George Frederick Smith, commercial traveller, entrepreneur and devotee of fine stationery, founded the company in 1885, setting up offices in London and Hull. With his son Thomas Brooks Smith by his side, George Frederick ventured around the world in search of the finest papers, determined to turn his company into the one of the most celebrated suppliers in the United Kingdom.
Today, G . F Smith is precisely that, and more. It is a company built on the principles of its founder: nurturing remarkable people, building loyal, long-lasting relationships and cultivating a desire to search out and bring the very best to the marketplace.
In the century that followed its founding, G . F Smith became recognised as one of the great innovators in paper, and is established as the supplier of choice for creative and design industries in Britain and beyond.
Colorplan – G . F Smith’s pioneering range of coloured papers – has been an iconic and indispensable resource for designers since it was launched in 1972, creating unprecedented possibilities in printed design for a generation of graphic designers. Having set a new standard of colour sophistication and subtle texture, Colorplan has continued to evolve in the decades since – its range has never been as comprehensive or more ideally suited to meet the demands of the modern creative as it is today.
But despite the company’s ongoing march of innovation and ever-expanding collection of papers, G . F Smith still thinks small. Although visitors to its Hull factory are met by an impressive array of sophisticated machinery (making possible complex effects such as embossing and duplexing), much of G . F Smith’s work – from sourcing papers to stitching spines – is still done by hand and in person, just as it was in George Frederick’s day.