Saturday, February 9, 2013

Today a chat with :Mel Smith

Surface pattern designer
Based in South West London
Studio: Mel Smith Designs
Color and pattern passionate
Mel Smith
She found our she wanted to be a designer when..
Ooooh I think this was quite early on. My parents are quite homely and always redecorating so I think I've always had it in me that I will work with interiors in one way or another. It was at college I realized Surface Pattern Design was the area I wanted to work in.

A quote to inspire!
From her studio!

How she did it:
I got to experience a wide variety of textiles at University - my course covered felt making, digital print, rug and carpet design but in the end I settled on PhotoShop and haven't looked back since! 
One of my last projects at University was to produce a collection of rug designs and 2 were picked by John Lewis and sold in store as Limited Edition. I also received work placement at Tigerprint and then worked for HotchPotch Greetings.

I have since freelanced for two studios alongside a full time job - so I'm kept VERY busy at all times!

I was delighted when my designs were picked for the first Print & Pattern book and will also have my designs shown in the upcoming Pattern Base book out soon. Having completed Rachael Taylor and Beth Nicholl's e-course earlier this year I am raring to go with setting up my brand and business!

Her work and style:
I have quite a graphic approach to my designs but because I still hand draw all of my motifs the work still has my 'handwriting' and it isn't completely digitalized. 

As with many designers florals are a huge inspiration, but as well as these organic forms I also have a love for styles from the past, particularly the 20's and 50's . . . mix in a bit of the retro graphics that are always a winner and et voile - you get Mel Smith Designs!

I produce repeats and placement prints for a variety of products. I am currently looking into having my own products manufactured and am focusing on homewards and stationery - exciting times! 

From Mel's sketchbook

Her inspiration:
I always find this question tricky! I think it's because I like so many different styles that I can look most places and see 'something' that might translate into a design or pattern of some sort.

Her favorite part of being a designer:
I can spend absolutely ages playing around with different palettes. Even the smallest change in colour can give a completely different vibe to a design.

Her projects  for 2013:
I was planning on applying for Top Drawer in September but I am going to wait until the January 2014 show. I need time to prepare properly - it's  big show so I want to make sure I am fully ready for it! So there will be a lot of researching this year, choosing my final designs and getting them manufactured - exciting times! In between all that I would like to build on my ranges and start another. And I MUST enter more competitions! There are so many out there but I don't seem to have had the time recently...I have 5 deadlines marked on my calendar already!

Her big dream as a designer:
Well...! One day I would love to have a little studio someone that I can share with other designers, creating lots of designs for my own brand and licensing ranges.  It would be a fresh bright area with lots of inspiring imagery around me, oh, and I'd have my pet dog that would keep me company as well.

Her favorite medium to design:
A good batch of marker pens! That's what I seem to be using right now for opts of my work - they suit my graphic-yet-handdrawn style very well.

How she stays motivated:
I have a full time job at the moment as well. I enjoy it but it's not my passion so I think that's quite a big motivator in keeping me going - the sooner I can get the design work in place and build my brand, the sooner I can leave the full time job and design full time. Ah, the dream!

Her favorite thing in her design studio?
I have pin board with all my notes, lists, things-to-do, more lists…! And around this I have a few bits and pieces - a print I won from Jade Boylan, my Caroline Gardner calendar, a Jessica Swift postcard and quotation print, one of my designs was used on a mug for Marks And Spencer so thats my pen pot … lots of yummy visuals to give me something pretty to look at! I also now have a whole wall dedicated to my Top Drawer / Home London plans. It's a bit bare right now but it will be something I can keep building on throughout the year.

The word Believe means to her...
Just to believe in yourself and that if you work hard you will get there. It might take time but you will … eventually!

Get in touch with Mel Smith, see more of her fabulous work and follow her here:

Images of this blog post property and copyrighted by Mel Smith.

1 comment:

  1. lovely interview… so nice to get to know your a bit better Mel! Your work is beautiful :)


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