One must always toil, in order to tinker. Granted that in this instance to toil is to work hard and to tinker is to play – “two very important notions to what we do here,” states founder Paul Green – Toil & Tinker is your go-to creative hub for all things print and design. What initially started as an expert in-house design team for all your branding, illustration and type concepts, has branched out into a space that can accommodate all things design. From events and workshops to affordable art fairs, Dubai-based Toil & Tinker aims to be the place that can start the love affair between you and the art of print.
“We want to create a community of print enthusiasts!” Paul exclaims, “I’d like to think we are all print enthusiasts at heart – but it’s the ones that appreciate the process of the work, from start to finish, who truly are enthusiasts.” Never ones to pin digital against print, Toil & Tinker believe there’s room in the world for both mediums to grow and thrive. Yet the thing with print is its tangibility, as Paul put it, “ [print has] that smell, the texture and depth that you can never achieve digitally.” As a community, Toil & Tinker is a haven for those in need of a cup of coffee while getting their geek-on over what makes paper and print great. The relationship between shop and customer is blurred when everyone is passionate about the same thing, it all adds to the hub’s personality.
Offering free Internet, and Dubai’s homegrown Seven Fortunes fueling all T&Ters with much needed caffeine, Toil & Tinker have proven that they’re a place to work, play and learn. According to Paul, a typical day at Toil & Tinker involves “Designing, printing, socializing, learning and drinking lots of coffee!” More than just a hub, Toil & Tinker also have a retail section! Creating their own designs as prints, totes and other merchandise is one of the many things they sell there. They also collaborate with people that inspire them – “whether that’s Nobrow Publishing from the UK who supply us with their beautiful books for our retail shop, or local designers such as Khalid Mezaina who we plan to sell prints and notepads with – it’s an eclectic mix and we’re really proud of that.” Their retail space is curated brilliantly and is definitely worth checking out.
Inspiration is key for Toil & Tinker. With regularly occurring events and workshops, they bring print enthusiasts together to learn, show, and sell the pieces they create! Catering to everyone, Toil & Tinker won’t judge those that lack interest in print, they embrace them and let them do their thing. “There’s no snobbery here, we like to think of ourselves as the peoples print shop,” Paul laughed. Not only do Toil & Tinker offer workshops and events, they will also soon be offering certifications. Great news for all aspiring printers out there. With their very own Print Club in the works, T&Ters can join in the fun. Gaining a certification with Toil & Tinker will offer you the opportunity to hang out and watch the process, and utilize their facilities upon subscription. “The T&T Print Club is currently in the works which will give members the ability to come in, use our facilities and print their own work once being trained on how to use the equipment,” Paul explained, “It’ll be a great way to hone in the print community here in Dubai and encourage up and coming designers, illustrators and print makers to have the skill of doing it themselves.”
A young enterprise, they’ve only been around for two years in Dubai, but expanding workshops into Kuwait and the rest of the region is definitely a possibility for them. That said, as they continue to grow and evolve, their exploration within the region will follow and they’re excited to see where the future takes them. Ever sharing their love of print and design, Toil & Tinker has made it to the top of our Dubai excursion list.
The services offered at Toil & Tinker delivers the team infinite possibilities. According to Paul, “The more paper we print, the more people we meet, the more equipment we get in.” Everything is connected – from their services to their retail space. Always open to learning new things, Toil & Tinker don’t shy away from knowledge, they relish it. Knowing that the more they learn the better they can serve their clientele, the opportunity to flourish and stand out is what keeps them going. So naturally, targeting start-ups and small business is what they love most – “We feel like we offer them a great and personal service.” With Dubai and UAE’s rapidly growing market for food trucks, small cafes and bistros, Toil & Tinker help them find the branding they require with lots of love and support.
When asked what’s next for them, Paul simply reinforced the Print Club in motion and added, “We’ve also got lots of new equipment planned to come in this year so keep your eyes peeled!” And that is something we will definitely be doing – as well as hoping they come to Kuwait soon! Print on and prosper Toil & Tinker, for you are truly there to remind people that print will never die.
What are you waiting for? Follow Toil & Tinker on Facebook and Instagram @toilandtinker for more information. And if you’re ever in Dubai, be sure to drop by to check out their awesome space in person. All photos provided are courtesy of Carl from Zebra Photography.