Allison and Daniel Nadeau are one of those couples you can't help but be a little jealous of. They both ooze intelligence and creativity, and when they collaborate, you get a double-shot of talent. Daniel is a freelance interaction designer, while Allison is the crafty one — she co-hosted the Charleston Craft Bee back in June. Together, they're in the process of launching their own letterpress company, Ink Meets Paper Press.
The pair met in high school in Nashville and married soon after graduation. A few months later, they moved to Savannah for Daniel to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design. There he discovered the field of interaction design, which fuses artistic and technical knowledge to create a dialogue between a person and a product, service, or system.
"I've always had an arts background, but something that's been very strong for me is technology," he says. "When I got to SCAD, it was the first time I had heard about this field of design. It seems like such a beautiful marriage of the technological need with the very grounded understanding of traditional arts and layout techniques, how people visualize the world and see it."
After working a corporate job for a few years, Daniel started his own company, Modus.
"A lot of what I try to do is educate my clients on design methodology and how design can help them solve complex problems," he says.
While he was honing his skills at SCAD, Allison, then a high school English teacher, was by his side soaking it all in.
"I always tell people Allison went to SCAD with me," he laughs. "She's always had this interest in type, and that was really brought forth when I was taking classes at SCAD and she was looking at that."
Allison's fascination with typography encouraged them to start looking for a letterpress to buy, which turned out to be more difficult than they expected. Letterpresses are considered outdated by many modern companies — some are even throwing them away. They eventually found a 1920s Chandler & Price press in Jacksonville, Fla., and taught themselves how to use it. When they moved to Charleston in 2007, the press was housed in a neighbor's garage for a while until the Nadeaus built an addition onto their home for it. Allison took classes at Redux to further her knowledge. Now they're working on launching Ink Meets Paper Press together, though they have a few things left to figure out.
"We're still wrestling with these ideas of where we want to go," Daniel says. "Some artists get a computer, and they're really excited about it, the potential that it gives them. We have this press, and it's very inspirational to us. Allison has really gotten a fantastic understanding of printing with it."
At this point, they mainly design stationery, invitations for friends, and the occasional art print. They both have contemporary design aesthetics — Allison describes hers as eclectic, while Daniel is more mid-century and timeless modern.
Allison works full-time as an editor at Force Protection, and she loves how the letterpress combines her love of typography and art.
"Growing up, I would make everything. I would have scotch tape all over these craft projects and whatnot, but I loved to read," she says. "It always seemed like letterpress and stationery has been such a nice blend of a love of words and typography and also the handmade."
In addition to the letterpress, Allison still loves making crafts. At the inaugural Charleston Craft Bee, she taught attendees to make stencils, an origami mobile, and felt koozies from repurposed sweaters.
"I read a lot of blogs," she says of finding inspiration. "It's inspiring to see when other people are so creative and you can see such passion in them. Also I've just tried to slow down and take a look at the small things ... So often I feel like all I seem to do is stare at a piece of paper to edit or stare at a computer screen, and there's so much going on around us."
The Nadeaus are members of the newly formed North Charleston Arts Guild and a great example of the artistic community in Park Circle.
"We're really passionate about the Park Circle neighborhood and have found a really amazing burgeoning art community here," Daniel says. "We're really excited about the possibilities that are happening here in North Charleston."