Meet the maker-Daphne Diamant from Purpose & Worth etc
Left: Purpose and Worth portrait. Right: Greetings cards with cat illustrations.
Daphne Diamant graduated from MA Design Studies at Central Saint Martins in 2006, before going on to launch her own design-led stationery brand Purpose & Worth etc
Originally from Canada, Daphne worked as a graphic designer and creative director before setting up Purpose & Worth etc, in a desire to return to a more authentic and hands-on practice of illustrative storytelling. The brand’s designs are inspired by her love of typography, modern decorative arts and print techniques.

What’s your fondest memory from your time at UAL?

Walking into the old Central Saint Martins building (on Southampton Row) for the first time was really special. So much creative learning, craft and knowledge had been laboured over and passed on in that spectacular building – it was electric and awe inspiring!

How did your company come about?


I was working as a Creative Director at a design consultancy in London and feeling pretty detached from being a hands-on artist and designer. Stationery wasn’t an expected outlet for my desire to return to a more authentic, pared-back approach to design, but when I re-visited why I had become a designer – to communicate through my love of print, paper, colour and type; and ideally get back to using my hands not a computer – stationery seemed a natural progression given my background and experience in design and illustration for print.

With Purpose & Worth etc, I’ve come full circle. I went to art college pre-computers, so I had a traditional craft-based design education, using conventional tools to create, such as: pens, pencils, boards, photography, paper and ink. This hands-on approach to design was one the reasons that I originally wanted to pursue design, but with the introduction of the Mac, the actual process of design changed, relying more heavily on computer-based skills and programmes. Ironically, developments in digital printing (small print runs, with high quality output on premium papers), have enabled me to launch and grow my business, something that would have been impossible within the limits of conventional printing and production techniques.

What’s your fondest memory from your time at UAL?

Walking into the old Central Saint Martins building (on Southampton Row) for the first time was really special. So much creative learning, craft and knowledge had been laboured over and passed on in that spectacular building – it was electric and awe inspiring!

How did your company come about?


I was working as a Creative Director at a design consultancy in London and feeling pretty detached from being a hands-on artist and designer. Stationery wasn’t an expected outlet for my desire to return to a more authentic, pared-back approach to design, but when I re-visited why I had become a designer – to communicate through my love of print, paper, colour and type; and ideally get back to using my hands not a computer – stationery seemed a natural progression given my background and experience in design and illustration for print.

With Purpose & Worth etc, I’ve come full circle. I went to art college pre-computers, so I had a traditional craft-based design education, using conventional tools to create, such as: pens, pencils, boards, photography, paper and ink. This hands-on approach to design was one the reasons that I originally wanted to pursue design, but with the introduction of the Mac, the actual process of design changed, relying more heavily on computer-based skills and programmes. Ironically, developments in digital printing (small print runs, with high quality output on premium papers), have enabled me to launch and grow my business, something that would have been impossible within the limits of conventional printing and production techniques.

Black pen with illustrations on a piece of paper.

Who or what inspires you?

I can be inspired by pretty much anything, anywhere! I’m always drawing, snapping photos collecting bits of magazines, paper, colour combos, textures, patterns, old and new references.

Growing up, I loved music, and flipping through my parents LP albums. I was drawn to the bold sleeves on albums such as West Side Story by Saul Bass and Sargent Pepper by Peter Blake. The discovery of visual-storytelling really made an impression on me. I didn’t realise at the time, but they were some of the first expressions of modern graphic design in a commercial form. The style, colour, simple boldness and dynamic layouts of them have been an inspiration for me in my own approach to design.

What was the inspiration behind your latest collection?

My latest collection of cards, wrap and products is called ‘Kitty-corner’— and it’s a bitter-sweet success. It was inspired by the joyful poses and stretches of my sweet cat muse, Billy, who sadly passed away in July. He came to me as a wee kitten 15 years ago and was a constant presence and companion in my home/studio. I miss him terribly, but I’m reminded of him every time I pack up a ‘Kitty-corner’ order or design a new product in the range, and that makes me smile.

left: Black cat sitting down. Right: Illustration of a cat

What purchase have you currently got your eye on?

At the moment I’m on the look out for 2 perfect coffee cups/mugs that complement a vintage Eva Zeisel set of dishes I brought over from Canada. I really enjoy the hunt and I’m a bit of a nerdy mid-century-modern collector, but we have a little London flat, so I have to be really selective about what I can and can’t live without!

Where is your most inspiring place in London?

I try to do a head-clearing, fast early morning walk three or four times a week and it’s during this me-time that I do lot of my creative thinking, mentally preparing ideas to bring back to my studio to develop. The Japanese garden in Holland Park is a favourite place to stop, look and listen—it’s a really inspirational mix of nature and simple, organic design and aesthetically in-sync with my design philosophy and ethos.

What advice would you give current students hoping to start their own business?

Do one thing well, then apply and modify what you’ve learned to grow your business. I’m often asked about branching out into other products: cushions, wallpapers, mugs, bags, etc and though these are obvious growth areas, I’ve found that spending the time researching, understanding and getting the process right for one key product (in my case greetings cards) has been instrumental in preparing me to branch out into other complimentary products like wrapping papers, prints and licensing. It may seem like a good idea to have many products to start a business, but the logistics and investment can be crippling. You can easily lose sight of the creative, unique vision that motivated you to head out on your own when you’re overwhelmed with the nuts and bolts of producing, packaging, storing and selling before you’ve really tested the waters with your core designs and ideas.

Cat illustration greeting cards.

What’s next for your brand?

I feel I’ve established a brand presence and design-style and aesthetic that is unique and translates across the products I now produce, so as well as expanding my designs onto new stationery products such as notebooks and wrapping paper sets myself, I’m ready to pursue opportunities and partnerships with like-minded businesses to collaborate on projects and licence my designs.

Turn off snow