Sending Out Wedding Invitations: Everything You Need To Know

Wedding invitations are a wonderful, exciting part of the wedding process. They list all of the details about your special day with the people you want to share the occasion with. Picking a wedding invitation that matches your aesthetic and reflects your personality is important for setting the tone for your wedding day. On a more practical level, it provides guests with crucial information and means you can get started with planning the finer details and being more prepared. When you know exactly who will be attending, this helps with things like the number of people to cater for and the size of the venue. Here’s everything you need to know before sending out those all-important wedding invitations.

When to send them

There’s no set time for when to send out wedding invites, but typically they are sent out 6 – 8 weeks before the wedding. This gives your guests a good amount of time to make the necessary plans, like travel arrangements or clearing their schedules, and gives them enough notice to move things around if needed. If you’re doing a destination wedding or having your wedding during a busy period, send them a bit earlier, so 8 – 12 weeks in advance of the wedding date. Your save-the-date cards go out first, usually 6 – 8 months in advance so this gives people the chance to block that date out.

What to include

A traditional wedding invitation includes key information that your guests will need to know about the wedding: your names, date and time, venue (or venues, if your reception and ceremony are in different locations), plus-one rules, whether children are allowed or not, the dress code, RSVP cards and return address, and if you have a wedding website, a link to that! For anything where people need to get back to you like menu options if you have these, and RSVPs, be sure to include a date to get back to you by so you have enough notice. If you’re sending wedding invitations to evening-only guests, just slightly tweak the wording to make it clear that it’s just an invite for the evening reception.

What to say

The choice of wording is totally up to you and each wedding invitation will be different. It depends on personal preference, and whether you want the invitation to be more formal or more fun – there’s no right or wrong way to word it. Examples like: “Naomi Smith and John Richards are getting married and would love to invite *insert name here* to join them on their special day,” or “Katie Williams and Aaron Collins are tying the knot and would love for *insert name here* to celebrate their wedding,” are two simple options. Just make sure to be clear and to cover the main things you want guests to know – write out the names of the people who are invited to avoid any confusion with guests who want to bring children (if it’s an adult-only wedding) or people who want to bring plus ones.

When to set the deadline for RSVPs

This can vary from wedding to wedding but it should be at least 4 weeks before your wedding date. You’ll have to confirm final numbers as close to the date as possible, so you need enough time to let the caterer know, order any final bits of wedding stationery and finalise the seating chart for the day. A good amount of time between sending out the invitation and setting the deadline for RSVPs is at least 4 – 6 weeks. If it gets any closer to the date, give any remaining guests a call to ask for their RSVPs.

Getting your wedding invitations sorted and sent out in enough time is just one more thing for you to check off your wedding to-do list. These invitations will be memorable keepsakes that you (and your guests!) can keep to remember your special day, for life.

National Wellness Month: How To Unwind And Relax

National Wellness Month is all about actively reminding us to make time to take care of ourselves for a whole month. Although the words ‘self-care’ and ‘wellness’ are topics of conversation more than ever before, it’s still difficult to carve time out of our busy schedules to actively put these things into place. Having an entire month dedicated to wellness means it doesn’t have to take a backseat, and we can try to incorporate little bits of wellness into our lives each day, no matter how big or small.

Here are five things to remember during National Wellness Month to focus on self-care and stress management, so that it becomes something you can implement in your life, all year round.

Wellness is different for everyone
For some, it might be bubble baths, books and cups of tea, or watching a film and enjoying some much-needed ‘me’ time. For others, it might be ticking things off your to-do list and then enjoying dinner with a friend, or heading to the gym for a class. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ with wellness, and what works for some people may not work for others. That’s why it’s important to think about what YOU need to do to take care of yourself. What, specifically, does self-care look like for you? That’s how you determine what to focus on during National Wellness Month (and after it!)

Wellness isn’t about big changes
Although there are some elements of wellness that can seem quite grand, expensive or life-changing, like getting a wellness coach, getting regular massages or having a strict bedtime of 10pm every night, wellness can be much smaller and manageable. Promoting a healthier, more balanced routine can include things like making a conscious effort to drink more water through-out the day or committing to an exercise class or an outdoor walk once a week. You don’t have to commit to an annual membership at your local yoga studio, but you can commit to one class. Don’t feel as though you have to overhaul your entire life to incorporate wellness into it – it’s meant to help you manage stress, not add to it.

Less screen time 
There are so many things you can do with your time instead of spending it looking at a screen. One of the great things about National Wellness Month is that it’s in the summer, which means it’s the perfect time of year to go for walks, be outdoors and enjoy nature. It’s been proven that spending time in nature helps to reduce feelings of stress or anger, and improves your mood. Other things you can do instead of being in front of a screen are:

  1. Catching up with friends
  2. Exercising
  3. Cooking
  4. Reading
  5. Meditating

Slow down and breathe
It can often feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get things done and that every hour passes us by. That’s where the art of mindfulness comes in. Both mindfulness and meditation have become much more mainstream and popular in recent years, and taking time to slow down and be present is known to release stress. Making an effort to practice meditation or deep breathing can take just 5 or 10 minutes out of your day, but make a huge difference by helping to release tension and encouraging us to be more present in the moment.

Self-care is sometimes as simple as getting stuff done 
Although National Wellness Month is definitely a time to create good lifestyle habits and focus on healthy routines, it’s also important to remember that sometimes self-care is about doing what needs to be done. Taking care of yourself can look like getting through a load of work that you’ve been procrastinating over, or checking things off of your to-do list that you keep putting off. In the end, not working through things can leave you feeling more overwhelmed and stressed out in the long run. Part of taking care of yourself is acknowledging these responsibilities.

Self-care isn’t selfish or self-indulgent. It’s not a bad thing to take time out to unwind and reset. It’s necessary. Hopefully this month will show you how much of a difference these small habits can make, and you can incorporate little bits of wellness into your life all year round. There are so many things you can do to unwind, and sometimes a nice, chilled evening is just what you need. We’ve put together some of our favourite self-care products to enjoy during National Wellness Month. Treat yourself to things that make you feel relaxed and allow you to really switch off.

Fikkers warming muscle rub on Bookblock

Warming Muscle Rub: Fikkerts
This muscle rub is perfect for an all-over warming massage. Made using carefully selected essential oils, they’ve been blended together with natural moisturisers to create a non-oily rub that’s easy to apply. It leaves skin feeling smooth and rehydrated.

LA: Bruket grapefruit hand cream on Bookblock

No 195 Grapefruit Hand Cream: L:A Bruket
This hand cream by L:A Bruket is delicately scented with Grapefruit Leaf and Lavender Essential Oils, and paired with Shea Butter and Coconut Oil. It provides intense nourishment and hydration, without leaving behind any greasy residue and it works to replenish and rejuvenate dry skin.

Wild Rose Bath Blaster: Bomb Cosmetics
This floral bath bomb by Bomb Cosmetics is made with Rose & Geranium Essential Oils. Just place in warm water, and it’ll make bath time relaxing and totally serene as the fragrance and essential oils release.

Sabadi health chocolate on Bookblock

Cold Pressed Organic Chocolate: Sabadi
A healthy snack? A healthy snack… with chocolate? We’ve found it! This cold-pressed organic chocolate is rich and indulgent, made with bee pollen, pomegranate extract and acerola. Both vegan and gluten-free, it’s a great option if you’re a self-professed chocoholic, looking for something healthy.

Umu Tsumu tea on Bookblock

Tsumu Tea: Umu 
This Tsumu Tea by Japanese tea makers Umu is not only beautifully packaged, it’s also expertly crafted and delicious. Made in Japan, this fragrant mix hails from Sayama and has a heady natural aroma and a crisp, clean taste. Perfect for unwinding.

5 Things To Know If You’re Going To Be A Bridesmaid

So, it’s only natural that you might find yourself overcome with different emotions when you’re a bridesmaid: excitement, pride, feeling overwhelmed, nervous or anxious. Not uncommon for there to be a tear or two.

The job of being a bridesmaid is an exciting one, and one of the most exciting parts of being part of someone’s special day. But with being a bridesmaid comes expectation. It’s a job with expectation and being part of someone’s special day can be a big responsibility. When you have a life of your own, squeezing in dress fittings, brunches, organisational meetings, hen-do prep and more, can seem like a lot to manage. But, whether you’ve been a bridesmaid countless times before or it’s your first time, there are a few things that are universal. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Lists will be your best friend
Being part of the bride team involves so many things. The bride-to-be will probably need your support and help with a total range of things but being there for her through this whirl-wind of emotions will be one of your main jobs. The more organised you are, the easier your journey will be. Whether you’re helping out with the wedding dress shopping or throwing an amazing hen-do, there will be lots to do and lists/spreadsheets/calendars will be your best friend. Remembering to make a note of any dress fittings or important dates, those kind of things.

Prepare, prepare, prepare
As you may have gathered, it’s important to expect the unexpected as a bridesmaid. It’s completely normal that certain things might take longer or go wrong, but this is where you come in. If you’re organised and prepared for things before the big day, you’re helping the bride-to-be out in a massive way. She’s going to have so much going on and so many things to be thinking about, she might not remember to bring things that are totally essential. So, you need to be as prepared as you can be. An emergency kit for the big day will come in handy. It’s the small things. Think about including things like:

  • Deodorant
  • Perfume
  • Blister plasters
  • Hair pins and hairspray
  • Mouthwash/mints
  • Lip balm
  • Lipstick
  • Tissues
  • Something blue!

Before the big day, get a proper sleep to prepare for the unpredictable day ahead.

Try to keep the bride-to-be as stress free as possible on that all-important day so that she just has to think about the fun things – her hair, make-up and getting married!

Don’t take on more than you can handle
Although it’s completely understandable that you want your friend/sister/cousin/bride-to-be to have the best day possible, be realistic about what you can or can’t do as a bridesmaid. Whether that’s time commitments, financially or emotionally, it’s impossible to everything, and as long as you make this clear from the start you’ll be managing expectations. It’s better to say from the beginning, “I absolutely want to be there for your special day and help as much as I can but the only few things I can’t commit to are…”, rather than agree to everything and end up disappointing people. She’ll be grateful that you’ve told her before the big day so there’s time to prepare and fix anything that needs fixing well in advance. You can be honoured but still want to know what’s expected of you. She’ll also know how much of a bit commitment of time (and money!) it is for you, so if there are certain things you need to be open about, do that.

Think about setting a budget
Weddings are expensive, and when you’re part of the bridal party, there are a lot of things to be taken into consideration when it comes to how much you’ll be spending. But, if you work out realistically how much you can spend and how much is feasible for you to budget for the occasion, it will make it a lot easier for you to manage and also be upfront with the bride about what you can afford. Maybe think about the absolute maximum you can spend in total (hen party, dresses and other outfits, travel including flights and hotel rooms, etc) and let the bride-to-be/planner know this number in advance.

Love the dress (or pretend to)
How many films or TV shows have you seen where the bridesmaids dress is revealed and… it’s awful? Maybe it’s not your style, fit or shape and the colour completely does not suit you. But, you’ve been assured that it’s wonderful and you’ll be able to reuse it and wear it another time (which is your least favourite idea). Take a second to imagine how stressful it must be for the bride-to-be. Trying to find a dress that everyone likes and a dress that suits everyone, while also planning a million different other things can’t be the easiest thing, so in line with helping her have an incredible day, just suck up the dress! Or, if you really can’t stand it, offer alternatives that the other bridesmaids like too so you’re not adding more work. There are also companies where you can rent bridesmaid dresses, similar to how groomsmen rent tuxes, so see if that’s an option that the bride has considered.

Remember, it’s a sweet tradition
You’re not just there as another number or a ‘must invite but don’t really want to’ guest. As a bridesmaid, one of your jobs is to be emotionally supportive and comfort the stressed duo, a total all-around helper, a prop, an organiser, all in one. Being invited is a symbol of how important you are to her and how much she wants you there to not only celebrate her special day, but be with her through every step of it. There’s a balance between being vocal about what you can and can’t do, and also just biting your tongue with certain things to help the bride-to-be and her husband-to-be have a smooth (as can be!) wedding day.

Enjoy it!
It will be a whirlwind of a day. There will be so much preparation and organisation and lists and tastings… but the day itself will fly by and be over before you know it. Make sure to get as many pictures as possible to remember it all, dance until your feet hurt with the rest of the bride team, enjoy all of the food and the delicious wedding cake, P.s. bring tissues. Tears are a thing.

Tea Trends In 2019

In the UK, 165 million cups of tea are consumed everyday by 51 million tea drinkers, and although speciality teas are bigger than ever, classic traditional teas are still well-loved. With wellness teas on the rise and new flavours and options popping up regularly, we want to know what types of teas are the most popular and on the rise this year.

Whether we’re opting for an English Breakfast or going for a herbal tea, there are so many choices. So, what are some of the major tea trends that we should be looking out for in 2019? We read through the Tetley Tea report, and here’s what we found:

Tea trends at work

Tea at work improves productivity
Having a tea break at work is actually a really good thing, and it actually outperforms coffee with 47% of people drinking tea every time they’re in the workplace. Whether you’re grabbing a green tea (the 2nd most popular blend in the workplace) in between meetings and calls, or enjoying a brew with colleagues, it’s no surprise that having a tea break can increase productivity, benefiting both businesses and employees. The tea trends for this year show that the top 3 factors for choosing tea in the workplace are:

  • 44% of people go for a cup of tea to break up the day
  • 30% enjoy a cuppa to quench thirst
  • 28% of people say it’s just out of habit

Tea trends fruit or hygge

The experience is key
Tea is now about more than just making a quick cup in the morning and drinking it in a hurry. It’s about the experience, enjoyment and finding a new way to take pleasure in something small. The idea of ‘hygge’ has become more and more popular with it being an act of self-care to enjoy small rituals everyday, and the idea of ‘comfort’ and ‘cosiness’. Plus, there’s the idea of sophistication – whether it’s visiting a renowned British place for a ‘high-tea’ or ‘afternoon tea’ experience, it’s a concept that’s appealing.

Yes to new flavours
An unlikely finding in the tea trends for 2019 is that black tea is still a clear favourite when it comes to popular choices. But fruit, herbal and green teas have definitely grown in popularity, particularly since the well-being trend has become more prominent with millennials. So, the idea of offering fruit and herbal infusions is a key way to attract a younger audience, by demonstrating the various benefits of different blends. The most popular blends for people to consume out of home (other than black tea) are Green Tea (18%), Speciality Black Tea (17%), Herbal Tea (15%), Fruit Tea (14%) and Matcha Tea (3%). Matcha and Green tea are the two blends that consumers are happy to pay a little more for. People also want new tastes and flavours – natural, more earthy flavours and variations from matcha tea and kombucha.

With the rise of cold brews and botanicals, there is no ‘one’ type of tea anymore.

Tea trends herbal

We’re more selective about our dietary choices and often choose healthier beverages
With the rise of the health and wellness trend, particularly amongst millennials, consumers are looking for healthier options, and ingredients with more nutritional benefits. There’s a much higher demand now for functional food and drink options with health benefits focused on self-care, and this is only expected to grow over the next few years. Since 1 in 2 people in the UK already take daily vitamins, it’s now more important than ever for the new generation of tea drinkers to choose drinks with functional ingredients to help maintain a healthy lifestyle – matcha, protein, turmeric and ginger to name a few.

A report by National Tea Day talked about the way different types of tea drinkers perceive tea and the difference in how they associate it. For example, when it comes to different generations, traditionalists look at tea more as a “builder’s brew,” whereas modern consumers and new tea drinkers see it more as an experience. Traditionalists tend to see tea as, “comforting, creamy and sweet”, whereas modernists tend to see tea as, “healthy, colourful and sensual.” So, the rise of speciality teas is definitely bigger than ever and there have been a number of key shifts in the premium tea market. But, one thing hasn’t changed. That we love tea.  Tetley’s report says, “Enjoying a cup of tea is a staple part of most people’s day.” We agree.

3 Book Cover Designs We Love

Whether we like to admit it or not, the cover of a book can strongly determine our decision to either pick it up and read it immediately, or leave it on the shelf to gather dust. Something with this amount of power to influence our opinion of a book we haven’t even read yet shouldn’t be overlooked, and because of this we believe book covers are works of art in their own right.

Whether it be adorned with elaborate illustrations or touched by simple typography, each design has to be a unique representation of the book inside, effectively conveying its themes, atmospheres and genre. We want to appreciate the time and effort that goes into getting this right, so below we share three examples of where we believe designers have done just that.

MANUJA WALDIA – Pelican Shakespeare Series, published by Penguin Random House


Our first example isn’t a single book cover, but a new series of designs for Shakespeare’s works illustrated by Manuja Waldia, in collaboration with Penguin Random House. One of the things that drew us to the project is that something as well-known as Shakespeare’s stories have been given such a fresh new identity. As Manuja tells us, “it’s hard to escape Shakespeare as his stories are so deeply embedded in popular culture, even if they are diluted to a point where you don’t realise it’s his stuff.”

Some of the more subtle hints to themes within the books keeps the whole series interesting and it’s nice to see some of Manuja’s personal interpretations, who carried out a lot of research prior to the project. Manuja gives us an insight into the positive collaboration with publishers Penguin and it’s clear this was a key contributor to the success of the project, which won a Gold Medal at the Society of Illustrators Annual Exhibition.

I start by reading and researching the material. Sometimes the editorial team provides me with some initial ideas of their own, which are helpful insights about which directions would work better over others. I explore those along with a few ideas of my own as wordlists, or quick pencil thumbnails. From these I blow out 6-8 enlarged pencil sketches, the art team selects one for the front and another for the verso. I digitize them on Adobe Illustrator along with a couple of icons for the spine. Next comes final thoughts from the Penguin team, selecting a spine icon, and polishing up artwork. I get complete creative freedom, and the inputs from Penguin just push the work to the next level (thanks Paul Buckley!)

When choosing our favourites from the (pretty large) series, we gravitated toward the comedies which are grouped by a consistent light blue background. Histories are grouped by maroon, and tragedies by black. When asked about her personal favourite covers in the series, Manuja replied “The Tempest, and The Merchant of Venice are my favourites as I took risks with both the concept and drawing, and the Penguin team were awesome enough to let me do it.

Manuja’s approach to illustration is very personal and she has allowed her style to develop organically. When asked what her favourite book cover designed by any other artist, she answered “believe it or not, I don’t follow book cover design as it dilutes originality while I work… As most self taught artists, initially I was learning by copying a lot of both classical masters (Indian and Persian miniature paintings, Matisse, etc) and also contemporary successful illustrators (Jessica Hische, Lotta Nieminen). But thankfully overtime I had the good sense to stop consuming illustration for inspiration.”

She insists this is how her personal style was born, and advises others to embrace the kooks and imperfections in illustration. In the future she hopes to design cover artwork for authors from the Indian subcontinent, intersectional artist M.I.A, and feminist poet Nikita Gill.

MARIE-LAURE CRUSCHI (AKA CRUSCHIFORM) – Cabins by Philip Jodidio, published by Taschen


This is a beautiful hardback book published by Taschen that caught our eye when it was released in 2014. It’s no secret that we at Bookblock are fans of illustration, and French illustrator and art director Marie-Laure Cruschi’s artworks played no small part in our attraction to the book, as one of many beautiful illustrations of a cabin in the forest adorns the entire cover, uninterrupted (just like the landscape that many of the cabins inside fit so perfectly into).

Marie-Laure tells us she worked closely with Taschen for 6 months and over this time created over 60 illustrations, drawings and symbols, but it was an early trial drawing that Taschen immediately chose as the front cover image. We find this illustration particularly atmospheric which may be why it was such a clear choice for the cover. The size of the book, (measuring just over 24 by 30cm with almost 500 pages) and this full bleed illustration complement each other wonderfully, creating an impression of the cabins and their environments being tangible when you hold the book.

The feeling of being able to engage with the environments was also important for Marie-Laure, telling us that “each illustration represents a contemporary cabin celebrated in it’s nature’s jewel box. I wanted to create dreamlike pictures between realism and fantasy. So I tried to make a glorified vision, to inspire, to invite in a virtual journey, while trying to convey each cabin’s unique character, and remaining faithful to the original cabin architecture.

In that sense, this project seems to strike a nice balance between her work in children’s books, cultural magazines and graphic design, as she combines the feeling of child-like fantasy with accurate and faithful representations of the cabins which is key to the nonfiction book.

She also recounts a positive collaboration between illustrator and publisher and how creative freedom paired with guidance produced a result and experience they both enjoyed, “once I had a good grasp of Taschen’s requests and their goals, I had a lot of freedom on creating the illustrations. It was like a Carte blanche. Of course I shared with them my work in progress, showing them my sketches, pictures references, colour moods… and it went very well.

JENNIFER CARROW – Against Happiness by Eric G Wilson, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux


Our final choice is this cover designed by Jennifer Carrow, a prolific designer of book covers. Her portfolio spans various styles and genres, each of her many cover designs appearing unique to the book in question. Against Happiness is an example of her more minimal approaches to design, and we think this was the perfect direction to go in for this nonfiction book exploring the advantages of melancholia, particularly in relation to creativity and expression.

The book explores two polar opposite themes; happiness and sadness. Jennifer Carrow presents this brilliantly and simply; the bright yellow background instantly connotes themes of happiness, while the simple shape of a down turned smile, formed here by the typography, is equally as recognisable as a symbol of sadness.

Illustrated Beer Labels We Love – Partizan

Partizan is a South Bermondsey micro brewery, formed in 2012 by Andy Smith. Initially brewing hoppy American beers that weren’t available fresh in the UK, Partizan are now known for their ever evolving recipes, and their equally inventive label designs. If you’re not familiar with Partizan but feel the labels faintly ring a bell, it’s probably because they were designed by one of our great Editions collaborators, Alec Doherty. Andy and Alec have kindly shared some insight with us into their brewing and design process…


How much input do you have in the design of the labels? Or do you just leave Alec to it?

Usually just leave Al to it. I know what I’m good at and I know what he is good at. It’s incredibly rare I ask even for changes. I think it’s happened maybe 2-3 times in the 5 years we have been working together. We do meet up quite often and discuss “the brand” over a few beers so I think he just understands us as a company very well. In all honesty he’s helped shape our company a lot too so definitely doesn’t need any directing, it’s just a very natural partnership.

What sort of reaction have you had to your unique labels?

All very positive. There’s a fairly common thing we’ve had where people will tell us the illustrations remind them of something, like a book they had when they were a kid. If we don’t know the reference obviously the phone comes out and they start googling whatever it is. Quite often the pictures they pull up are actually nothing like Al’s. The pictures just seem to have this strange reminiscing trigger for people.

Why do you think Alec’s illustrations work so well with Partizan beer?

I think because Partizan is quite happy to change and wake up every day a new company we suit each other a lot. We’re both focused on challenging ourselves and evolving and getting better every day by trying new things and not being tied into a regimented aesthetic or ethos. It’s not quite anti-brand but a sort of brand apathy maybe? Neither of us are interested in creating something that is static and repeatable. We change our beer offering weekly to push ourselves to do better and also to engage people with something new, it’s really easy to disengage with an experience if you have been through it multiple times,  so it really suits us perfectly that Al changes not only the labels but the style in which he puts the labels together, challenging himself and changing in the same way.

There’s some really nice detailed synergy that I doubt anyone’s even noticing too, like on the stout labels. We never really changed the stout recipe since day one as we really like it how it is. As a result, it’s the only label that doesn’t really change. Except it actually does, but just the hat of the guy who forms the T. I doubt anyone ever noticed his hat was changing… It actually got to the point where we’d just tell Al what we had been listening to and the hat would come from that. The R Kelly stout label is a personal favourite. 🙂

What’s your favourite out of the many fantastic label designs?

A tricky one. We were actually digging out some old recipes last week as we wanted to look at putting something new together for the end of summer based on something we had previously done. I don’t write the brewing logs myself anymore as the team has grown a bit now, but when I did I used to stick his labels on the backs of the fermentation records. We were flicking back through and looking at all the old labels as well and everyone was just like, ‘let’s brew that one again, the label’s so nice, I wanna get that label back on a bottle again’.

One that really stood out for me though was the Big Red Saison. It was just like these very electric colours on a black background with this pink horse that made it kind of look like neon lights somewhere in the dark, and it was at the time where Al would tell the story through building up lots of smaller detailed illustrations. I really liked that one. The recentish lemon and thyme one which was sort of again bold colours on black and quite surreal shapes defining characters and reminded me of what I think is a Miles Davis album cover that I’ve never been able to find (that memory trigger thing again) was a strong favourite too. The one he did with Keith Shore is a classic as well. Every time he sends the email through with the new artworks there’s a new favourite. Al knows I’m a big fan of the film Four Rooms with Tim Roth so did a rework on the Porter bottle based on that, that should be out very soon.

Are there any other breweries whose labels you admire?

Loads yeah. So many in fact. Keith Shore who I’ve already mentioned is doing a great job for Mikkel. Omnipollo is basically a big art project, beer included, Karl Grandin is doing some crazy good stuff there. Nick continues to kill it at Beavertown, very much enjoyed the recent reload. You get this vibe from speaking to any of the team there, that it is a constant discussion and something they are all very mindful and proud of too. Another one where the art maybe has influenced the brewery a little even as well. Actually I quite like the very old school Beavertown labels that Jona (one of the brewers at the Kernel and amazing illustrator) used to do too, really nice detailed line drawings with a macabre sort of edge. Brasserie de la Senne always have super pretty stuff going on which really suits them and where they are from.The Flying Dog stuff is really great as well with Ralph Steadman of course and Pressure drops labels are always varied, thoughtful and pretty. Too many to mention really. As long as it’s not contrived and designy and trying too hard to look artisanal but stay safe and have mass appeal then I’m in, anything with personality I guess.


How did you first get involved with Partizan?

Andy has been a good friend for years, he’s a Leeds boy and I met him when I was living up there. About 5 years ago when he was starting up the brewery he asked me to help him out with a little bit of artwork and we’ve been working together on it ever since.

Where do your ideas for the beer labels spark from? What is the process like?

I get ideas from all sorts of places, sometimes they’re inspired by the beer itself; the ingredients, the style or history of the beer. Other times it might be a significant date like a birthday or there’s been a new member of staff joining like the brewery cat Adina. I like to keep things interesting for myself and others so it’s a little all over the place.

Do you have any other favourite illustrated beer labels?

Yeah there’s loads of great beer art out there, my favourites at the moment would be Keith Shore’s work for Mikkeller and Jay Cover’s work with Camden Town.

What’s your favourite piece of work?

Partizan is my favourite bit of work. I like it because it’s very free. Beer bottle labels are kind of a similar to record labels – when I started out I wanted to design record sleeves – in that it’s a really simple format. The fact that it’s an indie brewery and run by mates also means I basically get to do whatever I want; sometimes for the worse and sometimes for the better.

If you want to see more of the Partizan labels, look no further than the Partizan Brewing Archive.


Artists that inspire us – David Shrigley

Continuing our series on artists that inspire the Bookblock team, Designer Nicola shares her love of David Shrigley.

It’s hard to talk about who inspires me as I find it hard to be inspired without feeling some sort of ‘artistic guilt’ if it influences my own thinking too much, but of course it naturally happens, and when I am truly inspired (which is rare) it is usually because it has sparked a new idea or encouraged me to be more confident in my own thinking. Or in this case, my style of drawing – which is what David Shrigley has done for me. I started as an artist with two drawing styles, one that can take me days to complete and is structured, neat and often trying to represent reality in its true physical form. My other style exists similarly to Shrigley’s, bringing personality and humour to the work through confident lines and conviction in what my hand naturally wants to do. To some this style could be thought to be the opposite to what is classically considered beautiful or skilful, but to me Shrigley’s work is relatable, characterful and charming. I often remind myself ‘If you want to see an accurate portrayal of something then take a photo.’

I first fell under his charm back in 2012 during my foundation year at MMU, when he exhibited ‘How are you feeling?’ at the former Cornerhouse. Described as ‘art-therapy to help you cope with “an increasingly crazy and poorly signposted world”, the exhibition poster has followed me from home to home, doing exactly that. Reminding me that art needn’t take itself so seriously, and indeed neither should I.

His work seems to curiously pop up in many places, as though it seems to follow me around, with every occasional familiar glimpse of his black on white drawings appearing like a friendly face in a crowd. Once in the form of a recent collaboration with Tiger on a range of stationery, another as a piece of ‘Art on the Underground’, and most recently in the form of a large thumbs up on the 4th plinth.

It would be hard to pick a favourite piece of work by Shrigley, as there are just so many to choose from. But I could probably pick my top 5, though if you were to ask me again tomorrow it would likely be a completely different 5. I like to think that though Shrigley and I originate from, according to Wikipedia, the same ‘small market town’ of Macclesfield, or perhaps more notably the Times 2004 most uncultured town in Britain, something managed to slip through the cold grey cracks.

3 Chocolate Packaging Designs We Love

We feel this particular post encapsulates a combination of two of our favourite things at Bookblock; design and food. Chocolate, specifically. We love seeing other brands that put time and thought into their design so wanted to share three of our favourite chocolate packaging designs. It may be a cliché, but these really are a treat for the eyes as well as the taste buds.

Love Cocoa


Speaking of gifting, Love Cocoa is a chocolate company specifically tailored to ordering chocolate straight to your door to brighten the day of a loved one (or yourself). The packaging follows a consistent design across all the flavours which makes the chocolates look lovely both as a bundle and individually. Each bar is wrapped up in a small pattern on a white background which corresponds to its particular ingredients or flavour, for example the repeated cow motif signifies classic milk chocolate which is simple but striking. We were also drawn to the bright green bottle design for the gin and tonic flavour, which creates a vision of drinking a refreshing G&T on a sunny day.

Sweet Virtues


Sweet Virtues are London based chocolatiers who produce truffles and thins which are free from things such as dairy, gluten, and added sugar. They’re designed to include restorative ingredients and make you feel better for having eaten them, rather than queasy and slightly regretful (just me?). We chose the packaging of one of their boxes of thins, which is a delightfully small box which it’s clear has been thought about thoroughly. Each product’s packaging is adorned with nature-inspired illustrations reflecting the flavours, and different colours depending on the ingredients. For example, we chose the Himalayan pink salt thins, housed in a padded pink box which makes sure the chocolate is well packed and looked after (this is very important to us). We also like the use of typography alongside the illustration.


Coco Chocolatier


Coco is an Artisan Chocolatier based in Edinburgh that “specialises in making ethically traded, organic and most importantly delicious chocolate.” It’s clear the same level of attention goes into the packaging design as goes into the hand crafting of their chocolate. Each flavour bar has a unique design, and the collection of 14 available to buy online spans various colours and styles. Some, such as the date and ginger dark chocolate, have more geometric patterns, and some are more expressive, as is the case with the gorgeous red and pink packaging we were drawn to which houses an equally enticing Artisan Roast Espresso flavour. It goes without saying that these make lovely gifts, and with this variety of designs, if you can’t decide on a flavour you can definitely pick a design that will suit your giftee.

Artists that inspire us – Carl Kleiner

Over the next few month, five creative members of the Bookblock team will be sharing one person that inspires them and their work. Keep an eye out for posts from Creative Director Stefan, Designers Sophie & Nicola and Product Designer Fran, but first photographer Sarah explains how Carl Kleiner inspires her.

When I was asked to write a blog on who inspired me and my work, one photographer sprang to mind straight away. Carl Kleiner is a prolific still life photographer based in Stockholm, who has produced advertising work for high profile clients including H&M, Ikea and Google, as well as editorial series for international publications.


As a relatively young photographer, his influence on still life photography and styling over the past decade has been prodigious, pioneering the bright, graphic aesthetic that’s become so popular in contemporary still life photography. I don’t at all hesitate to include myself in the long list of photographers he’s inspired.

Although his compositions are controlled and clean, his imagination and sense of humour also come through clearly in his work which is often styled in collaboration with Evelina Kleiner. I find that when browsing through his many projects and commissions, you can see his ability to communicate different messages and brand identities while maintaining his own recognisable style.


Carl shares behind the scenes videos, photos and sketches along with each series on his website, and these give a little insight into his shooting process. At a time when CGI is so prevalent in commercial still life photography, I admire the efforts Carl and his collaborators go through to physically produce the perfect photo, manufacturing their own props from various materials to fit the particular project. Due to the level of detail and the cleanliness of the finish, it would be easy to assume many of his images were completely computer generated at first glance.


This particularly applies to two of his recent series; a collection of 50 photographs showcasing Italian lighting company Flos, and a series of backgrounds produced for Google. Both of these projects encapsulate Kleiner’s signature abstract style, while still emphasising the minute and beautiful detail of Flos’ products, and creating paperscapes that are recognisably Google. This behind the scenes video and photos from the Flos shoot show how these images were created without the use of CGI.

It’s impressive to think that despite the quantity of photographs in the Flos series, not only is each image fresh and unique, and each product clearly tailored to, there’s still a degree of experimentation during the shoots, with consistency maintained through the carefully prepared and curated backgrounds and props. In terms of Bookblock photography, this is particularly inspiring to see, as we’re faced with the challenge of maintaining fresh imagery with many products of generally the same size and shape. It’s also reassuring to know that the best images can sometimes come to you during the shoot, and not every image has to be meticulously planned:

I tried to do sketches first, but found these got in the way of the process. I knew what I wanted to achieve in terms of composition, and the best way of getting there was to let the images come to me during the process of making them.” (Carl Kleiner talking to the British Journal of Photography about his personal project ‘There Will be Blood’ which was a development of his work for Google)


The final project I want to share had me transfixed by the behind the scenes page for about half an hour. This project, commissioned by Lärabar, involved a very fiddly–looking and painstaking setup which created a great effect without excessive post production. Overall I think this clever and practical use of materials and objects is what inspires me most about Carl Kleiner’s work, as it proves that planning, imagination and patience can produce a result to be proud of.

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