My latest project, released this week and already sold out at the time of writing, is this first-of-its-kind Inkvent Calendar — for pen and ink nerds like me!
This calendar has not 24 but 25, brand new shimmer, sheen and plain inks specially created for the calendar. The colours are beautiful, and VERY Christmassy, but the names are exquisite: Ho Ho Ho, Purple Bow, Midnight Hour, Polar Glow, Fire Embers, Winter Miracle, Gold Star, Gingerbread, Triple Chocolate…so much fun must have been had coming up with those!
The calendar has been two years in the making and was the brainchild of Diamine Inks, who I’ve worked with for many years (more on that later!) Director Christine and her nephew Phil are an inkredible (*drum roll*) couple, having taken on a company established in 1864 and taking it to the modern, mega-successful company it is today. Having designed all of their packaging since 2014, when Phil The Ink Wizard asked me to work with him on this project, I was ecstatic, even though my first thought was ‘why didn’t *I* think of that!’
Intended for fans of ink and fountain pens, artists and collectors the world over, the calendar was a massive investment and risky project to undertake: would it sell? who would buy it? would there be enough demand? will the inevitable price point put people off? Regardless, Phil and I ploughed on, putting all our faith in the mad ink love of scribblers and artists worldwide.
The artwork was created in ink on cartridge paper, after first being sketched out in pencil around the busy template that the manufacturers had worked out. This was a deep box, to accommodate the tiny but girthy glass bottles of ink — and the Special Thing underneath number 25. Unusually, Phil had taken the decision to introduce a 25th window, so that there was something special to open on Christmas Day. Another first!
There were a number of technical problems that needed solving both in terms of the preparation of the art (which needed to go from organic ink-on-paper to colour-separated vector-ready for a RIP machine) and the placement of numbers over windows. Not as easy as it sounds, each number had to be large enough and clear enough while being different from the last, and not every one could sit exactly over its window — or that would have looked too symmetrical and regimented.
The manufacture of the 225 brand new colours of ink in their specially-made bottles was another challenge, particular for an already-manically busy little company. Diamine are a robustly hands-on team, and the sheer scale of the man hours required to make this, the first batch of calendars, was not to be underestimated. Initially planned for 2018, the postponement until 2019 bought us time to review and tweak the artwork, refine the copy on the back and really get it into perfect shape.
And then: it was launched. We needn’t have worried. Launched just 4 days ago at the time of writing it’s already sold out, with shops requesting more stock to fill demand. If you’ve ordered one and not had it yet, they’re planned for despatch mid-November.
Watch the film of me looking around the finished product and revealing SOME of the content!
Large and colourful thanks go to Phil and Christine at Diamine for inviting me into their colourful world, and the opportunity to be involved in so many of their projects. Here’s to the next ones!