graphic artists / designer & painter / notebook maker / old typography technique / collaboration with old printery 

Click ​here is to see their products

FEP -What are the roles of Nuno and Susana?
Serrote -We are the founders and the creators of all the projects. 

-Why is it “Serrote” not scissors or chainsaw?
-The chainsaw is a powerful tool but too big and noisy for ourselves. We have a saying here in Portugal, “It’s better to have a donkey to carry me than a horse to trample me”. The saw can transform a tree into a boat; or a plank for a chair. It will take more time, but in the end it will make better results. 

-What did you study at college or university?
-Nuno is a painter and Susana is a designer. Both graduated from Fine Art School in Lisbon. 

-What is your inspiration for your designs?
- Our main inspiration comes from the anonymous Portuguese graphic artists who used to design packaging for tuna fish, toothpaste, soap, candies, traffic signs and store fronts. We grew with those imagery. We are also very fond of comics and illustration. 

-Do you have an aim/dream with your project?
-We enjoy very much what we do. Our aim is to continue doing what we have been doing so far, and make a living of it. 

-How did you find the printery house?
-It was a difficult job to find the printery for our first notebook. We searched a lot in the remnant old printeries in Lisbon to finally find one that accept our challenge.  

-What did they make in the past at the printery house?
-They used to make invoices, company cards and other small printed work. 

-What was their (the printers) reaction when you asked them to make your notebooks?
-They told us “I have a better idea for you. Let’s print your work, but let’s use offset, its cheaper and nicer!” 

-Were they about to close the factory as well as others?
-They were open about 5 years more. But they are closed now.

 -What do you like about the letterpress and moveable types?
- Maybe a “timeless charm” is a good definition for it. We are now reusing old types, knowing they were already used in the past to print other projects, and they still can be used in the future.  

-What do you enjoy the most in the production?
-All the parts of the production are nice to deal with. We bought an old machine about two years ago that allows us to print our works. Nowadays, concerning to the letterpress projects, we do almost everything, from having the original idea, printing, folding, shipping and making the website, etc... We just have help in the binding and finishing steps. But having the original idea continues to be the most gratifying part. 

-What is most popular item?
-Our best seller is the tablecloth notebook. The cover is printed in letterpress and the inside is filled with paper tablecloth which is used at snack-bars and restaurants as a cheap substitute for fabric tablecloth. We made 6 versions of this notebook so far. 

-Where are you originally from? What do you like about your home towns?
-We are both from Lisbon. We like the architecture and the food, the proximity with the river and the beaches. 

-What do you like about Portugal?
-Like all the turists and foreigners who visit Portugal, we love the sun and the sea, the traditional food and the wine. Crossing the country from north to south is a great experience. It’s not a very long ride but you can enjoy extreme changes in landscapes, gastronomy, weather and the way of living. 

-What do you like to do in your time off?
-We try to do exactly the same as when we are working, because we have the chance to follow the teaching of the Chinese philosopher Confucius: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.

 -What’s your favourite portuguese dish? 
-Nuno likes the Portugueses Stew, where several meats and pork sausages are boiled together with vegetables and rice. Susana prefers grilled squids.

"Serrote" means a hand-saw and I didn't quite understand what's the reason behind the word but there was a Portuguese saying related to their theory in their projects. 

​Here are their stories.

They found an old printery in Lisbon who agreed to collaborate with them to make their notebooks using old printing technique and machines.

They use old letterpress technique and very interestingly, those movable letters were used to print official documents in the past.

This is one of the great things about Serrote's products, they create their own designs reusing those old letters and they look fantastic!

Serrote is run by a couple, Nuno Neves and Susana Vilela, both of them studied at the Fine Art University in Lisbon, and they make series of notebooks and have published some books too. I love their notebooks since when I saw them for the first time, and when I knew that they are made with old typography techniques, I became a fan of their products.

This is their old printing machine they bought 2 years ago. 

It's called Heidelberg Windmill made in Germany in 40's.
This press was and still is the worlds fastest printing press ever built. At full speed this press can print up to 60 pages a minute!