One of the most inspiring graphic designers I have come across on Instagram (and privileged to have met in real life) is the inspiring Emma Shipley. Not only has Emma stayed true to her style from the very beginning, she also runs a successful design studio offering her designs on a range of home accessories, wallpaper and furniture.
As a testament to Emma’s strong creative talent, she was quickly discovered after graduating from the Royal College of Art and has since won various awards for her creative designs. Her collection is stocked by leading retailers such as Liberty London, Fortnum and Mason and Harrods.
Emma’s designs are fantastical, imaginative and delightfully unconventional. These all start life as hand-drawn pencil designs before being digitally coloured. Emma’s style is bold, unafraid and always surprises you with the unexpected. Emma embraces colour in her designs and combines them to perfection.
TIPS FOR PATTERN-ON-PATTERN MAXIMALISM WITHOUT THE OVERWHELM
Pattern-on-pattern maximalism is not for the faint-hearted. I’d like to talk about using pattern-on-pattern maximalism in your designs without the overwhelm.
FIND A UNIFYING ELEMENT
To achieve a cohesive flow where everything seems to connect and take your eye on a pleasing journey around the entire space without being matchy-matchy nor being too jarring, it is vital to choose a unifying element. This could be one of the following:
Think of a more general theme so it doesn’t restrict you or tie you down to anything. A theme is just there to link and hold things together and does not mean you can’t be eclectic and inject other styles into the space. For example you could go for a nature theme or a jungle theme if you want to be more specific. Some thematic ideas for interiors include seaside, country, natural textures, Moroccan, animals, boho, geometric, mountains, sky, comics.
Using colour as a theme can be very effective. There are so many ways of using colour – you can choose a one-colour theme as the backdrop for everything. For example, a room that’s been painted in all 5 walls the same colour like a box. It could be very dramatic. You could add a variety of colours against a unified backdrop.
Or you could use a few colours with one dominant colour drawing the whole design together. To do this would mean you would choose the colour of a dominant object, say a blue sofa or a large blue rug, and repeat this colour elsewhere so it acts a a visual guide that leads the eyes around the space.
Many of us are already familiar with interior styles such as Scandi, mid-century modern, boho, industrial, French-country, contemporary, retro, vintage, eclectic, minimalist, maximalist, nautical, farmhouse, shabby chic, traditional to name some.
I would always suggest veering away from a singular style for many reasons. But you could have one underlying style on which you can then build with what you love and pulls your heartstrings. Sticking to one style strictly would limit my freedom and creativity and create fear – fear of making a mistake or breaking up the theme and stops one from further exploration. Using a particular style as inspiration and basis for creativity would serve us much better in the long run. Our tastes change over time and is often a journey that we go through so giving ourselves space to change and grow can only be beneficial.
This is my favourite way of starting off a design scheme. I always like to think of how I want the space to feel. More aptly, I ask myself how I want to feel inside the space. Do I want to feel cocooned and embraced in warmth? Do I want to feel like I could breathe in the space and air around me? Excited and pumped up? Calm and relaxed? Peaceful and quiet? Happy and cheerful? Just thinking of these words immediately conjure up images of the space. It’s a great starting point to know how a room could take shape. In my own home, I just want to feel warm and cocooned, relaxed in some calming moody vibes and overall an inviting space. A dark space achieves this for me. Sticking to a particular style doesn’t really bother me that much. As long as it’s peppered with things I love and sentimental objects, I’m pretty happy.
One of the easiest ways to inject pattern in your home is to use wallpaper. There’s an array of pattern types to choose from: all-over, trailing, geometric, damask, murals, striped, tile..you name it. One can easily spends hours flicking through thousands of wallpaper options available!
Wallpaper shown is is from Murals Wallpaper
OVERLAP AND JUXTAPOSE
Once you have decided on a unifying element, you are now free to collect what you love and layer them or put them side by side. I am in love with Emma’s new Wilderie collection. A juxtaposition of sumptuous deep orange and teal with accents of gold. Soft muted blush tones to balance to balance the intensity of the colours. Finally, fringe and feathers to contrast against the brass and gold. It’s perfection in design so masterfully executed.
BLACK AND WHITE
Last but by no means least, my favourite animal! The zebra. The addition of black and white always finishes a room for me. Somehow it anchors a space and feels like a full stop, a dot at the end of a sentence. That necessary pause for a breather before you move on. I find it calming and, personally, the one element that prevents the space from being too jarring or over-unnerving to make one too uncomfortable. The addition of black and white or a monochrome element provides a pause from colour and pattern nicely without being disruptive.
Check out Emma Shipley’s designs. You won’t be disappointed. I believe artists should inspire and Emma inspires so effortlessly and with panache. A huge thank you to Emma who has not only greatly inspired me as a creative but also collaborated with me over several projects last year from which I received the items featured above as gifts. This blog is not sponsored but I wanted to shine a light on Emma and her stunning collections.
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