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 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.

FMP journal 22

FMP reflective journal

Wednesday 19/04/17

Whilst I was away in Scotland I kept a bit of a diary to record my thoughts, feelings and emotions on certain days. I also took a lot of photos when I was there and so this inspired me to create a sort of visual diary in my sketchbook. I did this because with looking at the theme of communication at the moment in my project I thought a diary would be a good way to look into this theme more. A diary is a way of writing down anything from what you have done in the day, how it made you feel, what this has changed about you and just any general thoughts, it’s a great way to record on paper what is going through your mind. I didn’t want the diary to just be recording what I did in the day while I was away instead I wanted it to be more about how I felt and emotions because I thought this would give the writing more of a poetic feel which is what I have been focusing on in my project so far. Today I constructed the ‘visual diary’ in my sketchbook by putting in certain photos that I took in my book and linking them to the piece of writing I created whilst I was there. I think this is a great way to physically store memories through a visual diary because even if you forget what has happened or how you were feeling at the time it will always be recorded physically in writing and imagery. I really like the link between written words and imagery in this way because I think it makes the work much more interesting as well as being easier to connect.

Moving forward I would like to work from these photos more in some way and possibly incorporate the writing from the diary in the art somehow. 

I think by including these photos and pieces of writing in my project really helps to give a personal element to my project as I have included my own feelings and emotions connected to a place through my own writing. This kind of work is very different to what I have been studying so far in my project however I think it is good to take into account and experiment with different areas including photography which I haven’t done much of so far, therefore I am happy with how this contributes to the progression of my project.

FMP journal 21

FMP reflective journal

Tuesday 18/04/17

Today I have started another element of research in my project which is looking at writing/language as a form of communication. I was inspired to do this because I found an interesting article about it online. It speaks about how significant language is and how important it is in society to create a sense of community as well as for  social aspects. It talks about how writing/language is both influenced by society and influences society itself. 

“Language is an actor that both shapes and is shaped by the social community in which it plays a significant role.”

I found the article really interesting and thought it would be a good way of adding a bit more depth to my research by adding this extra element. 

I then went on to create a mind map of ideas of how writing is used for communication. 

This included poetry, hand written letters, diaries, songs, stories etc.

Later today we got into groups of 4 with people we don’t usually speak to and talked them through our projects so far, showing them what we have done. I found this really useful because speaking about my ideas out loud to people really helps to make them clearer in my head, as well as this because I hadn’t really spoken to them about my project yet this helped to make me speak about my project in detail explaining all the links. They filled out feedback forms for me each which was useful because they all adviced me on things I could do to improve my project. I was told to look a finnegans wake to add more to my project, as well as Robert Rauchenbergs Erase de Kooning. They also advised me to looking into translating the poem I have been using into different languages/alphabets to give even more of an abstract element, and they told me to experiment with photography processes. So this was very useful. 

After this I went away with the advise I was given and did a bit more research. I thought that including Finnegans wake in my project would be a really good idea as it would just add even more depth and context to my work.

It is a piece of text written in normal English but doesn’t make any literal sense. This means it is left for each reader to make a different interpretation of their meaning. I thought this would fit in nicely with my project so I slotted it in with my earlier research with asemic writing. 

I also did some research on Robert Rauchenbergs Erase de Kooning and inserted this into my project where it was relevant again to show more context.

I then went on to google translate and put in the poem I have been using throughout my project translating it into different languages where they use different alphabets. I wanted to do this so that the words used different symbols for letters to really make sure that I wouldn’t be able to read them so that it is abstract work. I translated into Russian, Korean and Thai and I think I will would from these in similar ways to what I have done so far with the poem but see what affect different alphabets have.

I have found today really useful and think I have made a lot of progress within my project. I now feel like I am getting to where I want to be with my concept, and in order for my project to go further I now think I need to show more experimentation with methods and materials.

FMP journal 20

FMP reflective journal

Monday 17/04/17

Today I carried on with some more artist research. Firstly I did a couple of pages on Cy Twombly as he is an abstract artist. He creates many big painting which use mark making in a scribble-like technique much like what I have been practising with so far. Writing and language serve as major conceptual foundations for his abstract art. In addition to the written word in the form of poems and histories he also focused on the process of writing. He did this by sketching unidentifiable doodles as well as words directly onto the canvas. He also did a lot of line based compositions often inspired by handwriting. 

When in Scotland there was a book called ‘Art and Text’ in one of the galleries I visited and I came across his work in there which inspired me to research gym more.

His work has inspired me to create much bigger and more expressive pieces for this project and I really like how he uses a lot of continuous lines in his work which is also something I enjoy doing.

The next artist I went on to study today was Jackson Pollock, again because he is a very abstract artist which is how I am trying to push my project. My favourite pieces he did was his ‘drip paintings’ because it gives his work such a free sense much like some of the work I did previously on asemic writing. To create them he either put the canvas on the floor or against a wall and he would allow the paint to drip from the paint can and instead of using paint brushes he used knives to carve marks. This form of painting had direct relation to the artists emotions, expressions and mood as this influenced how he would allow the paint to drop. I really like this element as I think work which is somehow left to chance gives so much more meaning and is much more interesting to look at. 

I really like his work and how abstract it is because this leaves the work mainly up to interpretation for the audience which is something I hope to achieve. I would like to experiment with this dripping style in my own work possible trying it with writing as I think this could be an interesting method. I also really like his use of bold colour. 

By studying these two artists I have realised that I really want my project to be abstract in some way. I want it to still vaguely look like writing and still have a sense of being written words, however I want them to have a strong element of mark making and abstract expression as this is what I find most visually stimulating for myself. 

FMP journal 18

FMP reflective journal

Saturday 15/04/17

Another artist research I have done is on Simon Hantai who is a French artist. 

He created a canvas over the period of a year and he wrote and rewrote texts that were dear to him, day after day on the huge canvas. He superimposed and layered the texts until they were illegible, using inks of different colours which created the pink colour that appears mostly. I wanted to study his work because I liked how he uses a lot of layering of writing which makes the writing become illegible lines and scribbles similar to what I have been experimenting with so far. I was also attracted to his use of colour as this is something that is really important to me in my own work so I want this to be prominent in my own work. 

I experimented in the same style as this artist. For this piece I wrote out the poem I have been using throughout my project being very expressive with the writing and layering up the writing over and over. I also used a range of different colours of marker pens to create this piece which I think was a successful technique as it gives the work much more of an artistic feel. I am happy with how this piece turned out overall and I think I will experiment further with this styles possibly trying with more colours, scales and materials. 

I then experimented with layering in a different way through the use of tracing paper to give an extra layer of writing. I firstly did a piece of writing in a similar style as before straight onto the page using black pen, and coloured markers. I then did another piece of writing on a piece of tracing paper using black marker and different coloured markers. I think this layered affect was a good experiment and gave a good effect. I like how some of the text is visible underneath through the tracing paper which gives the piece more depth. I also think this technique helps to make the writing much more illegible which is the effect I am looking for.

More experimentation

I would also like to experiment with this on big a piece by doing pieces of writing each day in a similar style to how the artist worked as I think this would be interesting to experiment with.

FMP journal 14

FMP reflective journal

Tuesday 4/04/17

Today I moved onto another artist research page in my sketchbook. This time I was researching J.B.Murray who was a self taught artist. He originally was an illiterate sharecropper who had a religious vision which lead him to create many abstract piece of art and asemic script. He claimed that God told him to create the letters and it was the language of the Holy Spirit. He worked with continuous line and mark making, where he let the weight of the instrument define the mark. He rotated the paper, did it with his eyes shut and swapped hands. His work contains a lot of ambiguity as it isn’t certain which way round the work should be viewed and there isn’t any specific meaningful content to the work. Therefore his work can be different to anyone and is accessible to all regardless of their language. I really like this element to his work as the art could mean something completely different to one person as it does to someone else. This is something that I would love to achieve in my own artwork.

I then began creating some of my own pieces working in the same way. I researched that ‘automatic writing’ is an alleged psychic ability to produce written words without any conscious thought. This is what I thought I would try to get a sense of the technique J.B. Murray uses. 

For this first piece I used black marker pen over areas of tissue paper stuck down. I didn’t consciously think about what shapes/letters I wanted to create instead I just let my hand flow freely and let the pen take control of what was created. 

I then used red pencil, pink fine liner and black marker for this one because I wanted to try and add some colour to this work. I started by creating small shapes/marks with the red pencil and the pink fine liner. Again I wasn’t consciously thinking about what I was creating but letting the object take control. I think it is interesting that this turned out much more controlled and smaller because the pen/pencil I used for this part was a lot smaller than the previous black marker I used, this could be the reason for the smaller effect. At moments I closed my eyes and turned the page round writing on top of what I had already done, as well as trying bigger marks with the red pencil. I then worked on top of this with the same black marker as before and again the motions and marks became much bigger and expressive. This time the marks were very straight and linear, in a continuous line style.

For this last piece I used the same technique again of subconsciously writing/mark making through changing direction of the paper and closing my eyes. I used a combination of pink marker, black marker and black fine liner. This time the marks were all over the page rather than horizontal lines like usual writing would be, I think this makes this piece a lot less writing and can be viewed much more easily as art/pattern. As well as this I found that this time I used a lot more continuous lines rather than broken up shapes which also helped to give more of a arty feel to this piece rather than singular shapes which resemble letters. 

Overall I really like how these turned out as I think they are really abstract. I’d like the continue with this technique or similar techniques throughout my project as I think the combination of expressive work with pieces of writing can be really effective. I think it would be useful to try this technique with different mediums as well including paint and maybe collage.