'the life of a textile and surface pattern designer'

Posts tagged “inspiration

Rockin’ my world…

So many things rocking my world right now and this final design in one of them…
11cfinalmarkedLove the flow of this one!

Other things rocking my world right now?


–  The landscaped knit dress (above) from Missoni’s Summer 2013 collection.

– Eyeshadow palettes… urban decay, lancome & benefit are doing it for me BIGTIME!

– Sophia Webster & Nicholas Kirkwood Shoes..amazing!




Whoever thought that a family outing to Lyme Regis, a small coastal town in West Dorset, little more than twenty miles from our home would be so inspiring!


I am really loving the pastel colours that were so evident within the town and thats from ME…. a girl rarely inspired by muted colours.


But don’t they look oh so gorgeous?! Thinking this may well be the inspiration behind the new brief that I start today.


Not only were the colours more inspiring than I could ever remember but there were lots of interesting shapes around too…


Aren’t these just so much better than ‘normal’ street lights!


Spotted: Gorgeous Everyday Design…

People are sometimes confused at what I do, but surface design really is just everywhere! Yesterday, we were wandering around the supermarket doing our BIG shop and I spotted the most am.a.zing drinks bottle ever. (If anyone knows the designer, let me know as I’d love to see more of their work!)


How gorgeous is that beautiful design…the illustration is so soft and in such yummy colours! I really couldn’t resist buying this fabulous bottle and I am so glad I did because the drink inside is really delicious. Even better, I notice that some of the proceeds from each sale goes to Breakthrough Breast Cancer. Win…win (and a perfect example of surface design!)

Company in Focus : Marimekko

During research for my first project, I started reading the wonderful book, ‘Textile Designers at the Cutting Edge’ as a source of inspiration.

I loved reading the ‘stories’ and profiles of each designer within this book and it was here that I originally stumbled upon the Finnish designer Maija Louekari.

An interior design graduate with a talent for drawing, I adore her organic abstract style which is often complemented by vibrant colour schemes and expressive motifs. Much of Maija’s inspiration comes from observations of her surroundings. For instance, she finds Cities and their multi-layered dimensions, from people to architecture, absolutely fascinating.

Screen Shot 2013-01-07 at 13.42.17

It was through Maija, that I then found the Finnish company ‘Marimekko’. Oh my, I have absolutely fallen in love with this vibrant design store. So many delicious products AND a fascinating history which has impacted the design market dramatically.

Siirtolapuutarha mug by Maija Louekari for Marimekko.

Siirtolapuutarha mug by Maija Louekari for Marimekko.

Marimekko cleverly continue to allow their business to grow by letting their designers create ideas that they are passionate about, rather than what they are told. They are encouraged to keep their work loose and free, pushing boundaries without restriction. Designs are rarely planned and are often spontaneous, growing organically, telling a story. This approach continually keeps the designs fresh and ahead of their time, rather than merely following others.

Klapi Cotton Fabric by Jenni Rope for Marimekko

Klapi Cotton Fabric by Jenni Rope for Marimekko

It is the passion of the designers that really keep this company alive. Marimekko wants to set them free and to be emotionally inspired, expressing their individuality just like there target customers, who they were to give an “…authentic taste of life…” (Marimekko Yearbook 2011) It is this supportive ethos and energetic way of working that would really make Marimekko one of my top companies to work for, they really have thought of every aspect from a designers point of view.

Mini-Unikko Coin Purse by Maija Isola for Marimekko

Mini-Unikko Coin Purse by Maija Isola for Marimekko

For instance, even though their core business is through great design, Marimekko believe that manufacturing of the products go hand in hand. Therefore in 2011, they expanded their large manufacturing facilities even further. The manufacturing center is nearby to their design hub, so that the designer is able to oversee each of their projects through from start to finish ensuring it stays true to the design.

Kalku Mug by Sami Ruotsalainen for Marimekko

Kalku Mug by Sami Ruotsalainen for Marimekko

With such a strong spirit and original approach, working together as one team to facilitate a unique and creative atmosphere, I am feeling so inspired by Marimekko and can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.  Their designs are always so bold, experimental and dare I say it maybe even a little ahead of their time.  Each design has been created from the soul and (from my background reading) I get a great sense that each design has been created from the heart even if sometimes this can be an emotional experience.

Outside the box

As a designer, you have to go with your instinct and stay true to the project you are working on. For every decision you make, there is no right or wrong but  the most important part is to just make a decision and go with it. 


For my recent Urban Line collection, I had to create a content board. Content boards are similar to a mood board in that it is a board (often A3) that captures the essence of the content. You should use both secondary and primary images to help convey this. It should be a little ‘window’ or (taster) into the ideas behind your collection and a great source of inspiration. Generally these boards would be flat (with maybe a little texture), however whilst creating the content board for ‘Urban Line’, I had a great urge, as a designer, to bring it off the page and to really give the viewer the idea of the large amounts of construction within the city. This led to the creation of a 3D board…very similar to that of a shadow box.


I have really thought outside the box (haha no pun intended!) with this handcrafted ‘content board’. It was a risky idea, but one which as a designer I fully back as I feel this is much truer to the essence and nature of my project than an almost flat piece of paper. I have yet to have feedback on this ‘board’ and it could go either way, but I’m really hoping they love it as much as I do, although I am prepared that I may be told that on this occasion I have pushed the boundaries a little too far (is that possible as a designer?! is that not perhaps our objective?!) .


We shall see!

Big Love…Concetto Gallo for Habitat

A real quick post as I should be working on my deadline that is next week, but I just popped into ‘Homebase‘, which houses a selection of ‘Habitat‘ products and I saw this wonderful collection by Concetta Gallo.

Concetta Gallo Teapot from Habitat

Concetta Gallo Teapot from Habitat

I literally had to stop myself from buying it all!

Concetto Gallo Cushion from Habitat

Concetto Gallo Cushion from Habitat

It’s so eclectic (which co-incidentally as a designer, I was recently described as been..perhaps that’s why I was so drawn to it) and I really wish I had designed it! I quickly googled Concetta Gallo, when I got home and found this inspiring YouTube Video on the designer alongside a sclupurist/designer Kathy. It’s literally 6mins long (and probably the best 6mins of my day so far!)

Go watch it now….



So, today was largely spent whittling down those photos to 244! Followed by lots of sketching and researching all the inspirational things I discovered over the weekend.Where do I start…so much to show you and I was only there for little over 29hrs!

We stayed at a pub in Wembley and although I’ve driven through I’ve never actually stopped and explored wembley before. So, we decided to have a little wander around on our arrival before heading over to Camden. Our accommodation was very close to the stadium and  the stadium in itself was just full of inspiration, so many curves and lines all the right places.

Just look at this wonderful lettering I found just day the hill.

Fabulous shapes!

Lines EVERYWHERE within the city….

We then took the long tube ride over to the treasure of Camden…a place I’d never yet made it to…but wow, we were in our element, the place was full of atmosphere and individualism, a unique hub of London.

Totally inspired by this place and the mass of people within, so many cultures and ideas brought together in one place.

I really couldn’t have spent a day in a better place. It was buzzing. After a while of exploring, we had the most a.mazin.g starbucks by the canel and it was getting late so we decided to head towards the tube. As we were coming out of starbucks, we spotted a band that was setting up earliar, playing on the side, with a crowd gathered round. This encompassed everything I love about London!

We got back to the tube, but you what…we were enjoying the ambiance of Camden so much we decided to just keep on walking. Exploring the streets ahead and seeking more inspiration on our adventure.

Just LOVE the boldness of that ‘Madness’ poster. Look at all those people…on a sunday evening…where we live you wouldn’t probably even pass this many of a Saturday!

After walking on, we ended up at Mornington Tube, where we looked at the map and ended up heading towards Covent Gardens and Leicester Square. If we thought Camden was busy, that was nothing….

We have both been to central London many a times, so we wandered around for a while absorbing the city, but we did have an ulterior motive in finding some food! We found a lovely traditional pub in Covent Garden with proper ‘homecooked’ food (I really wanted the lasange) but for one reason or another when we went to order they weren’t serving. Gutted wasn’t the word! As we aimlessly left, we passed a couple of ‘Leon’ restaurants, which been his namesake, Hubby was eager to go in! The menu was on my favorite kraft paper and there was a strong history to the brand with many old photographs displayed on the wall of ‘Leon’s’ childhood. Kept him happy!

After our food we were pretty knackered so we headed back to Wembly on the tube….even just walking through Wembly was busy, busy, busy.

The next morning, we headed back East to try and find Brick Lane. To save us changing tubes so many times, I decided we would get off a couple of stops away…DISASTER! We had no clue which way we were going or where we were. Typically the direction I *thought* we were going was the wrong way! But on the upside, we stumbled upon a paperchase. Anyone that knows me KNOWS how much I LOVE paperchase! I could spend (actually I think I probably do) hours and hours wandering around, ‘stroking’ all the gorgeous products!

We passed lots of fantastic architecture..a real mix with the area incorporating many old structures been surrounded by  new building sites

Again, just like the day before lines and geometric shapes featured heavily in the designs.

LOVE how many of these pictures have leaves and organic elements creeping into the viewfinder. This photo is a perfect example of that.

After wandering for a little longer, we finally realised that we both have smartphones with sat nav apps…why didn’t we use that in the first place to find our way. We found brick lane but I must admit after our challenge in finding it I was dissapointed at the quantity of street art. I had a preconception from the hype that is Brick Lane, that the place was filled head to toe with art, but this sadly was not the case. The Street Art we saw was amazing, really wonderful and as a viewer does make you intrigue and wondering what each image stands for, however selfishly,I just wanted more!

We had just a few precious hours left before we had to head back home to reality, so we decided to hop into the centre one last time on our way back to Wembly. We got off at Charing Cross and exited along the embankment. Bea.uti.ful.

(and theres those leaves creeping in with the geometric shapes again!)

For lunch we tried out Nando’s (I swear I came back with my trousers feeling much tighter than before we went!) and  totally fell in love with their interior design.

Sure they thought I was some mad woman snapping away, but all the wonderful design in there and the art on the walls was just so inspirational.

As always, I totally wanted to stay…so many places to go…so much to do….but hubby was having none of it..though I know we’ll be back very soon.

P.S – that’s not bad going from over 1000 photos to 244 to just 27 in this post!