About Us

Cambridge Imprint is a small design partnership based in Cambridge, England. We make a range of products in pattern paper, printed in beautiful colours, with joyful illustration and typography, a lively, hand-printed feel, and meticulous attention to detail.

Cambridge Imprint is a partnership of painter Claerwen James, textile artist Jane Powell and ceramicist Ali Murphy. All share an interest in pattern and texture and the beauty of household objects in everyday use. We use simple, traditional methods of block printing and hand-stenciled screen-printing to create our designs, which are then transferred to our products by modern digital and litho processes in small-scale manufacture. The aim is to produce beautiful, durable objects that have a hand-crafted feel but can reasonably be used every day. All our manufacturing is carried out in England, by experts, using traditional methods of production. The results reflect our design values: enduring, resilient, beautiful things, made with care.

The inspiration for Cambridge Imprint’s design is eclectic, ranging from Florentine and Japanese paper to hand-blocked fabrics, Uzbek suzani, red-and-white American quilts and traditional English spongeware. Our work takes inspiration from joyful, slightly earnest aesthetic of the nineteenth century Arts and Crafts movement, but also from the pared down simplicity of Jim Ede’s house at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, a strong local influence on all three artists. The cheerfulness of the printing done by the Curwen Press during its golden age in the twenties and thirties is a touchstone for our patterns, illustration and typography.

All Cambridge Imprint’s products are made in England. Our pattern paper is printed on a litho press by a long-established cooperative in London. It is printed on a matte uncoated paper, using vegetable-based spot colours hand-mixed for the job, a process that closely mirrors the way the prototypes are produced in our workshop. Our simple paper-covered boxes are made in small batches by a family firm in Sheffield. Our more elaborate paper desk accessories are hand-made by another small old English firm who make archiving boxes for the British Museum and the Queen. Our mugs are traditional English creamware, made in Stoke-on-Trent.

Cambridge Imprint seeks to create an authentic product, minimising or eliminating the dead hand of the camera and the computer from the design and manufacturing process. We hope to preserve the possibility of happy accidents occurring. Our hand-drawn and stencilled design process sets a limits on the complexity of the images and the number of colours that can be employed: constraints that we find a spur to our creativity.