We are huge fans of Present & Correct’s Instagram and Twitter feeds, which offer a visual preview of the shop’s unique aesthetic. Present & Correct, a stationery and office supply store, is named after an English saying, often used in schools when a headcount has been completed. A nod to one of graphic designer and owner, Neal Whittington, sources of inspiration – school supplies. Present & Correct was founded in 2009 as an outlet to sell his work alongside all the things he loves. Mark Smith partners on design decisions and production. Originally an online shop only, the London store opened in 2012. The small shop is a mixture of work designed by Neal and Mark, and made in the UK., as well as product bought directly from other designers, and vintage items. Present and Correct has a distinctive visual vocabulary reflective of the owner’s taste. A graphic look, mixing new and old, that unifies everything, and which has generated a strong social media following for the brand. Vintage discoveries sell very well, sourced on frequent travels to various European markets, from collectors, and dead stock collections. Each month there are best sellers from newly stocked items, this month’s being a geometric scissor. They love their customers for their enthusiasm and support. Happy to serve a range of customers that include a lot of fellow designers and artists, a mix of people from teenagers to retired folk. As Neal comments, “Nice stationery is for everyone”.
A long-term obsession with stationery and office objects inspired by homework, the post office and school, inspired graphic designer, Neal to start Present & Correct. Prior to launching his own brand, he worked in a branding studio, his career also including stints in a frozen pea plant and a felt tip pen factory. A fan of mid-century architecture and graphics, old packaging, stamps, and school supplies, Neal gathers inspiration traveling and walking around. He likes to look for graphic elements in the mundane and overlooked. In the shop Neal enjoys arranging things, chatting to people, getting to produce limited quantities of his designs, knowing that there is somewhere to sell them. “It’s fun putting surprises in bags sometimes, or having competitions in the shop. I always wanted the shop to feel like a sweet store, with lots of tasty bits in it.” He likes to visit galleries, new shops and restaurants; Phils Stationery, Merci, D&Department, and Sublo36, being amongst his favorites. One day he would like to have a bigger shop to accommodate exhibitions, and dreams about a house near the sea, taking the Trans Siberian Railway, and taking a pastry course.
On the Future of Retail
“I definitely believe that people will always want to visit real shops over, or alongside, the internet. I can’t think of any type of product that doesn’t benefit from being felt in real life, we are tactile animals. When you visit any city shops are part of that experience and it’s so important that the shops reflect that place. London rents stifle small shops and interesting places. I think that’s the same in a lot of big cities. That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of great independent stores in London, you just have to hunt them down and go off the beaten track. And people are prepared to do this too, because it’s nice to find different things. For independent retail to survive I do wonder whether some kind of government scheme, in collaboration with landlords, would enable growth and greater diversity.”
23 Arlington Way, London
Photography by Anna Jacobsen – We are Here Now, and Courtesy of Present & Correct