Friday, 29 November 2013

Emma Frances Designs Black Friday Deals!

I thought I'd make it a bit easier for you all so have put all of my Black Friday deals on one page!

We have 25% off when you spend £5 or more in my Etsy store, just use the code MISTLETOE13 There are notebooks, greetings and Christmas cards and loads more!

My Kess inHouse collections have a huge 40% off this weekend! You can have a look at the products below and grab a bargain!  They would make really unique Christmas presents!

And finally my Kekacase collection also have a huge 40% this weekend.  The quality is beautiful by the way as I have one of their tough snap on cases on my own phone!  Use the code BLK40 to get this.  Kekacase also have their November deal which is if you buy any two cases you get a free snap on case.  Use the code FREESNAP for this, you could get 3 presents for the price of 2!

Designer Feature: Mooselane Design

I have some wonderful work from Marika of Mooselane Designs today, she has such a lovely style, quite simple but so effective with clean and crisp motifs.  Marika has done a lot of design courses from art to graphics to textiles.  Eventually she decided to study product design at the Glasgow School of Art.  She says Glasgow is such a creative and inspirational city to be in and loved her time there but after graduating she felt she needed a break from design.  She ended up working in branding for a couple of years before she began drawing again and came back to surface pattern.  From this Mooseland design began!

So why do you want to be a designer and what do you like about patterns?

I believe in making things that have a function or purpose.  I chose product design because I wanted to use that skill to improve peoples lives through design.  However, for as long as I can remember I have also loved the playfulness of patterns and the use of colour in general.  It fascinates me how images, colours and patterns can create the perfect balance (in the space it's in) if done well.  This is important especially when I do freelance branding work for businesses, and I enjoy that combination of strategic and creative thinking.  I've discovered the #365 patterns challenge (design a pattern a day) and I've decided to do this for the remaining months of 2013, seems like a fun challenge!

How would you describe your style and what is your favourite medium to work with?

Colourful designs with a Scandinavian feel to them.  I enjoy the initial stage when I create lots and lots of drawings, the build up to the end result.  I wish I has my own ceramic workshop and a printing studio where I could get my hands dirty more!

I'd love a huge workshop where I could make as much mess as I wanted!  What inspires you and where do you find your inspiration from?

As a mother to a 2 year old I'm surrounded by colourful illustrations and books and this has definitely had a big influence on my designs.  Although, inspiration could come from anything I see really, a colour combination, a composition (that created a pattern in my mind) or just an interesting texture.  For example my Autumn/Winter 2013 designs were inspired by things I saw on a footpath in my neighborhood!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

My Craft Fair Experience

This weekend I had two craft fairs, my first ever! So it was a huge deal, I had fretted for weeks over my stall, how it will look, what I'll be selling, I invested a LOT of money in getting products printed and making sure I had everything I needed.  There are an insane amount of costs when you start thinking about it.  You need labels, bags of different sizes for people to take their purchases away in.  Then I needed to get different packaging to post items that were bought online, all of different sizes to keep the weight down!  The table, cloths, boxes and stands, smaller items to sell to cover the cost of the table.

I must have got through at least two full notebooks with all of my lists!  I hand made little paper items to decorate presents, I got my sewing machine out and made some totebags, my mum even helped me out with knitting some really cute stripy dishcloths and corsages!  It was a lot more work than I ever thought it would be, but I enjoyed every minute so I suppose it wasn't that bad.

After all of that work I felt very prepared, packed the car and set off to the first one on Saturday.  I can't have come crashing down to earth harder than I did that afternoon!  The first fair was in a pub (This should have screamed not worth the risk really), it was free so I thought why not.  I got all set up and was really excited to finally get my work out there and for people to see it, well that would have happened if people had actually come to the fair.  There can only have been 10 people that actually came and looked around in the 3 hours we were there.  To top it off the landlord didn't put the heating on so I was absolutely frozen! We left early and I made a loss with petrol and the raffle prize I gave towards it.

So after a HUGE glass of wine that night I pulled myself back up and told myself tomorrow would be better.  Thankfully it was, for one thing it was warm inside the hall!  I only made enough to cover my stall but the atmosphere was really good and I met some lovely stall holders aswell as the ladies that ran the event, they were all so supportive and quite happy to chat about business tips.

I had a lot of positive feedback but you have to watch out for some customers though, there was one little old lady that pulled some faces at the price of my totebags (I made sure I got a really nice strong heavy canvas cotton so they were really sturdy and would last.  I neatly lined them inside aswell so there were no stitches on show inside), they were £8 for a large one.  Anyway, she bustled off only to come back with her daughter and husband to mutter about them some more.  All right infront of me!  If something like this happens don't take it to heart, there will always be people who aren't happy with something, I just looked the other way and made sure I couldn't hear what they were saying.  I realise some people are good at sewing and can easily make these things themselves, they're not who I'm aiming at.  It's always going to knock you down when someone does something like this, but just ignore it as it won't be very often and for that one little glitch everyone else loved my products.

My highlight has got to be where a little boy, who reminded me a lot of my little 8 year old brother, kept walking past my stall and smiling at me until eventually he just had to say to me that he really liked my notebooks and would love to buy one but didn't have enough money left.  He really liked my Spaceman design and I was so touched I let him have it for a discounted price.  Sometimes if you don't ask you don't get =)  That little boy honestly made my day.

When your in this industry it all feels very personal as it's your designs from your imagination and drawn with your hands so it feels awful when you hear negative comments.  You really have to focus on the positive ones though, everytime you feel a bit upset by one persons views just think back to a time where someone stood out for you and made you feel good about your work.  I sold a set of my Harvest time prints to a lady in America who bought them for her 2 year old grandson for Christmas.  It's such a special feeling that I can't really describe, but this is why I design, so people like that, who really love what I do, can enjoy them as much as I do.

Have you ever had anything like this happen to you? What do you do to lift yourself back up?

Friday, 22 November 2013

Christmas Card Showcase!

This weekend I have two craft fairs and will be selling my Christmas cards myself for the first time! I'm so nervous but it will hopefully be a great experience and I'll gain some valuable feedback.

So I have gathered together some of my designer friends Christmas cards to showcase to you today, if you haven't bought your Christmas cards yet then have a look at this lovely collection and you may find something that catches your eye!  It's really important that we help support small independent businesses, and yes our prices may be higher than high street retailers but there has been a lot of time and love that has gone into these designs.  You will also have something rather unique as they aren't on the shelves of many shops!  Even if you just buy one or two to send to a few special people it shows your support in what we do.

First up is Rosie Simons, with jazzy christmas colours and beautiful typography!

Ruth Thorp's simple illustrations look wonderful in two colours

Jessica Wilde's doodle style Christmas cards are really unique in lovely bright colours

Applemint Designs's Christmas cards are beautifully designed with such a soft Christmas colour palette

Sam Osbourne's cards feature Christmassy quotes from Winnie the Pooh, Buddy the Elf and The Grinch, together with cute little doodled illustrations!

Gooseberry Moon's cards are so delicate they say exactly what you need to at this time of year, she also has a berry patterned one here

Claire Lordon's Animal Pun Christmas cards have prooved very popular this Christmas and you can see why!

Nika Martinez has teamed up with Mariam Tronchoni to deliver this beautiful Christmas card!

Slumbermonkey Designs hand printed style Christmas cards in wonderfully warm Christmassy colours

Michelle Nilson's Candy Cottage Christmas card is an array of bold and beautiful colours

Liz May's Red Robin card is simple and cute

Faye Brown's beautiful Typographical cards that I featured earlier in the week!

And finally my own collection is available on my Etsy store! So there are plenty of beautiful designs for you to choose from!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Christmas Typography

This Christmas a few designers have decided to have a Christmas card swap.  It's such an easy way of having a variety of unique Christmas cards!  So today I wanted to show you Faye Brown's wonderful cards.  Faye's style is very graphic which is where her background lies.  She is a Typography queen! Faye ran her own online typography course, which I took part in, back in June.  Her 'The art of Typography' course was fantastic, you can read all about it here! I highly recommend it.

Her typography really shines through in these beautiful Christmas cards.  My favourite has to be Frosty the Snowman, with the cute little snowman sat in the corner.

Now why wouldn't you want some Christmas cards designed by individuals, that will really stand out against the mass produced cards, to WOW your family and friends?!  I'll be posting more unique Christmas cards that you won't find on the high street soon.

I'm going to have to be really selective of who to send these lovely cards to....or I could just keep them for myself! =) Get some of your own here!

Here's a little close up of the detail!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Designer Feature: Jennifer Lee Designs

To make up for my lack of blogposts over the last couple of weeks I'll give you two in one day!

Today I have a fellow course mate from the University of Leeds, we studied Textile Design together so I'm so pleased to be featuring Jennifer today!

Jennifer knew she wanted to be a designer when she studied Art and Design and Textile Design at A level, but at the time didn't know which route to pursue.  She ended up doing a foundation degree at Chelsea College of Art and Designs where she tried out a range of design areas from Media to Fashion to Textiles.  This lead her onto study Textile Design at Leeds University (with me!).

Since then she has had tons of amazing work experiences from Harrods, to Sanderson, Vanderhurd to Camille Walala.  She is currently working as a freelance artist for Surface Print Source aswell as designing her own ranges aswell.  I'm sure there will be loads to come from Jennifer in the future.

So why did you want to become a designer and what is it you like about patterns?

When I was younger I don't think I had an intention of becoming a designer, it just fell into place as it seemed to be the one thing I was really good at in school/  As time went on and I noticed improvements in my work, that's when I thought Textiles is the subject I'm going to follow.  Now after University I know that being a designer is all I want to do.  It doesn't feel like doing work, it's just an enjoyment.  I enjoy the thought of having my designs in peoples homes and making them look better.  Any room that I walk into, straight away I think what could I do to make it better and picture my designs in there.

My favourite thing about patterns is the scale you can use.  I prefer patterns that are bold and make a statement, scale is most important - the bigger the better!  Especially if you have a beautifully coloured design with intricate motifs, then the colours will look amazing.

How would you describe your style and what is your favourite medium to work with?

I'd say my style is commercial but different, my last collection of butterflies and flowers was very colourful but I did still like to use large scale.  If I know I could get away with it, I would have motifs as large as a metre maybe.  My style is either very realistic like my butterflies, or fluid like my tribal collection.  i begin a design with drawing which I prefer to do in black pen as it' easier to translate dark consistent lines onto Illustrator.  I use pencil occasionally but it doesn't work so well once on the computer.  I do also like using inks as the colours are so vivid.

What inspires you and where do you find your inspiration?

Pinterest is my favourite place of inspiration.  The images are always so well presented and in such great quality compared to Google.  It also allows me to create boards for future projects so that I don't forget any ideas.  I also use magazines to inspire me whether it is Vogue, Elle, Marie Clair, House & Gardens or Country Living.  Even though I like to design with interiors in mind, fashion is still very important in informing me.  My main source of influence is colour - this is my starting point.

You can find more of Jennifer's work at her website here!

New Products Available Soon!

I apologise for the lack of blog posts recently, I have been working away to bring my very own products into the market.  I've had tons of parcels turning up at the house and it's all very exciting!

I'll have my 2013 Christmas card collection up this Friday, which my mum has been selling away to her friends already! so our whole family will end up sending the same Christmas cards, it's wonderful to have such a supportive family though.  These cards will be £1.50 each, 5 for £6 and 10 for £10. 

I will also have Greetings Cards, A4 Prints, Notebooks and Pocket Mirrors that will be available soon!

So very exciting times, here's a little look at the Prints!

Scattered Nature
Lighthouse Family
 Dreamy Dragonflies
 Harvest Time Combine
 Harvest Time Tractor