Monday, 11 May 2015


In this project my main aim was to finish off the work I began in the last unit, and to prepare myself for beginning my career after university. To achieve this I wanted to finish my three main collections, but I also wanted to allow time to take on extra projects to build my portfolio and prove that I am a versatile designer. I also intended to develop my brand and prepare the beginnings of a business that I can kick-start after I graduate.

The biggest challenge I have faced in this project is managing my time. I have reached the stage where I have all the skills to do all the things I want to achieve, but this means I often take on every project that comes my way, which leads to me trying to juggle multiple projects at once. This challenge has however taught me a lesson as I have come to realise that as good as I may think I am, there is only so much time in each day and I need to manage my time to make sure I spend enough time on each project, and to complete it to a high enough standard.

I am really proud of the amount of work I have managed to produce over the past few months. In the earlier stages of the project I took on a lot of external projects, but I have always felt it is important to push myself as much as possible. Designing my large-scale piece for the Tatton Park exhibition was a great challenge and even though it took up a lot more time that I had planned, I feel it really paid off. Even though the exhibition was separate from my main project, I feel it has had an effect on my work as the experimentation I did with scale has in turn influenced my other design work.

I have had great experiences of collaborating with people in this unit, from working with Zach to build his new magazine empire, to learning the reality of working on a project and not getting selected after working with Ailsa. I have come to realise that even though it is important to be self sufficient and independent, its even more important to make the most of your contacts, as networking has led to some really exciting opportunities this year that have had a big impact on my work. For instance, repeatedly designing for the Patternmash project got me noticed by Hannah Kirkbride who runs the site, and I can now count her as a valuable contact.

I feel like my efforts of doing all this extra work are finally beginning to pay off, as I was selected for New Designers in London, and I have also been put forward by my tutors for Texprint. Both of these are big opportunities which could further my career and would give me the chance to show my work to wider audiences.

In the last project I worked really hard to develop a strong concept, but this sometimes left my print design lacking as I was too busy thinking about the ‘idea’ behind everything. This time around I feel I have made stronger decisions about design, worked harder with my layouts and really considered what it is the customer wants and what would make my work saleable. I’m particularly proud of my scarf designs as I have put a long amount of time and effort into each design, but I feel it shows and makes a covetable, exciting product that I could easily sell post university.

My next aim between now and the project hand in will be to finish my visualisations and lookbook to go alongside my design work, and to finish them to the same high standard I have created all my other work to.

I decided in the end that it was best to keep my online shop and personal portfolio separate as they are both selling different aspects of my work. I feel I have learnt the importance of getting your work out there and not being afraid to show it to anyone and everyone, as you never know where the next opportunity with crop up. Having my Instagram page and Patternmash profile has been great for getting across to people what my work is about and showing myself to be a versatile designer. Even though I am currently looking for design jobs, I know that freelance design is also an option, so I have made sure that my portfolio is broad and shows off my variety of skills so that I am not just pigeonholed as a print designer for fashion.  

Business and branding

Final logo

Throughout the project I have been thinking about where my work will go next after I have graduated, so I have taken the time to really consider my branding as I wanted to create something that I would be happy to use after university. I spent quite a long time perfecting my logo as I want it to look modern but also reflect the ornate and often historic nature of my work. I am so pleased with the final design and have already begun to order stickers that can be used as part of the branding and packaging of my scarves. I have also been doing lots of research about packing, boxes and labelling to reflect the luxuriousness of the product and make the customer feel like they are buying into something special. I rather like the idea of having swing tags or cards to go with each scarf to explain the concept and context behind each design, as each one has a story which adds to the visual interest of the scarf.  

Section of my Instagram page

The next task in branding my work will be to create a website so that I will be able to sell my products online. I have already set up an Instagram page just for my work, and this has been a great platform to get my work seen and show some of the process behind my practice, but I also want to set up an online portfolio to send to prospective employers. 


Selection of some of my final scarf designs

Over the past few weeks I have been concentrating most of my efforts on getting the scarf collection finished. In my last project the scarves were intended to be a part of a larger fashion accessories collection, but after much deliberation I have decided that I would rather dedicate myself to one of them, creating one really strong small scarf collection rather than a poor larger accessories collection. On reflection I wasn’t very happy with the scarf designs I handed in for the last project, so this time around I have spent a lot more time thinking about layouts, how the scarves are worn and therefore what should fall in the corners, and just generally creating a varied selection of designs that reflects the concept. I have taken some of the motifs from old designs and reworked them with new ones, but continuing with luxurious colours to complement the fabric and using the trompe oliel idea to create 3D scenes. I’m glad that I have taken the time to make this collection the best I possibly can as I really want to have something exciting to take with me to New Designers in London, and hopefully it will make me stand out to judges at Texprint. 

External Projects update

Photos from the exhibition opening

It was great to finally see all of our work up at the Tatton Park exhibition after we had all worked so hard as a group to put it together. After a lot of back and forth decisions about my piece, all the extra work I did at the beginning of the project paid off as my piece was chosen to go above the large fireplace at the centre of the room. Trying to get my motifs to fit over three wallpaper style panels and yet still make it look like one continuous piece was much more complicated than I had imagined it would be, but it was a great challenge creating something to fit the 1.6 x 1.4 metre space as I have never worked on such a large scale with paper before. Printing on the wide format printer on a large scale has made me think more about my scarves and how I may choose to engineer their layouts. I feel so proud of the work I have created and it was a great experience working with such a supportive group of people, and I would love to work on a collaborative project like this again. 

Image of the second issue of 'Rat', page featuring my work taken from a still of a video on Zach Rowlandson's instagram

A great thing I have learnt lately about collaborating with people is that if you do a favour for someone, you can often be paid back with a better one in return. After helping Zach with covers for his magazine, he approached me to be interviewed as part of his second issue of Rat magazine. This is such a great chance to get my work seen by new audiences and I am really looking forward to seeing my work in print.
Photos of the final 'Minecraft' shirt

I have also discovered that it is worth taking on projects even if they don’t seem like much in the beginning. After agreeing to take up a commission on creating a Minecraft inspired print design for a mens shirt (two areas that I am fairly unknowledgeable about) I discovered that the work I would be basing my design on was actually a minecraft version of an original 1920s painting of New York from a project called Tateworlds for the Tate Gallery. To make things more exciting my fabric was recently made up into a shirt and it was worn in Los Angeles at a talk made at the Youtube headquarters. It has been so amazing to see how one small project can itself turn into something much bigger and take me one step closer to my career in print design. 


Image from tableware shoot

I really enjoyed doing my tableware photoshoot in the last project so I have actually allotted time in this project to work on this aspect more, as I feel it will give me something a bit different to show off the variety of my work in my portfolio. I was quite heavily inspired by the lifestyle and clothing brand Toast, and tried to keep my imagery homey with natural lighting, but trying to keep the general collections and antiques theme involved by including antiques and dark wood surfaces to look like an antique shop. I think the introduction of seasonal flowers adds some interest to the imagery and helps it to fit into my chosen context.

Scarf visualisations

I have also been thinking about how to visualise my scarf collection as one of the comments made at the feedback of my last project was that the visualisations could have been stronger. Whilst most people on the course doing womenswear have booked studios and models, I want to go down a more unusual route to reflect the unusual content of my designs. In the past I have placed photographic scarves on illustrations, so this time I want to displace my designs onto photographic collages featuring mannequins and marble busts as alternative models.

This has also made me think further about what I would like to show alongside my scarves at the degree show, and I think a large composite version of these photo collages, made up to look like a curiosity shop, would be a great piece to sum up my collection and to make my work stand out at the show.