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 30

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.


My Work

This is the second project I have completed which I need to catch up with on here. Like my previous post this will be fairly brief with mainly photos of my work for the project and short comments to accompany. For this project we were given a range of titles to choose from and I went for the title ‘grids’. I thought this would be a good project for me to work on my passion for surface pattern design.


Initial title page

For my primary research I looked at a lot of architectural/man-made elements containing grids. I worked from these looking at the pattern in the photos.


I started to look at more natural forms of grids, and I was interested in how the silhouette of a tree creates a pattern in the sky. When all the branches overlap the shapes in between can be seen as grids. I worked from these photos in acrylic.



For my secondary research I looked at 3 elements of grids; architectural, natural and mark making.




I decided to focus my project on the natural side of grids because I like how its a less obvious way of looking at grids. To start this off I took some photos using a macro lens of some of the patterns within leaves, as the veins create an interesting linear pattern when we look closer.


To look at things in more of an abstract way I experimented with mark making techniques.


More experimentation with expressive abstract mark making


More development


Artist research for abstract pattern element

Experimentation with bleach and pattern, as well as introducing colour.


Looking more into drawing the patterns within leaves


Primary drawings looking at tone, line and colour


Looking at the detail in leaves and experimenting with stitch, bleach and soluble fabric


Introducing colour as a way to create abstract pattern


Creating abstract patterns using ink and oil pastel


Introducing trees as a form of grids in nature as well as leaves and working in oil pastel


Enter a caption


My own photos and working from them in ink and oil pastel


Working from my photos of trees in a similar expressive style as I did previously using acrylic, ink and oil pastel

I then experimented with lino printing, working from the photos I had taken to create the pattern. I layered the pattern using different colours and I was really happy with how these turned out.


Initial experimentation


Experimentation with lino prints on grid paper


Experimentation with lino prints on fabric


Final development for lino prints


Artist research for print


Working in the style of the artist


More abstract artist research

This artists work inspired me to work more using soluble fabric because I really like the effect it creates.


Contextual element looking into climate change

I decided to look into climate change to add a contextual element to my project because of how it can really have a negative effect on the growth of nature.


Drawings of decaying nature


Artist research on using recycled materials

For my final outcome I wanted to combine some of the techniques I had previously worked with. I wanted to work with the lino prints, bleach, recycled materials and soluble fabric with stitch.


My final piece combining all the techniques

Details of my final piece. I was really happy with how this turned out because I think that all the elements work really well together and combined create an interesting piece symbolising the effects of climate change on nature and what we can do to target this.


To add a further element to my project I added the title ‘Barriers and Boundaries’


Continuing my theme of decay through boundaries by looking at rust


I was interested in looking at how nature grows within boundaries climbing and growing up them. I thought this could be used to symbolise how nature fights back against man-made objects because of the climate change they have helped to cause. Nature still grows and lives even when boundaries are decaying and destroyed.


Artist research for things growing within boundaries







For my final piece for this part of the project I decided to put my collage piece back into the boundaries where nature has began taking over. I took various photographs from different angles of this and I was really happy with the outcome.




Load Of Balls

My Work

This post is well overdue and I am well aware that in my previous post I said I’d try to get at least one post done a month, which clearly never happened… Time has flown by and I can’t believe that I am now beginning my final major project of my foundation degree. There has now been two whole projects that I have completed but not written about on here, which is A LOT of work! In order to keep my blog up to date I have decided to just include all of the work I did within the two projects in two big posts. This means I wont be able to write in detail about all the work, however prepare for many many photos…

The title of this post may seem a bit strange but don’t worry it’s just the first project I did titled ‘Load Of Balls’.


‘Load Of Balls’ title page and brainstorming ideas

I always like to kick-start my projects by looking for inspiration on certain themes on sites like Pinterest and creating mood boards/collages of ideas.

Firstly I took some photos for my primary research of any spherical/circular objects I could find in my house.


Some more photos I took looking at circular elements in nature. I worked from one of the photos using brightly colored inks.


Experimentation with sewing techniques and fashion

This was my first introduction to the sewing machines at college, and I was shown a few new techniques including shirring with elastic thread. I really liked this technique because it could make some interesting circular patterns and 3D effects in the fabric.


Experimentation with 3D materials


Dawn Dupree- textiles artist who uses print and collage

My artists research inspired me to work on my own print and collage work which I previously wrote a blog post on.

I decided to start focusing my project on fruit as this is a natural form and a lot of the time fruit are ‘ball’ shaped. I was also interested in looking at the patterns and colours found within the inside of fruit when cut in half. So I took a collection of photos of different fruits to look more closely into this theme.

I then worked from these photos using a range of mediums such as watercolour, ink, pencil, and also stitch on fabric. This was in order to look more closely at the patterns and colours.


I then photocopied some of my drawings multiple times and layered them to experiment with repeat patterns.

Another artist research page and working in the same style.


Looking more at patterns extracted from kiwi, passion fruit and dragon fruit using inks.



I then used a website called Prinfab to scan in my designs and send them off to be printed onto fabric. This helped me to get and idea of scale and practise with different repeat pattern designs.

Artist research which I worked from in ink and charcoal. I then photocopied this and used part of it to experiment by stitching into the drawing to add in more detail.

I experimented by using the physical fruit (grapefruit and kiwi) to print with to see what the effect of this would be. I then experimented by working on top of these using stitch and monoprint.

To experiment further I scanned in the fruit prints and changed the colours to create lots of bright versions. I then layered all of the coloured versions on top of each other to create these patterns. Again I sent these off to Prinfab to create big fabric pieces.

Experimenting with 3D shapes and fabric.

For my final piece I wanted to combine two of the designs I had previously created when working from my fruit photography. I wanted the colours from the dragon fruit design and the linear pattern from the kiwi design, so I drew a new design to combine the two. I then put the design into Prinfab with a repeat pattern. I also wanted to incorporate a 3D element to my fabric like I had previously looked at using a layer of organza and creating balls in the fabric.


My final piece.


More up close details of my final piece.

Overall I was happy with how the project went and although there were a few things I would’ve changed to my final piece I think I learnt a lot of new techniques and processes within this project.

This project also helped me to realise that I would like to focus my practise more on textiles, which has ended up being the course I have applied for at university. I made sure within this project that I experimented with a lot of textiles techniques in order to widen my knowledge and ability as well as help to expand my portfolio.

Thanks for reading, and the next post will be on my second project ‘Grids’.


Creating bold prints

My Work

Although so far, this is only my second post on this blog, it has taken me ages to get around to doing it. I think I may have slightly underestimated the work load I would be expected to do for my foundation degree, as well as how long things would take. Thinking creatively and coming up with new ideas is something I have always loved and been something that kind of comes naturally to me, however its still something that I can get out of practise with and it can be tough to get back into. My life’s been pretty hectic recently and time management hasn’t been a strength of mine. However I am determined to get back into the swing of things, and make writing blog posts part of my routine, I am going to aim for at least one post a month from now on.

Anyway, on to the actual blog post regarding some of the work I have done recently. At college we took part in a printing exercise to get us being expressive, and not caring too much about being neat. I love being expressive with my artwork, and actually its something that I find a lot easier than creating something very neat and accurate. I much prefer viewing abstract art with strong, energetic brushstrokes and marks so I have made this part of my own practise as it is something I feel a lot more passionate about. Therefore I found this exercise extremely enjoyable, because it was encouraged that we let loose and create something that includes abstract patterns. For the printing we had to bring in any found objects that were circular/spherical, as this is what our upcoming project would based

We were instructed to produce lots of printed surfaces to later collage together for one final piece. I used a range of surfaces including newspaper, tissue paper, calico fabric, coloured paper and even tin foil. Something I have always considered an integral part to my artwork is that it includes captivating textures, so that people feel drawn to touching and feeling the work, as this is something I personally love doing. Another thing I always want to be present in my work is striking colour. This is so important to me since I intend my work to be bold and abstract, so colour is something that is a key part for me. Therefore I was determined my print work would include lots of colour and texture. We printed using a range of acrylic paints with the circular found objects, creating interesting patterns.image3sketchbook-2

I decided to use a colour scheme of bright pinks and yellows, with details in black and blue. Firstly I prepared the surface by either using a palette knife or a big brush to give a background for my prints to be applied to. I used objects such as bottle tops, plastic cups , bubble wrap and small pennies to print with, layering big circles with smaller ones and adding some intriguing patterns to the paper.


I loved doing this and I feel that colour and texture is a strength of mine, which I think I improved at during the session. Once all of the pieces I created were collaged together I think all of the prints really worked well together and the artwork as a whole was successful. I think the print has a kind of space-age feel to it with the bright, neon colours and tin foil next to more detailed and energetic circular prints in bold black paint.


Things got quite messy at college on print day…


The final outcome

Overall I loved doing the prints, and the final outcome is something I am quite proud of as I think it is something I could include in my portfolio. I think this type of print is something that would be perfect for use in bold fashion pieces or even within interior design to add interest and an abstract artistic element. This is something I think I will try a lot more of within not only my projects but also my personal artwork.