Design, Colour and Trend


I have not written on here in a very long time, so I will begin with a brief catch up of what I am doing now. I completed my Foundation Degree and I am now studying BA Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design at Leeds Arts University; a dream degree for me. I am loving the course, I feel like it is so suited to me and I am loving all the new and exciting things I am learning. I have decided to try and write on here a bit more now because I think it will be a good way to express my thoughts and ideas within my own work during my degree. It will help me to reflect on my work continuously and also keep a record of how I think I am developing as a designer in my own practise, which will be great for me to look back on. Not only this but I would also like to use this space to just empty my brain a bit more of all the thoughts and feelings that build up in there. I’m a big thinker; I’m interested in a lot of things and I do enjoy thinking about my opinions on certain topics and deeply analysing in some cases. So instead of keeping all my thoughts locked up where they sometimes get lost and can sometimes become meaningless, I thought writing them down in some form would help me to not only express and discuss these thoughts/opinions but also writing things down can help to form new ideas and opinions; basically I just want to learn and expand my knowledge and thoughts on things.

So, ramble out of the way, onto the actual post…

Today I went to a Design, Colour and Trend Event with uni, it was the first of these types of things that I’d been to so I didn’t really know what to expect, but I LOVED IT. I find listening to what people are doing with their careers and potential pathways for myself, so inspiring and also motivational, because one day that could be me.

One of the talks particularly really interested me and gave me so much food for thought, which was from Marianne Shillingford, the Creative Director for Dulux. Colour for me has always been something so important in all the work I do, so hearing about how colours and the trends are created was something I really enjoyed.

She spoke about our relationship with colour as humans and how theres much more meaning behind the choices we make with colours than we may first realise. She told us how we as humans are always interested in nature as it connects us to the earth and so this is always inspiring us, even more so recently with the rise of the digital age as nature gives us the inner peace we all seem to be searching for now to get away from the buzz of social media. Another theory we were told about was that after a global disaster has happened such as an earthquake or a tsunami, straight away we may be sad however after this our human behaviour causes us to go into party/celebration mode. Because of this, after a global disaster has happened the colour trends often see a rise in highly saturated ‘party’ colours (I guess to make us feel better). On the other hand during periods when we are in economic stability we tend to opt for cooler more neutral tones because there is not that need to cheer ourselves up through colour. She also spoke about how colour is used to express how we feel, so if we are feeling particularly confident one day we are more likely to wear a coat that is bright magenta whereas if we are feeling unconfident with our mood we are more likely to wear something more dull. As someone who is really interested in psychology and how us as humans really work when it comes to thought processes, decisions etc I found this so interesting and it really showed me that colour isn’t just the mundane, meaningless stuff that we may sometimes think of it, theres actually a lot more to it.

Marianne told us briefly about the process that takes place when putting together and forecasting trends as this happens way way in advance. They talk to people from all sorts of specialisms and not just colour experts. This can include architects, artists, designers, but also social experts, economic experts and religious people. This is because everything that is going on in the world will affect the colour trends, since how we are feeling affects our choices in colour so much. I think it is really cool how a colour trend can somehow reflect on and represent what was going on in the world at the time and how there is a sort of timeline of what has happened through colour.

She then went on to talk us through the colour trend for this year. Firstly explaining the overriding ideas/ feelings that are currently prominent in the world. No surprise but this is politics and in particular a fear of politics. As well as this a fear of our lives as humans going forward in the digital age; for example being out smarted by robots,  being unable to escape and switch off from social media, the pressure of social media. Therefore because of this we as humans are looking for quiet and stillness in day- to- day life, a way to escape the uneasy feeling of being in the current world. We are also developing a new way to define luxury. It is not necessarily what it was before; something of high quality, but luxury in the current climate could be the idea of stillness, escape, feeling of home and being offline. Therefore because of what is currently going on in the world, our needs and wants as humans are changing which then links to the sort of colours we want in our lives, hence affecting the colour trends.



Pictures taken from Dulux website.

So because we are wanting a way to escape, needing to press pause and retreat to a safe sanctuary in our homes, Dulux’s colour trend for this year aims to try and give that. The colours have very high grey contents, giving muted tones and nothing too saturated, to make us feel at home and at ease, to get away from the busy feeling of social media.  The colours have a very natural, organic feel to them which signifies a return to the familiar (nature rather than digital) as a way of grounding ourselves. This really interested me because I know that the rise of the digital world is definitely affecting us in many ways we don’t realise, but for it to even affect the colours that we choose to decorate our homes with; that just made me think, everything has a purpose.

Overall like I’ve probably said many times, the talk was so interesting to me and inspired me massively. The colour and trend industry is a place I really could see myself being placed in the future as I am so passionate and interested by it. Colour has more to it than people think, us as humans must have a reason as to why we pick anything and so the fact that our psychology/mental state/mood affects the way we choose and use colour completely makes sense to me. How using certain colours in our homes can make you feel a certain way and even affect our mental wellbeing/have health benefits is an amazing thing.

Sorry for the rambley nature of this post, but thanks to Marianne from Dulux for a great talk!


FMP journal 32

FMP reflective journal

Thursday 11/5/17

Today I went into college to use some of the printing facilities for more experimentation. I wanted to try out different surfaces to print on before I definitely decided on what to use in my final piece, this would ensure my final outcome is the best it can be.

Using the same screen I had previously used in experimentation with this process, this time I printed onto a sheer fabric.

I really liked the effect of this and how the print became slightly faded making it harder to read. I think this would be interesting to try out alongside the technique of layering writing to make the writing become even more illegible. I also liked how when the fabric hung and folded other parts of the writing could be seen through the fabric.

I then experimented on canvas which I thought gave a nice textural effect to the print. However I don’t think this material would fit in well with my project as I think I like the effect of hanging fabrics and this wouldn’t necessarily work as well.

To experiment further I layered the sheet fabric on top of the canvas print which I thought was really effective. I liked the combination of the two and how it created a really interesting layered effect. This could be something I consider for part of my final piece possibly including it in a collage of some sort.

I then worked on another fabric similar to calico which did give a nice effect but some of the ink ran and smudged a little.

I also experimented on tissue paper as I thought this could be interesting for a similar see through effect of the sheer fabric. However it was much to delicate as when I pulled the screen off part of the paper ripped. This is a surface I don’t think I will re-use in my final piece.

Finally I tried another sheer fabric which again gave another really nice effect.

This time I also tried a bit of layering which worked well on this surface. I think that using a couple of pieces of sheer fabric in my exhibition alongside a more dense fabric such as cotton would provide a nice contrast and add a lot more interest to my work.

I found this experimentation really useful as I now know which surfaces work best with print so I can decide on what I will use in my final piece.

FMP journal 31

FMP reflective journal

Wednesday 10/5/17

Today I spoke to Gemma about my project and she looked through my sketchbooks.

She gave me advice of the last few remaining methods I should try out before I then go on to developing my final piece. We spoke about trying out and testing on different materials with prints before I decide on for my final piece. This was really useful for me to now know what I should be focusing on and to really push me to focus now on getting everything done before I can do my final piece.

I then did some experimentation with wire going back to link with my Miriam Londono research. I did this to experiment with 3D processes like the artist does, to add another element to my research and experimentation. 

I did some writing from the poem with the wire. I found this technique very time consuming and difficult but I liked the effect of it. I would now like to use this to take some photos creating shadows with the wire in a similar way to how the artist works, as I think this could be interesting. I think a 3D element in my exhibition could help to add more interest and a different element to my work. 

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FMP reflective journal

Monday 8/5/17

Today I did some printing with the screen I made last week. I started by creating a simple black print repeating the design.

This one was on white card. Parts of it was a bit more messy than I had hoped but this is a really simple and easy way to get a detailed design as a print.

I also did the design in black on fabric which I really liked the effect of.

After leaving this to dry for a while I came back to add some coloured layers to my work. I created a pink ink and printed on top of the fabric piece I had done to give a layered effect. I was happy with how this turned out I really liked the effect of layering different colours, to add dimension and detail. 

I then did another layered piece on fabric this time being a bit more messy. I did a few laters using the remaining ink on the screen to give the faded effect. I also mixed together a couple of different shades of ink which I think worked well. As I have experimented with throughout my project I really like the effect of layering text.

I think through more practise the technique of screen printing got easier with better results. Therefore I will continue to experiment with this using different techniques as this is something I want to refine before I use it in my final piece. 

FMP journal 29

FMP reflective journal

Thursday 4/5/17

The final piece of research I have done is looking at artist Biagio Cepollaro who uses collage and layering.

I wanted to work in the style of this artist so I decided to create a collage of the mono prints I created.

Firstly I started cutting up parts of the mono prints that I thought would be interesting in a collage. I then tried to arrange them in a way that was visually pleasing.

This was the final design I came up with. I like the combination of bright colours along with the black pieces too. I think this style is nice because there is a lot going on and I like the textural layered effect. By cutting up the pieces in this way this also adds the the abstract effect because the words cannot be read but become marks and patterns.

I then glued all the pieces down and added a few smaller more delicate details to give it a more refined effect.

I was happy with this piece however I think it would be more succesful if it was a bit more toned down and refined. I like the effect of bright colours however I think it would be best to stick to one or two tones to stop the design becoming too over the top.

This lead me to experiment in a different way.

This time I cut up smaller shapes of the prints to collage on only parts of the page instead of covering up the whole page. I also decided to stick to the prints which had pink/purple tones to stop the piece becoming too much. I quite liked the geometric effect of using rectangular shaped this time. 

Once these were stuck down I then worked over this base writing in the layering style I have been practising. I used a few different medias for this to give more depth and detail.

I liked this effect however I thought writing on top of the prints kind of made them less effective as the detail was lost. Therefore for the next experimentation I decided to do the writing first on the page then stick the collaged prints on top.

This time I used less bold colours and thicknesses of pens for the writing because I didn’t want the writing to become too much it was just there for a background and addition of detail. I liked this effect and I think that the collage worked better on top of the writing. 

I would like to continue with collage techniques.

FMP journal 28

FMP reflective journal

Wednesday 3/5/17

Today we were given a demonstration on screen printing.

We used cavas frames, screen mesh, duct tape, screen filler and screen drawing fluid to create the screens. 

First we stapled the screen mesh to the frame ensuring that there was a lot of tension. Then we sealed this using duct tape. 

We then drew on the screen drawing fluid using a paint brush for the design we wanted, letting it to dry after. 

Once it was dry we covered the screen with screen filler using only a small amount and a card to spread it out. Once this was dry we washed away the blue screen drawing fluid leaving the design on the screen. 

The screens are now ready to be used for printing which we are going to do next week. 

I found this extremely useful as it is a technique I have already researched into to use in my final piece. However using these chemicals are a cheaper alternative than using the photo synthesiser I have seen which is something I will think about. It was also a good way for my to practise the screen production before I go into doing it for the final outcome.

FMP journal 27

FMP reflective journal

Tuesday 2/5/17

Today I started my second sketchbook which is going to be filled with experimentations, plans and workings for my final outcome of the project. 

From all of the research I have collected so far and documented in my other sketchbook I will now start to pull together ideas, concepts and techniques to allow me to create a high quality final outcome. The experimentation in this sketchbook will be much more refined as I know what I am aiming to create and I am trying to develop my own personal style. To begin with I decided to look at my research so far and pull out the areas I was most happy with and think are the most successful. By doing this I hoped to be able to work towards deciding how I could bring them all together in a final outcome, potentially combining methods. 

From my research my favourite pieces were the ones I did working in the style of the artist Simon Hantai. This was because I really like the effect of the layering up of writing and how this has an affect on the legibility and abstract nature of the work. I particularly like the colours I used in these pieces, I always want my work to bold in colour and I like to use bright tones but I also think the addition of black details helps to bring it all together. I hope to use this style in my final outcome by layering writing issuing bold and bright colour.

During my research on Maria Wigley I enjoyed using free machine embroidery to create writing using stitch. I think this adds texture and detail to the written pieces which is a nice addition. I think I could use this in my final piece to add more detail. 

I also really liked her pieces where she screen printed writing onto silk scarves. This has inspired me in my own ambition to create a series of printed fabrics inspired by handwriting. I could also try combing this with the stitch technique.

I was pleased with how my cyanotype experimentation I did. I like how the white writing really stands out against the blue background. This has inspired my idea for my final outcome because I really want the writing to stand out in this way in my prints. I could do this by using white ink on a coloured fabric. 

I then explained how I want to try and bring all of these together for my final outcome, through lots of experimentation. I want my pieces of textiles to work as abstract pieces of art singularly as well as collectively together. My main concept is to create textiles that portray writing as a genuine form of art and abstract pattern. Therefore the writing wil not be able to be read fully allowing the reader/viewer to see my work and make their own meaning.

Later today I went and did some prints for my experimentation. 

I did monoprints working from the poem again.

Originally I wrote it out on tracing paper and flipped it writing over it to make sure that the writing was the correct way round since monoprinting created the design flipped. However this technique was extremely difficult attempting to write backwards which made the work a lot less expressive as I had to concentrate quite a lot. 

The result of this was that the writing still wasn’t very neat and not the effect I was looking for.

Therefore I tried writing normally giving the effect of flipped writing which I actually preferred. I think this worked much better because the writing was much more natural and flowing giving a nicer, neater effect. For this one I also found that the writing came out much more defined and I think this was because the ink was left to dry a bit longer.

I experimented with different coloured inks and I found that some worked better than others. I think for the bottom picture the ink was too wet which is why the writing wasn’t as defined.

I also experimented with coloured paper.

These ones came out well I used a fine liner for these which I think helped with the defined outcome.

I also liked these ones with the combination of bright pink and black.

I found this experimentation really useful and I was happy with some of the outcomes. I think I will use these prints in some collage work I want to do.

FMP journal 25

FMP reflective journal

Wednesday 26/04/17

Today I started by going back through my sketchbook and adding bits of annotation and presentation which I have missed out to make sure my sketchbook and research is complete as Sarah advised me to.

I have also done another artist research page on Miriam Londoño. She is an artist who uses writing in her art but in more of a 3D way, this is why I wanted to research her because I haven’t done anything 3D related so far. She used her work to communicate ideas such as migration, communication and social exclusion. She uses paper pulp as her medium and spreads it in a way that reflects writing then lets it harden created a strong sculptural surface. Due to the peculiarities of this writing technique the text becomes tangled and cannot be read fully.

One influence for her work is letters. She says the words become tangled making the writing illegible meaning she can work with intimate personal memories which I find an interesting concept. 

She also works from people’s names for example in this piece Trapped it is formed to the names of hundreds of people that were kidnapped in Columbia in 2008. I really like how the shadows from her pieces are created on the walls which really add to the effect of her 3D work. 

She also works from testimonies, in this one she includes the stories of 30 women displaced by violence in Columbia, each sheet of paper is a personal story. I really like how this one is hanging in a way that people can walk through it. This adds a really nice interactive element with the audience and art.

Another thing which inspires her is stories this one in particular is about immigrants from Columbia in Holland. 

I really like how she transforms pieces of writing into 3D pieces of art which can have interactive elements. He style is really interesting to me and I love the shadows that are created. This has inspired me to experiment with 3D elements within the experimentation of my own project.

FMP journal 24

FMP reflective journal

Tuesday 25/04/17

Today I began by doing some work in the style of Jackson Pollock. He uses the technique of dripping paint onto the canvas to create very expressive paintings. In order to experiment with this in my work I tried dripping the paint whilst writing the poem onto the page. 

To create this I watered down red and black acrylic paint and let it drip off of the palette knife whilst moving it in the motion of the words in the poem. This created the poem in a very abstract way because it doesn’t look much like a poem at all. However I find it interesting how when looking closely there are elements of writing and words which can be made out. Although not my favourite technique I have used so far I still like it as an abstract technique and I think it could be effective to try this combined with some of my more refined work.  

I have found some more interesting research from a arts newspaper I was given a while ago. It had a piece in it by Sally Morfill and Ana Čavić called The Naturalness of Strange Things. I decided to research into it further for this project. It is a series of works responding to Henri Michaux’s drawing Alphabet. Morfill (mis) translated some of Michaux’s writing work trying to capture unfamiliar graphic marks with the speed and fluidity of handwriting. I found this interesting as I have been looking at handwriting in a sense that can’t be read and is a form of mark making. These redrawn lines were also cut from vinyl sheets to turn into small scale sculptures. “Each of Čavić’s proms is a formation of meaningful, albeit tangled, writings out of the same set of meaningless (in the sense that they cannot be read and understoof as language) fragments of drawing. In their undoing- as the careful reader unpicks their legible forms and gleans meanings- the fluid peons revert back and forth between sculpture and concrete poetry, evading and sometimes defying any definition of reading.” This related to me because this links to my concept of allowing the reader/viewer to make their own meaning of my work and to unpick my work through looking for areas and elements they can read and make meaning from. This was useful as some extra background research to relate to my project and ideas.

Later today I had my progress tutorial with Sarah explaining what inbad done so far and where I was up to in my project. This was useful to go through my project and find out what needs to be added/made better. Overall she said she was happy with how my project was going which was great for reassurance for me as I have been getting a little bit stressed recently thinking I haven’t done enough and that I won’t get it all done. We spoke about what I should aim to do next and I now need to complete the final stages of my research ensuring that all my book is annotated to allow me to really start pulling together ideas. I’m also going to look at what I’ve done so far and find which areas are the best in my opinion and pull it all together working towards a final idea and outcome. I will do this by evaluating each area/piece and explore areas I like further possibly considering a combination of skills and techniques as well as ways of producing original pieces with my own style to work towards final outcomes. This really helped me to know what I need to be doing and working with now in order to push my project further and it gave me more confidence in my project. I am happy with where I am at and how I am moving forward into my own personal style. I have taken on board all of the advice Sarah has given me and this has motivated me to work really hard on what it is I am doing for the next couple of weeks.

FMP journal 23

FMP reflective journal

Monday 24/04/17

Today I began by creating another piece in the style of Simon Hantai in my sketchbook.

I used a wide range of different pens and pencils for this one layering the writing up each time. I did this to experiment even further with looking into colour. I liked the effect of this one as I like the contrast of smaller more delicate writing on top of the thick marker pens. However I think the colour in this one might beat it too much, I think to improve I should just try to stick to one or two tones of the same colour rather than using a lot of different ones all together, I think this would be more effective. 

I then went on the computers to do some research as I was feeling a little bit lost for ideas. I went on to my Pinterest board full of ideas I have saved for this project to see if I could get some inspiration. I found a piece that I thought could link in well after my visual diary I created with my Scotland pictures. It was images from Kurt Jacksons sketchbook. He paints landscapes and in some of the paintings he includes annotations within the painting itself, making the writing become part of the art. I found this interesting as it incorporates the thoughts he was having at the time within the painting. He also calls his sketchbook his visual diary so I thought this would link nicely to my visual diary I created.

I then decided to work in a similar style to his with my photos from Scotland.

I created these by sticking down some of my favourite pictures from the trip in my sketchbook then working on top of and around these in a similar style to how Kurt Jackson works. I used acrylic paint with a palette knife and also some watercolour paint. I then worked on top of this by writing part of the diary I wrote that related to the picture on top to illustrate my feelings and thoughts that were happening whilst I was there. I found this useful because it challenged me to try out a technique that I have not used so far in this project and it is quite different to the rest of my work. I think overall they are successful as pieces however I do think I prefer the writing in my work when they are layered and a lot more scribbley because this gives the work much more abstract effect. I like the addition of visual elements such a photographs and think it can be effective however I think I prefer the simplicity of writing as art on its own without the addition of imagery. The focus of my project has been on writing as a significant form of art therefore I don’t want to steer away from that too much by introducing imagery. Therefore I think it would be better to just look at writing in my project rather than combining it with photos as this might take away some of the effect of the writing. However this was useful for me to explore and I do really like the technique of expressive painting and the colours used in this way.

I also found another artist on Pinterest that I want to include in my project, Miriam Londono. 

She creates lots of piece which include writing through using paper pulp to create a strong structure. She takes inspiration from stories, letters and names. I really like how she takes writing into a 3D element and this is something I think I could experiment with in my project.