Monday, December 31, 2012

Get organised With the Studio on Fire Desk Calendar

Have happy New Years celebrations everyone. If your resolution is to be more organised, you can keep inspired at the same time with this cheerful desk calendar from Studio on Fire. It's the lucky number 13 Edition!

Contributors besides Studio on Fire are Sasha Prood, Brian Gunderson, John Malta, Jolby, and Karolin Schnoor. See more of the illustrations, and purchase the calendar over at the Studio on Fire shop

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Perfect Collaboration: Elizabeth Olwen and Dioton

Surface pattern designer Elizabeth Olwen recently licensed some of her designs to Dioton, a French stationery company. Dioton produce customisable stationery such as birth announcements, wedding invitations, thank you cards, and more. They have done an incredible job with Elizabeth's patterns, creating the most exquisite birth announcements I have ever seen, using perfectly chosen type and graphic elements.

Elizabeth Olwen pattern design on Dioton stationery

Dioton Stationery

Elizabeth Olwen pattern design on Dioton stationery 

Dioton Stationery

The birth announcements pictured will be available from January 1st, and great news is that there are three more planned for early 2013. I absolutely can't wait to see them. You can follow Dioton's news at their blog. To find out more about Elizabeth Olwen, visit her beautful website. She is exhibiting this year for the first time at Surtex - You'll find her at Booth 752.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Get Inspired! Link Digest 2.1

Exquisite Packaging

For graphic design inspiration, head over to The Dieline to see these superb examples of product packaging. Definitely my cup of tea! See the Suchard Christmas chocolate box, or the very cool Essential Patch packaging.

Linn Olofsdotter

Wow Wow Wow, you've got to check out this artist's work! Thank you to Patternbank for their recent post that introduced me to this amazing work. After reading the Patternbank post, be sure to visit Linn's website.

Spanish Artist Lorenzo Duran

If you haven't yet discovered the incredible art of Lorenzo Duran, take a look at this article at Design Aside. You'll be blown away by his intricate cut works, similar to paper-cutting but with leaves.

2013 Freebie Calendars
Over at More Design Please you can find out where to download some gorgeous free calendars for 2013. Get organised for 2013!

Three (Incredibly Simple) Questions The Most Successful People Use To Change The World
Take the time to read this excellent article over at It makes a lot of sense, and can really help you to see your goals and obstacles clearly and in a way that is most helpful to you.

25 Ways You are Failing at Promoting Yourself, Your Products and Your Work
Read this article by Red Lemon Club. A successful artist has to consider all aspects of business and marketing; are you promoting yourself well?

Just Plain Interesting!
Gems: The Ugly Bug Ball
Apartment Therapy: Wall to Wall Style: Sources for the Perfect Wallpaper
My Modern Met: Incredibly creative high heels
Design Milk 2012 Year in review: Best of Architecture + Interiors
Design Milk 2012 Year in review: Best of Style + Fashion
Tractor Girl: From here to there and a best of 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bold Geometrics, Stripes, and Tartans. Be Wowed by Alice + Olivia Pre-Fall 2013

I'm really loving the fashion label Alice + Olivia by designer Stacey Bendet.  The Pre-Fall 2013 collection is particularly striking; again I find myself drawn to bold simplicity. What I mean is that if you examine each of these looks, your eye will go straight to one bold print that is complemented by the rest of the outfit. I see no fussiness in the cut of the garments, just beautifully tailored, flattering clothing that won't go unnoticed. Stunning!

Alice + Olivia Pre-Fall 2013

Alice + Olivia Pre-Fall 2013

Alice + Olivia Pre-Fall 2013

Alice + Olivia Pre-Fall 2013

Alice + Olivia Pre-Fall 2013

Alice + Olivia Pre-Fall 2013

Alice + Olivia Pre-Fall 2013

I also love the styling of this shoot - the underground setting feels perfect, and the model gives the collection just the right balance of cute and sophistication. Head over to to see all of the images; there is plenty to inspire including more bold stripes and some great tartans in the mix too. While you are there, be sure to read the excellent review by Maya Singer

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Inspiration for Pattern and Print Designers - Link Digest 2

Eeeeeee, I said I would blog more frequently didn't I! Well...Christmas is the exception. I've been kicking back with a glass of wine in hand, and I have to say it feels good after such a RUSH RUSH RUSH year. I sat back with Mike last night and watched a movie for the first time in I-don't-know-how-long. We saw The Lady directed by Luc Besson. WOW, what an incredibly inspiring woman (and film).
I never stop thinking about surface pattern design though, so I have plenty of great online destinations to share with you. I hope you find something here to inspire.

Surface Pattern/Graphic Design 

 Sarah Andreacchio


Have you seen the new pieces by Sarah Andreacchio over at L'affiche Moderne? As well as the lovely illustrations above, there is a beautiful ABC print. There are also some incredible vintage illustrations on her blog My Vintage Avenue.

Jonathan Calugi


Jonathan Calugi recently posted a new project over at his Behance site showcasing some of his work, past to present. There are some fantastic graphics and some super-inspiring font designs. 



 Rick Berkelmans, who designs under the studio name Hedof, recently worked on three designs for Lipton Tea Tins. They are stunning and well worth checking out. You'll find all three designs at his Behance site.



December 12 has been a visual feast over at the Isak blog! Head over for a month packed with inspiring images and beautiful gift ideas (yes I know Christmas is over, but we have birthdays galore coming up in our family!)

Matte Stephens 


Illustrator Matte Stephens has created some lovely illustrations for instore games (iPad app) at Tiffany & Co. View the illustrations and read more about it at Grain Edit, or visit the Matte Stephens blog.

Frankie Gift Paper Book

Love this gift paper book seen on Gems. Buy it over at Frankie Press.

I Love Illustration

Over at I Love Illustration I have discovered some spectacular artists. 

The first is Marlise, a Holland-based illustrator. Read the article and view more images here.

The second is Bernadette Pascua. Read the article and see a large selection of her fashion illustrations here.

Children's Fashion

Mini Rodini


Mini Rodini have given us a sneak peek at their Spring Summer 13 collection. Motifs include hearts, fish, boats, teddies, flamingos, and in true Mini Rodini fashion some bolder designs such as leopards and panthers. Head over to Facebook to view these and more. Or visit the Mini Rodini website.

Making Life Easier

Have you discovered the Bloglovin' app for iPhones?  I am one happy-chappy with this!
And the Flickr app for iPhones. As soon as I remember my username and password I'll give is a go (doh!)

For the Kids



This is a fun idea raising money for charity. Motis is an ad agency in Sanford, N.C., and this year they designed an interactive holiday story about Jellybean the tiger, who is based on a real tiger at Carolina Tiger Rescue, a wild cat sanctuary in Pittsboro, N.C. 
Motis would like to invite you to make and share a Mottisimal, a make-believe creature whose differences are celebrated, inside and out. For each one shared, they'll donate $1 to Jellybean and his pals. Try it, it's fun for the little ones!

Signing off...'s gotten late again, and I have another movie to watch. I hope you have found this inspiring. Pop back in a day or two for a fashion post that I am super-excited about. Sorry about any oddities in this post; clearly I need a tutorial in using blogger. Some strange goings-on since I started using headings and sub-headings! Merry Christmas all. X

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Regular Inspiration for Surface Pattern Designers - A New Feature

Life has been chaotic and it frustrates me that I have been unable to share all the inspiring news and finds that I have stumbled across recently. It prompted me to rethink the way I am blogging. I enjoy writing features and focusing on one designer/illustrator, but I only have snatches of time available to blog. I want to be able to share more of the inspiring things I find, so I have decided to include digests of news and links relevant to surface pattern design and illustration. That gives me a place to record all my finds, and you can quickly browse through for anything of interest to you. I hope you will find it useful. So here goes for my first... (no doubt it will evolve and become more organised with time)

Artist Lisa Congdon has just signed with Chronicle Books to publish 100 of her handwritten quotes from her 365 Days of Hand Lettering project. The book will be released in Spring 2014. Read more...

Artist Lisa Congdon has also recently announced the release of her fabric collection for Cloud 9. You really must head over to her blog for a look at this - it's superb!

 Take a sneak peek at Amy Butler's new ribbon collection from Renaissance Ribbons.
Her Neo-Victorian designs are inspired by antique sari prints, and ethnic geometric borders.

View the new AIR series Loulou & Tummie have produced for LeSportsac. Or visit the Loulou & Tummie website for loads of colourful graphics and characters from this Dutch illustration duo.

 View a bunch of fab cushion designs by Ed Miller Designs. He recently published these as part of a project on his Behance folio.

You may also like Ed Miller Designs' Flags and Calendars project on Behance.

I enjoyed this interesting article about how rejection can boost your creativity. It worked for Lady Gaga! How Rejection Breeds Creativity by David Burkus.

Be inspired by Karen Barbour's unique gouche and ink paintings. via Alex Mathers

Take some colour inspiration from Pavel Fuksa's vintage inspired matchbooks; there are 178 designs, created some time ago for a music video by Navigators. View all of the designs, and the video over at Colourlovers.

 And lastly, I enjoyed this article about surface pattern designer Jiah Harrison over at

I hope you have found something of interest here. I'll be posting more frequently now, and I would really appreciate any feedback about this new approach. Is it helpful/interesting to you?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Fascinating Concrete Project Involving Sarah Arnett

I was out of luck with the Pantone Colour of the Year 2013, which was revealed a few days ago to be 17-5641 Emerald. So, it wasn't my first choice of Lemon Zest, nor was it my second choice of Poppy, but (and don't tell anyone) after only a few hours of thinking and visualising emerald on various clothing and design I was hopelessly, madly in love with it!
Today though, I have found inspiration in a medium of little colour: concrete! Sarah Arnett, an artist I very much admire, has been working on a fascinating project for the Brighton Council. She has been appointed as the community artist along with Tom Hardiment - Landscape Architect -  for a new piece of artwork that will be installed on the north lawns of the Level Park in Brighton (due to re open in summer 2013.)
These incredible images below are Sarah's first drawings of the elm trees surrounding the park, and the corresponding concrete samples, for the 2D installation.

Sarah Arnett - The Level Regeneration Project
Sarah's drawings and the corresponding concrete samples

Sarah Arnett - The Level Regeneration Project
Sarah's drawings and the corresponding concrete samples

Sarah Arnett - The Level Regeneration Project 
Sarah's drawings and the corresponding concrete samples

Sarah is working with Graphic Relief Ltd who will cast the final pieces. Sarah promises to show us more from this project as it progresses, so keep an eye out on her Behance site for updates or to view the project these are part of. If you are interested to find out more about Sarah (and I recommend you do, as her work is astounding) you can view more of her art on Behance, or at her website.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Orla Kiely Pre-Spring/Summer 2013

There is nothing quite like a new Orla Kiely collection to give my heart a surge of excitement. The Orla Kiely Pre-Spring/Summer 2013 collection is now available and features some striking galleon motifs. Colours include an earthy sand, sky blue, navy, a vibrant poppy red, and an exuberant yellow that I am doing backflips over!

Around The World Print Silk Twill Sleeveless Dress, Sand
Orla Kiely Pre-Spring/Summer 2013

Around The World Print Silk Twill Romper, Sky
Orla Kiely Pre-Spring/Summer 2013

Little Galleon Print Cotton Poplin Cut Out Back Dress
Orla Kiely Pre-Spring/Summer 2013

This pixelated look is very effective (below). An added quirk of this design is that the cardigan buttons at the back making it reversible!

Pixelated Galleon Intarsia Reversible Cardigan - Sky
Orla Kiely Pre-Spring/Summer 2013

I am really taken with this wonderful, sunny, banana-yellow combined with black and white. That and the beautiful mustard colour below can be found frequently in 1950s fabric design, which I have an affinity for. I can't wait to hear what the Pantone colour of the year is for 2013 - with Tangerine Tango being the colour for 2012, could this fruity yellow be the next in line? Looking at the Pantone Colour Report for Spring 2013, there is in fact a colour called lemon zest. I think that is an inspiring description and I would love to see it as the pick for 2013; it's certainly shaping up to be mine.

Boat Pointelle Cardigan, Yellow
Orla Kiely Pre-Spring/Summer 2013

I'm still a big fan of mustard, and I adore the stylish scalloped neck and stand-out yellow belt on the dress below.

Solid Crepe Blend Sleeveless Dress - Mustard
Orla Kiely Pre-Spring/Summer 2013

Poppy red is also a colour that appears on the Pantone Colour Report for Spring 2013 and it gets my second vote for colour of the year. This poppy-red dress by Orla Kiely is exquisite! Simple elegance making a statement with vibrant colour; to me that is perfection.

Solid Silk Crepe Collar Dress - Poppy
Orla Kiely Pre-Spring/Summer 2013

Readers here in New Zealand will also be interested to know that the new Orla Kiely wallpaper collection is now available at The Paper Room.

Classic Stem - Olive, Wallpaper by Orla Kiely

Striped Petal - Graphite by Orla Kiely 

Giant Abacus Flower - Mink, Wallpaper by Orla Kiely

Be sure to visit the Orla Kiely website to see the vast range of products available, and the complete Pre-Spring/Summer 2013 collection.