The Completist never disappoints when they hit the Papersmiths shelves. Founded by husband-and-wife duo Marko and Jana. Their bold and colorful designs have captured the hearts of stationery lovers everywhere. From notebooks and planners to greeting cards and gift wrap, The Completist has a product to love for every occasion.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Jana to chat about the origins of The Completist, the creative process behind their designs, and what sets them apart in the competitive world of stationery.
How long have you been creating and designing for The Completist? Where did it all begin?
We started The Completist in January 2018, but it began in a sense long before that. Pre-paper world, I worked in fashion, and had been posting my fashion illustrations for a few years. I kind of started the brand by selling these as prints, but as soon as I started branching into the type of colourful prints we’re known for, things really took off and I knew we were onto something.
When did you know you wanted to work in print?
When I started creating small printed swatches and getting a really good response to them! I didn’t really think too much of them, but other people loved them and it’s something that just came naturally to me to create, so that was the ‘ah ha’ moment, in a way.
What was your WOW moment? Did you have a big job that resonates with you as being the one that made you think - I can do this! Or was it a gradual road to success?
A bit of both! I suppose the first WOW would be getting the attention of the buyers from Selfridges at our first trade show, and eventually getting stocked in there. Very much a dream scenario! But it’s also been gradual - we are approached by stores we love every week, that we could only dream of working with at the beginning, and it all just kind of snowballs along. It took a lot of hard work and patience though, it still does!
What inspires your designs?
It really depends! I’m always on the lookout for little bits of things that inspire me - it could be a small vignette of a stool on a printed rug that makes some nice shapes. It could be the corner of an artwork. It could be (and is) the latest Dries Van Noten fashion show. I’m open to inspiration coming from anywhere at any time, so I’m always taking photos and have a very big library. You just never know what small part of an image is going to spark something.
How do you get in the flow for your creative process?
I start by just collecting up every single image that inspires me - I try not to think about it too much, I just gather them all up in a big stack, and then slowly start sticking them together in ‘stories’ in my sketchbooks to create a sense of where I’m trying to go.
What’s the process for you when it comes to creating your designs? Can you share the process from the start of an idea to the finished product?
A lot of the time I will start with black paint and basically just start painting in my sketchbooks - squiggles or flowers or whatever really. Sometimes I get really back to my childhood and find things like sponges and muslin that might make interesting textures. Then I might just put them straight into Illustrator and start playing around with them as shapes, or I might take the textures, cut them up or fold and then assemble them into shapes. A lot of the time it’s a very tactile, creative process, and I never really know what’s going to come of it.
What's in the pipeline for you? Do you have any big exciting projects that you’d like to share?
We’re currently working on our new collection, which means new designs and some new products! There’s some things we’ve wanted to do for a very long time that I think we’re finally going to get to this year, but you’ll just have to wait to see them!
I’d love to know which one is your favourite design from the past and present combined. Do you have a preference, and if so, what makes you favour a design over another?
This is like asking me to choose a favourite one of my cats! It honestly really depends on the day, but today I’d say probably Labyrinth and Stockholm. Labyrinth because it’s just so good with some of our colour combos, and Stockholm because it really works with some colour combos that we don’t normally do, but somehow still end up being very us.
Keen to shop more of The Completists designs? You can shop the full collection on our website here
You can find them on Instagram at @TheCompletist
Or visit their website at - https://www.the-completist.com/
Studio photography by : Gemma Wood Photography | @gemmaproductphotographer
The Completist Brand Shoot Photography: Chloe Williams | @storiesbychloe