Paperclip Paradise | Present & Correct in Arlington Way

For stationery nerds, walking into Present & Correct in Arlington Way is like dying and going straight to heaven.

Image: Delfonics wood pen “Not only do these look smart but they are the finest ballpoints to write with.”

For stationery nerds, walking into Present & Correct in Arlington Way is like dying and going straight to heaven. The vintage ephemera and crisp new paper products are discerningly sourced, neatly arranged and impossible to resist. Graphic designer and co-founder Neal Whittington tells Katie Treggiden about the shop’s ethos and picks his dream products for your desk…


Image: Wood desk caddy “An elegant wood and metal modern take on a tool box”

“I’ve always been obsessed with stationery. I used to get stationery for Christmas instead of toys. I started Present & Correct online in 2008 [with co-founder Mark Smith] as a place to sell my own work and some of the things I had collected. The shop happened by accident – I was looking for a studio. I love Clerkenwell, so when a little shop came up on Arlington Way for the same sort of money, I went for it. There are a lot of design firms around here and many of our customers are graphic designers and artists, so it suits us. The first day we opened the doors we were exhausted, but so happy to have done it. It was exciting and bewildering in equal measure.


Image: Hay boxes “I’m a box and container fiend so I love these boxes and their pastel palette.”

“We choose stock by gut instinct – if we like it, it’s in. We go on sourcing trips to big markets throughout Europe looking for vintage gems. A typical trip involves cheap flights, early starts and lots of walking. One year in France we found a whole stall selling old office supplies. It was really exciting! I want to own everything I buy for the shop, but these days my stationery habit is channeled through the shop. It’s a license to buy whatever I want. It’s just nice to be around lovely things all the time.


Image: Clockwise from top left: Spanish brush “A pleasingly chunky brush, which is great for desk dusting.” Colour block book end “I love all of Torafu Architects’ work. Not strictly stationery, but nice on a desk – they are very pretty.” Leather envelope “A permanent envelope you can use to carry things around” Index calendar “A nice way to look at index cards every day, since they are used less in the office these days.”

“As well as selling vintage stationery and products from other designers, we also design our own collections. Our work is always stationery that references stationery: notebooks with maths sets on, calendars in the style of index dividers, pencil cases made as leather envelopes. I’m inspired by old ephemera from schools and post offices, educational supplies, mid-century type and illustration, stamps and labels… If we have an idea that clicks, we’ll do it. We start by sketching and playing around with ideas on the computer, we test the water on social media, and then speak to our printers to make it happen.


Image: Paperclip chart “Because it is important to know the provenance of your clips.”

“The shop has always been an office too, so we fulfill website orders in the mornings and open the shop in the afternoons. We opened later over Christmas. It was really good fun – tiring, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We’ve got an overhaul of the website planned and want to launch more new products. Our plans for 2015 are to love stationery even harder!”

Present & Correct
23 Arlington Way, EC1R 1UY
Open 12-6.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday