We have recently starting stocking The School of Life stationery and homeware by Polite Company. They describe themselves as producing “lovely, lively, exciting, beautiful products” and have worked with “some of the worlds most interesting artist, designers, creative institutions and thinkers.” We decided to find out more about them and their beautiful products so spoke to owner, Jack Jackson.
Why did you start Polite?
Polite started as a bit of a fun project. I was working as a picture editor for an independent magazine at the time and I found myself meeting artists who wanted to share their work in new ways. At the same time I was learning a lot about distributing to retailers and the two things seemed fitted together perfectly and I began to publish their work.
How many people work at Polite?
We’re a small team of 5…with help from other companies for things like order shipping and production.
I’ve always worked with other creatives and everyone here has other projects on the go.
What sort of products do you make?
A lot of the products we make are driven by the artists or designers we collaborate with. With photographers and artists it’s often postcard box sets. But, we love materials, finding authentic manufacturers and generally making useful products that are appealing to the eye but are well made and interesting. Stationery is something we make a lot of because we love to buy it ourselves!
Tell us about the collaboration with The School of Life?
The School of Life collaboration came about because they were keen to make big ideas from their talks, and classes in to every day objects. The work they do has such great content that it easily translates into useful objects, for example: their workshop for better conversation led directly to the popular conversation toolkit.
We’ve recently been contacted by some great film companies and directors, and also lots of gallery spaces around the world with a view to developing projects. I love the idea of working with more inspiring institutions, companies and creative individuals.
Where are you based?
We’re in Manchester. It’s my home town and I’ve always had a base here.
What is your favourite thing about Manchester?
The culture and feeling of new development, as well as the rich history and heritage.
Which artists and designers do you have your eyes on at the moment?
I’d love to work on a project with Linder Sterling. And we’re big fans of Tom Pigeon here in the office.
What have you got coming up in 2016?
There’s a music theme: We’re really excited about a Durutti Column box set we’re making at the moment… and there are Manics and New Order boxes due this summer.
And finally, what is your pen of choice?
I use Staedtler pigment liner 0.2…
Take a look at the full School of Life range here.