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10 May 2021

New partnership between Smail’s and Paper Tiger

A pile of letterpress-printed cards are arranged over a flat surface. Most cards are bright and colourful, and are facing up. The card on the top of the pile is reverse-side up. It shows the logos of Paper Tiger and Robert Smail's Printing Works, as well as a couple of lines of text describing how the cards are printed.
An exclusive range of birthday cards created at Smail’s Printing Works
Paper Tiger has partnered with Robert Smail’s Printing Works in Innerleithen, which is the oldest working commercial letterpress printer in the UK. Smail’s will design, print and typeset a special range of cards, using methods that date back to the Victorian era.

Robert Smail’s Printing Works is an example of Scotland’s industrial heritage, and continues to take on commercial jobs to this day. This new and exclusive range of greetings cards will celebrate 40 years of Paper Tiger, an Edinburgh-based stationer whose products promote many local Scottish artists. The 40th anniversary range will feature ten unique designs, all hand-crafted by the expert team at Smail’s.

The cards have been printed on an original 1953 Heidelberg press, using historical typefaces from Smail’s extensive collection. All cards feature two-colour prints and have been run through the press twice as part of a detailed printing process.

Rows of wooden letter blocks, used for printing, are lined up in special wooden cases.

Michael Apter, owner of Paper Tiger said: ‘We’re delighted to have partnered up with Smail’s to bring our customers an exclusive range of letterpress cards. This is something we’ve been planning since March last year, and we’re excited to see this come to fruition after such a difficult year with the pandemic. This partnership combines retail and market knowledge with design, print and typeset skills – the cards are a true artform from start to finish.’

“The original process at Smail’s is truly unique, and the quality of these cards has exceeded our expectations.”
Michael Apter
Paper Tiger

Jack Conkie, Compositor at Robert Smail’s Printing Works said: ‘In our 90th birthday year at the Trust, it has been lovely working with Paper Tiger to produce this letterpress range which marks their 40th. We’ve worked closely with Michael to ensure the designs were everything he wanted and more. The process, although timely, is so rewarding and we’re thrilled that Paper Tiger chose us as their printer.’

The hand-crafted range of birthday cards can be bought at Smail’s Printing Works, in the Paper Tiger stores and online.

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