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Meet the Designer: The Shipping Press

Posted on Aug 21, 2015 by

To celebrate the publication of Warehouse Home Issue Two, we launched our debut design collection. The first Warehouse Home Capsule Collection was the result of close collaboration between our team and nine different British designers and brands. The exclusive range of furniture and accessories is only available via the Warehouse Home Shop.

This week we talk to Jack Black, founder of The Shipping Press, an unconventional studio housed in a converted shipping container in a south-east London boatyard.

Warehouse Home capsule collection exclusive furniture and accessory designs

The debut Warehouse Home Capsule Collection
Photography by Sun Lee | Styling by Zoe Brewer

1. What inspired your shipping container prints for Warehouse Home?
The design first came about from an earlier screenprinted postcard based on ‘Container City’ at Trinity Buoy, London. I did a series of alternative architectural illustrations and then screen prints. The Warehouse Home team contacted us and asked if we could create a set of bespoke prints based on containers and industrial living. It felt natural to bring the containers and bold graphic illustrations together.

The Shipping Press team at work on the prints for the Capsule Collection!

The Shipping Press team at work on the prints for the Warehouse Home Capsule Collection!
Image courtesy of

2. Have you always been a designer? 
I trained as a graphic designer in the late 80’s and have been designing and teaching ever since. My work has changed from commercial designing for brands, packaging etc to more graphic illustration and traditional printmaking. I have always made things and have designed and made stained glass, ceramics and prints as well as graphic design commissions. I see design as part of my life, not just a job. It feeds me and I have a constant desire to create and make.

The Shipping Press' work in progress prints hanging up to dry in their converted container studio

Prints hanging up to dry in The Shipping Press’ converted container studio!

3. Which designers inspire you the most?
Today we are swamped by so many designers and visual references but I find I am usually drawn to people using craft, processes and traditional methods in their work. My printmaking goddess is Corita Kent, a 1960’s nun who was prolific in bold graphic screen prints. Her work uses type and bold shapes, often with a strong message.

The Shipping Press use traditional methods to create their work, like vintage letters and letter trays

Vintage letterpress tray found in The Shipping Press’ studio
Image courtesy of

4. Which of your own designs or projects has been your favourite? 
In my work I never plan too tightly unless it’s a client brief. For my own self-initiated work, I try to work organically, allowing each stage, layer or method to lead the other. Working that way, I can make modifications, allow happy accidents or abandon the idea or design at any step. I’ve been merging screenprinting and letterpress together and, although this brings challenges, I find the processes bring about really interesting results. I recently finished a limited edition series of 8 prints all screen printed using only paper stencils. The design was based on abstract memories of landscapes, ‘Torn Landscapes’. I’m happy with the outcomes as they are a slight departure from bold colours and graphics shapes.
Another project I have been satisfied with is a research project I undertook, exploring the riverbanks and documenting the findings over a 6 month period. I created limited edition hardback books detailing the journey and findings.

The view from The Shipping Press' studio in South East London, overlooking Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs

The view of the boatyard and, across the water, Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs from The Shipping Press’ studio
Image courtesy of

5. What does the future hold for The Shipping Press?
That all depends on what comes our way. I enjoy the unexpected and look forward to new contacts and commissions. We’re working towards the generation of a couple of new projects as we’re taking part in Plymouths ‘counter 2015′ book arts and print event in October 2015. I hope to also use the proofing press we brought earlier this year and create more abstract letterpress work. I know we will continue to make work that is inspired and driven by our environment or experiences.

An artist's, The Shipping Press, studio located in a converted shipping container

The Shipping Press’ studio is unconventionally placed in a converted shipping container!
Image courtesy of

Thank you to Jack for taking the time to talk to us.

Don’t forget to take a look at The Shipping Press’ Limited Edition Prints for the Capsule Collection in the Warehouse Home Shop.

The Shipping Press Limited Edition Prints for Warehouse Home

The Shipping Press Limited Edition Prints for Warehouse Home

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