with materials choices, and have a rigorous testing process for any paper we might consider using. We're constantly adding to our swatch library, gathering examples from the world's leading sustainable paper mills, which we also visit in person to see how the paper is made, and how they're leading the way with sustainability. We look for papers that are a joy to write on, so you can have the most pleasing writing experience with no distractions.

7. Tactile details

From subtle deboss branding, to all-paper packaging, every detail matters. We design the whole experience to be stimulating from start to finish — the rustling sheets of wrapping, to making your first marks on the first page.

8. Personal touches

Our passion for stationery is very personal and we love to meet customers who share this (almost unhealthy) obsession with paper goods. This is why we take so much care to wrap each parcel, and include a hand-written note from the person who wrapped it for you. The same goes for our relationships with customers, like remembering that Anita always has Diary number 8.

9. Expert craftsmanship

We work with the best and proudly champion specialist skills passed down through the generations. We work only with trusted local manufacturers, who we visit in person, so we can share knowledge and make refinements together, safe in the knowledge that they are prastising the same values as we do.

10. Responsibly made

All our materials are sustainably-sourced and we have been plastic-free from day one, unlike most stationery brands who routinely use shrink-wrapping and cellophane bags. We work with responsible manufacuring partners who share our commitment to treating their people and the environment with the utmost care and respect.

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