About the Smallprint Company
The Smallprint Company is a traditional letterpress and design studio in Derby, Derbyshire. The heritage print shop specialises in Wedding Stationery and teaching the craft of letterpress through our workshops.
We have combined our love of typography and design with our commercial experience to explore the world of traditional letterpress print, using antique presses, original type, beautiful papers and hand mixed inks.
Chris and Hannah Barker met at art college back in the 90s, where we discovered a shared love of print and a burning ambition to run a print studio. Following several years in the print and publishing industries respectively, we finally purchased our first press, an Adana 8x5.
In April 2014 we moved into an incubation hub for creative businesses at Banks Mill Studios, alongside Green Door Printmaking Studio. We acquired a beautiful and, it appears, rare Squintani Model no.6 treadle press, which we went on to restore to full working order and which quickly became the stalwart of the studio.
In August 2016 we took on an independent studio close to the centre of Derby and expanded our services to include bookmaking workshops, gallery space, copy shop, gift shop and creative workspace which is available for hire.
With Chris’s print apprenticeship (where he won the Hawthorn Rigby Apprentice of the Year award) and years of experience in the print and design industry, we provide a tailor-made experience for anyone looking to turn their ideas into seductive letterpress print.
Client Kieran Harrod, made a little film of his business cards being printed, which can be viewed to the left.
"Shows the process which is relatively simple but takes the care and patience of a dedicated craftsman."
- Blog and video by Kieran Harrod, derby.graphics
We’ve been involved with Green Door for several years, both as members of the studio and as volunteers. Under their expert tutelage, we’ve learned new printmaking techniques under their expert tutelage and developed our private work. Through Green Door, we’ve had the opportunity to take part in several regional and international print exchanges and exhibitions, which has inspired us to start an annual Mail Art Project.
Our Eco Credentials
We don't tend to shout about our eco credentials enough – and perhaps we should! The studio is sustainable in many ways, with vintage letterpress naturally being an environmentally viable process.
Most of our equipment has had a previous life, with many presses and equipment having been rescued in some cases and restored. The presses are all powered by hand and foot and our ability to produce short print runs means that we are naturally producing less waste too... unless you're counting the amount of choccy bars it takes to power our Master Printer!
We source recycled and FSC accredited materials wherever possible. The beautiful papers we print on are FSC accredited, cotton-based or 100% recycled and we re-use and recycle newsprint and packaging wherever possible.
We use oil-based inks which have often been rescued from commercial printers and we hand-mix our inks which means that we use very little ink too. To clean down, we use vegetable oil, avoiding harsh chemicals wherever possible.
This careful and considered approach to our practice ensures high quality results that cannot be imitated.
Work for Us
We offer internships occasionally through local universities, so keep your eyes peeled on university job boards and through our social media.