Rockstar designers share the objects that made them

Sidonie Warren

(Image credit: Sidonie Warren)

Sidonie Warren is one half of the duo behind Papersmiths, the UK-based one-stop shop for contemporary stationery and paper goods. Moving their design studio from Bridgeport to Bristol in 2013, they transformed a small space to house their design studio and first shop, celebrating design-led goods that inspired their own day-to-day creative endeavours. By 2014, the studio team had outgrown the space and the shop was getting busier. They moved to a four-storey Georgian building in Clifton Village and Papersmiths was born. The company now has locations in Brighton, Chelsea, King’s Cross and Shoreditch.

(Image credit: Sidonie Warren)

Colorplan notebook

“I was given this by GF Smith because we often work on client projects with Colorplan papers. It was designed by Made Thought as part of the Colorplan rebrand,” says Sidonie Warren. “ I was given it around 2014 but I didn’t allow myself to write in it until 2016. I use notebooks as an aide-mémoire and also to process, develop and record my thoughts. This one is made of the full rainbow of GF Smiths’ Colorplan papers and assembled using Coptic stitch binding with a multicoloured thread. It is an object of beauty. 

I chose this particular notebook because it documents the time that I began journaling again as an adult. I was experiencing big change: going through a breakup, considering whether to open a second Papersmiths shop and thinking about moving to London. It’s a treasure trove of my grand schemes, philosophical ponderings and consequential ah-ha moments, all recorded in words and pictures. There’s the essential dose of cringe too of course, but nobody will ever see that.”

(Image credit: Sidonie Warren)

Minerals, crystals and stones

“I collect stones and crystals. Over the years friends have given me stones as gifts and these are some of them. They were given to me at significant times in my life by people who are important to me, so they’re very precious. The salt rocks were brought back from Timbuktu by a friend. The round stone is from a pal who was working in the Pacific Northwest, a place that I want to visit someday. Each one feels symbolic of times of change and learning. I’m connected to stones on a spiritual level, too. I’m interested in the esoteric and I’m learning about ancient spiritual practices with different teachers. I find it all fascinating.”

(Image credit: Sidonie Warren)

Harvest by Neil Young

“My dad generously gave me a good cut of his record collection. This record was in there. Dad bought it when it came out in 1972, so it’s 47 years old. He would have been 16 years old and living in Hong Kong at the time.

"My dad has been my biggest musical influence. When I got into Nofx and [Spunge] as a teenager, he handed me London Calling by The Clash. Neil Young holds particular significance for me. Although not on this record, After the Goldrush is the song that my sisters, cousins and I sang together at my granny’s funeral. Years later, I was at the Isle of Wight festival with my dad and After the Goldrush was put on in between acts. It was a moment of bittersweet bonding. 

I love the ceremony of putting on a record, listening to an album from start to finish, poring over the artwork and lyrics, lying on the floor, getting lost in the sound.”

(Image credit: Sidonie Warren)


“The pastels were a gift from my mum. I was drawing with her pastels all the time so she marched me down to the local art supply shop and sorted me out with a set. Then we sat in the garden and drew pictures. I find mark-making, with pastel in particular, to be very cathartic. The versatility of the medium and the process of application is therapeutic. I can glide the pastel smoothly across the page or make vigorous, dynamic strokes depending on how I’m feeling. I’d say it’s a healthy way to release emotions!”

Next page: Dong-Ping Wong and Jon Cockley

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Founder & director of Inkygoodness, Lisa is a published writer and arts journalist, focusing on creative business, graphic art and illustration and design education. Her words have appeared in Computer Arts magazine, Creative Bloq, Digital Arts and IdN.