Words by: Marta Verdes
Images: Chris Holden

A new and more sustainable packaging for our AJOTO range

When we launched the first version of our packaging nearly nine years ago, our aim was to inspire through action, by challenging the perceptions around luxury and packaging. We sought to do away with the unimaginative and archaic plastic jewellery boxes with polyester faux silk that dominated the stationery world and take a different direction. Our approach was to combine sustainable materials and processes with thoughtful design to create beautiful yet practical pieces of packaging that had an amazing opening experience.

It’s safe to say that since we launched the Pen in 2012 our approach to packaging has been a source of inspiration for many others. Combining overlooked materials such as waste cork, recycled aluminium and using non-standard production techniques. The array of similar-looking designs that can be seen today are proof that we managed to achieve something very special.

Over the years, we have listened to the feedback of our customers that have challenged us to take our ideas even further and make our packaging even more practical and engaging. Now with the launch of our completely overhauled packaging, we wanted to share a little more about why and how we made these changes.

Firstly we are constantly assessing the three R’s; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Making any significant change comes at a high cost, especially for a small company as it requires lots of new tooling, time and risk. Yep, every time we attempt something new there is always something that doesn’t go according to plan.

Over the years these changes have been subtle and focused on material finishes and print techniques. However, we felt that we had reached a point where we could make a significant change that would form a new direction for the wider range of products we planned to launch.

Our plan was to focus on three areas;

1    Minimise excess by removing all of the elements that no longer offered practical value.

2    Enhance sustainability through thoughtful design and careful selection and consideration of materials and processes.


3    Create a new look and feel across our entire packaging that highlights the simplicity and beauty of the tool that we make.

For the Pen, our focus was on redesigning the cork box and making it more of a product. Why? Well, firstly cork is a natural, rapidly renewable material that is biodegradable and recyclable. It is light, anti-bacterial and very resilient. All these attributes make cork the perfect material for protecting your pen during the transit. Secondly, we wanted to make the cork more than a box and make it something you’d want to keep and use. So by introducing additional elements into the mould the box can be turned over once opened to form a Pen rest that would sit beautifully on any desk or table. By working with Sara from the cork moulding specialists in Porto, Portugal, we managed to achieve this.

For all of the other elements, we focused our attention on paper and print. Up until this point, we have been using a mixture of paper stocks finished using foil. For us, this approach has had its time, and we wanted to utilize a technique that was more environmentally sustainable yet looked and felt fantastic. For this, we indulged in the world of letterpress and blind embossing. Working with Mark, a legend of the letterpress world based in North Wales and Paper from the famous Gmund paper mill in Germany. We have created a packaging that brings together precision and craft in equal measures. It’s a simple step but the combination of smooth light grey paper stock and crisp black letterpress is a timeless combination that looks incredible.

It’s taken two years to get to this point and we are extremely happy with the result. We are always looking to find the beauty in simplicity and this journey of refinement, stripping things down and eliminating excess has been very rewarding.

We hope you find this new evolution of our packaging refreshing and can feel our passion and care as you open the box. Enjoy your new AJOTO pen and we look forward to seeing how you make your mark.

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