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Lokal Maker - Paperweight KL

Paperweight Studio only consists of designers duo, Syarifah Nadhirah and Alani Iman and they both handle the marketing, finance and product designs for their own studio. They also do their own product photoshoot and manage their own clients.

Paperweight Studio is a design company founded by designer duo, Syarifah Nadhirah and Alani Iman back in 2017. They are visual designers with great interests in translating their ideas into an assortment of stationery and lifestyle products, often portraying local Malaysian plants & vibrant cultural elements. Paperweight Studio also offers design and printing services for branding, corporate identity, packaging. Today, we had the chance to talk with Syarifah - one of the founders of Paperweight Studio.

If there is one word to describe Paperweight Studio, what would it be and why?

Bespoke! Everything that we come up with is solely from our creative process and we emphasise on producing only original designs that are distinct in their own way. With Paperweight Studio, we wanted to convey our love for uncommon elements that are rarely portrayed in design. 

Hence, we produced works that were inspired by Malaysia's botanical and cultural history, such as incorporating local Indigenous flowers, unique cultural textile patterns and decorative architectural motifs. Malaysia is a melting pot of different cultures and is so rich in biodiversity. It would be a shame to not amplify and illustrate the most unusual ones. 


How did the idea of ‘Paperweight Studio’ come about?

In 2017, we were both juggling our 9-5 jobs and collaborating at the side to sell Raya money packets which received a great amount of attention (both online and offline). From there, we started dabbling with local printers and suppliers to learn every nook and cranny about producing our own stationery line. We had always wanted to stand on our own two feet in the world of design and business and we decided to go with the idea of setting up our own practice. 


Paperweight Studio symbolises our tireless efforts and pure joy in creating our own startup, solidifying our values as designers and artists and it marks the dawn of something that is special for us. Up until today, we are very happy with the process and we continue to come up with timeless and beautiful designs for everyone to enjoy. 


What is your favourite part about managing the brand?

There is something fulfilling and euphoric when pursuing your passion and moulding your own craft, despite how challenging the journey can be. To us, it was always about delivering our best in projects of any scale and keeping ourselves grounded with utmost humility and honesty in our work. 

We constantly exchange ideas with each other and develop concepts that allow us to inject a hint of locality and nostalgia. Nothing beats the joy of having our work recognised and appreciated all together along with gaining loyal customers and clients that have become our good friends and core support. 

There is something fulfilling and euphoric when pursuing your passion and moulding your own craft, despite how challenging the journey can be.


What was an unexpected lesson you learned from running your brand?

To stay grounded and truthful in our process no matter how challenging the work may be. We had trouble saying no to certain clients who gave us red flags in the beginning of the process. 


I would say that everything that we have come across in our journey - be it good or bad - has ultimately shaped and equipped ourselves better for the future. Clearly, we had no clue when we first started but we eventually learned how small businesses work and not many know how mentally taxing and back-breaking it can be at times since you have to do everything on your own. To that, we are grateful for the support and love we get from our great clients, customers and all around amazing like-minded people.


In your opinion, what was the best project you worked on?

An angpau project for our returning client for Raya 2020. Since they understand our level of expertise and the work that we do, they gave us the creative freedom to explore the themes, paper material and exclusive finishings for this year. In terms of the product’s visual, it was special to us as the end product turned out like how we wanted and we were really satisfied with the end results. Major props to our local printer for hitting it out of the park.


What do you hope to achieve with your brand? 

The goal is to grow bigger and expand in our line of products and bring them on an international scale. We would also like to practice sustainability on a larger scale - be it in packaging design or sourcing recycled paper materials for our newer products. Since it is a small business, we try to not bite more than we can chew. However, the future remains exciting and we look forward to working with more great people who believe in the same values as we do.


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