In the studio with... Crispin Finn
Where is your studio?
We have two studios, our main designing studio in our garden at home in Broadstairs and our screen print and stock studio in Margate, both on the Kent coast.
Describe your typical day
Everyday starts with an early morning dog walk and then our days are based either in the print studio or the design studio depending on if we are working on a commercial brief or producing new personal work and products. In general we start early and finish late, with packing and preparing stock and products in the evenings.
What are the key stages of your design and making process?
We always have a long list of ideas of things we might like to develop and discuss with each other to decide the feasibility of a project or potential product, then sketches and research before taking it into digital form. Depending on the project we may then get it ready to produce ourselves in the print studio. With our product ranges we produce as much as we can in house, including all printed packaging and assembly of goods ready for our customers and stockists.
What is the best thing about your job?
It’s work and we work very hard at it but it’s not a job. It’s more like an all consuming hobby. We’ve both worked jobs in the past that were not always so fulfilling so we never take for granted how lucky we are doing something that we love on a daily basis that also pays the bills.
Do you listen to music in your studio? What three songs are on your playlist?
It depends. Sometimes music can be exactly what you need but other times silence is most productive. Podcasts are popular in the print studio (the nature of physically making a print edition provides the perfect brain space to listen to spoken word) and music in the design studio is very eclectic and pretty broad – 3 songs right now are; Six pack by Black Flag, This is the day by The The and Bonkers by Dizzee Rascal – but it just depends on what mood we’re in or which musical rabbit hole we happen to be losing ourselves down that day.
What’s on your desk right now (provide photos of three items and explain their
The Week planner – this is a new item that we’ve just finished making that we’re enjoying using – we’ve always used a less formal version of this each week to plan our work so decided it was time to make it into a product and get it out into the world.
Embossing stamp – this is our Crispin Finn logo embosser and we use the emboss as our signature, so it’s been in contact with every print and planner we’ve ever made.
Harry’s New York Bar Ashtray – neither of us smokes but we love ephemera and objects and this is a super ceramic piece from one of our favourite places – Harry’s Bar, Paris. It’s a place full of history and atmosphere and where so many classic cocktails were invented – including the French 75, our screen print of which now adorns one of its ephemera filled walls.
Who do you look up to as entrepreneur?
For us, anyone who can take an idea and make something of it is a source of inspiration. There are so many incredible individuals that don’t always get the credit they deserve who are responsible for initiating amazing projects, companies and products. Phyllis Pearsall is a great example of someone who fascinates us – what you might call a modest entrepreneur, she was the artist, writer and typographer who founded the London A-Z street atlas in 1936 after walking every single mile of London’s streets to make the most accurate pocket map possible. In doing so she created an item that was indispensable for city dwellers (including both of us at the time) up until the advent of the smartphone. Well worth reading more about if you feel the need for a little inspiration..!