Discussing Design with Zoe

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Today on the Inspiration series, let’s welcome Zoe from ZRA Designs!

She’s a bright and aspiring graphic designer, who combines her love for creativity and design in her work. I like the bold colours, and vitality in each piece- whether it’s a logo, a pattern etc. I also appreciate how open she is to learning new things in her chosen field- being open to absorb knowledge is so important for a designer to progress!

She answered some questions about her creative process and how she operates her biz while juggling university at the same time! It’s quite a good read – especially if you’re starting out in your artistic endeavour, or you’re struggling with what you have on your plate, as a designer. Zoe might just make you rethink your process.

Read on to hear what she has to say!

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Zoe. I am from Melbourne, Australia and I am 18 years old, turning 19 very soon. I have a love and passion for all things design and art. I work part-time as a graphic designer, designing logos and stationary for people as part of my ZRA Designs business; I also do a lot of ‘home projects’ and small DIY jobs for myself. I am currently at Monash University studying interior architecture and learning so many amazing new skills with a great group of people.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.comHow did you get started in graphic design?

In year 11 and 12, I studied media and visual communication and design. I completed my certificate 3 in media and was eager to learn more. I have always had a thirst for knowledge and a love of learning, by completing the media course and watching endless tutorials on how to improve my digital skills I discovered how much I loved graphic design, however, ever since I was young I have had a love for interior design and architecture, which is why I am studying at Monash in order to pursue both of my dreams.


Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Could you give us a glimpse in a typical day in your life?

On a regular day I wake up in the morning and start on some graphic design work for a client or for myself, then I catch the train to uni, I then spend about 3 hours there for a design studio class, I then make my way home and continue working on my interior architecture tasks and once those are finished I continue on with my graphic design jobs. I often will have dinner with family or friends chatting, catching up and spending time with them, and then head to bed and get ready for another day.

Where do you see yourself in a few years?

In a few years, I would love to be working as an interior architect at an architecture or interior design firm; whilst also running my own graphic design company.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

What motivates and inspires you the most?

The things that motivate me the most are definitely the people around me. My sisters, parents the rest of my extended family and close friends are all such important parts of my life. They constantly help to motivate me and keep my spirits up. The things that inspire me the most are great design and my friends from university, they constantly give me ideas – whether we are collaborating or working individually and they also recommend other artists and designers I should look up.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

How long has making and designing been your hobby? How did you think you could convert your hobby into a business?

I’d say probably from the age of about 14 I began photography classes and design classes, and this fostered a love of art. Also, at this age I started going online and creating floor plans of different ‘dream houses’ I would like to live in. I used an online program, which enabled me to see my house in 2D plan form as well as 3D. At the end of my year 12 year, I decided that I would convert my hobby into a business. I created a Facebook, Instagram and website in order to spread the word amongst my friends, with the support of those around me, I have been able to make my dream a possibility.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

What are your favourite food, colour and flower?

My favourite food is pasta, my favourite colour is turquoise and my favourite flower is a lily.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Some favourite themes and art topics inspiring you at the moment?

Some themes and topics inspiring me at the moment would have to be technology and the idea behind the ‘virtual world’ and the way in which so many people are engrossed constantly by their phones. Another one is the idea of transition spaces and thresholds (referred to as heterotopia), which I find very intriguing.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

How do you balance your creative business along with regular life?

Balancing my creative business along with regular life can be very difficult at times, especially because my university workload is quite heavy, but I manage it because I’m doing what I love. I try to make sure I talk and catch up with my friends and family and organize to do things with them when I can, even if it’s something small like going for a walk or to the local coffee shop. I find that because my family and friends help to motivate and inspire me if I didn’t have the work life balance my work wouldn’t be as successful.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

 

What are some brand values that you convey to every customer?

Some brand values include ZRA Designs being unique, original and innovative, but also reliable and secure. In graphic design, you are essentially being hired to create a visual identity for someone else’s company and it is very important that as a designer I become someone the client can trust to do a good job and to listen to their feedback.Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

What would an ideal day be like for you?

An ideal day would be a nice sleep-in the morning and then getting up and going for a walk or run, then experimenting with some new graphics on my computer, going to uni, seeing my friends, then to finish off the day I’d have dinner with my family and read a book before going to bed.

 

How would you describe your design style?

I would describe it as innovative and contemporary.

 

Any advice for aspiring designers out there?

My biggest advice is just keep working hard, you will get there eventually it’s a tough industry but if you love it you will never stop learning, you will discover so many new skills and amazing people (artists, designers and friends) who will help keep you inspired and motivated.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Who are some of your biggest inspirations in the field of design?

I am inspired by so many different types of artists. My ultimate favourite artist is Jack Vanzet, his work is incredible and he works with a lot of musicians which I love. Another inspiration for me is James Turrell, who works with colour, light and space. Also, another inspiration to me is Sarah McCloskey who draws and paints portraits – but with her own unique twist.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Does the city you live in inspire your work in any way?

Yes of course, Melbourne has been named the most liveable city in the world for the fifth year running and I am so grateful to live in such an amazing place. There’s beauty everywhere and therefore always something to take a photo of, a sunset, the ocean, a lovely park etc. Nature and the environment around me inspire my work. I couldn’t ask for a better place to be based.

Discussing Design with Zoe- an art interview with ZRA Designs about her art, via www.opinion9.com

Thanks, Zoe, for giving us a glimpse into your creative process! Wishing you all the best ahead! -Aaria

Find Zoe and her work on her website, instagram and facebook!

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Coastal Ceramics with Katie

ceramic

Hello! Today we have the very lovely and talented Katie Robbins on this edition of the Opinion9 Inspiration series. Her work is just so mesmerizing, and peaceful. Katie makes ceramics inspired by the sea and its beauty. There are shades of azure blues, quiet indigos and serene whites, if you can imagine the colours in your mind. I love the simplicity with which her work really captures the essence of the coast – with just the form, texture and colour speaking volumes. Katie’s photography and her vision with which she creates her designs are also very impeccable and distinctive.

Read on to hear what she has to say.unnamed-3

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hi, I’m Katie from KT Robbins Ceramics. I make a variety of porcelain vessels and accessories for the home as well as individually designed pieces of jewellery, inspired by the coast natural world. I love working with clay to produce mainly functional as well as decorative forms and shapes.

 

I love your minimal and naturally cool style! Do you have a particular theme for each batch  of ceramics you create? Is it planned or more spontaneous?

A lot of my work is influenced by patterns in nature, often relating to the coast and sea, such as the crest of a wave, sea-foam and even the raised circles on a sea urchin. I have done collections relating to the coast, which is a theme that I am still exploring.earthy ceramics with katie robbins

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What was the hardest (and easiest) part while starting your business?

The hardest part of starting a business was having the courage to start and give it a go. But I had (and have) lots of creative ladies in my circle, as well as a supportive partner, who encouraged me to give it a go. I used to work in PR and marketing, and had some interior design clients, but felt that I didn’t want to continue with that after having children. The easiest part of starting this business was having that knowledge and the inside track of knowing the importance of having a strong brand, as well as some of the styling tips I gained on-the-job to create good photography and support material. But ironically I haven’t written a single press release about my ceramics since I have set up on my own.
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What makes you the happiest in your creative process?

I love it when a new idea works. I slip-cast most of my work which means that I build an original shape and then create a mould of it. I can spend several days creating a new shape and it is not until it has come out of the final firing that you can be sure how things are going to turn out.  I also love the chemistry of glazes – which in combination can produce exciting and unexpected results. There is always an element of chance during the final firing, and there is nothing more exciting then unloading the kiln to see if what you had hoped for has happened.

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(Katie’s workspace is just beautiful. Love the wood, white walls and all the little elements that work so well here – the potted plants, the pictures, the storage too!)

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Could you give us a glimpse in a typical day at work?

I must admit that I don’t have a typical day as it really depends on what needs doing. I am normally juggling working around family life. This means that as soon as I get up I am checking emails, and am actively promoting new or existing products on social media. After school drop-off and finishing any household chores then I have around five hours of studio time, which is located next to my house. My priority is to work on shapes that I have cast on a previous day as the clay dries out and there is an optimum time to shape and decorate it. I will also cast up new shapes, sand down my work ready, and glaze work ready for a final firing.

I also have some afternoons where I work in a collective studio as I find it really helps to be able to have a peer group, which you can ask for advice or just be a little sociable with.

I leave the house at 3 to pick up the children from school and in between making them tea and helping with homework I am finishing off any projects from the day, packing up goods, or taking photography for my shop or blog pages.

And after the kids are in bed later in the evening I will quite often spend time writing features, catch up with more admin or join in Twitter chats as a way of self-development. As a sole trader there is always so much to learn about how we can market ourselves and improve our business.

By the way I always make time for lunch in my working day. I can’t concentrate on an empty stomach.

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What qualities are needed to keep up and also enjoy running a creative business?

I think you have to always want to learn and self-improve. I quite often take part in courses, on-line and in person to always be taking myself to the next level. Running your own artisan craft business it’s essential to take good photographs and I’m just about to go on a course to improve this. This term I’m also doing a course in wheel work, as I love the simple shapes of hand-thrown forms.

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Where do you see yourself in a few years?

I would like to see my brand grow in recognition and I would like to be stocked by more art galleries and independent shops. Up until now, I haven’t had a chance to concentrate on building a range specifically for these markets.

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What motivates and inspires you the most?

I find feedback immensely motivating. Also, talking with my friends who are passionate about ceramics – about their projects as well as my own.

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How long has making ceramics been your hobby? How did you think you could convert your hobby into a business?

I have been interested in ceramics since my school days; and often did courses at night school whilst I was working. I thought I could convert my hobby into a business after entering and selling a vase in an open exhibition at the MAC, a local arts centre. I realized then that people would pay money to buy what I could make.

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Just for fun: What is your favourite: colour, food and flower?

My favourite colour is a tricky one. I think it has to be blue – the colour of the sea, the sky and agapanthus which covers off my favourite flower too. And my favourite food has to be crab.

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What are some themes are particularly inspiring you at the moment?

I love the revival that we are seeing in houseplants and macramé. It is so beneficial and beautiful for us to have greenery in our lives and I’m really championing this in my creative work at the moment.

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Thanks, Katie, for this glimpse in your creative process! Wishing you all the best ahead! -Aaria

You can find Katie and her beautiful work over on her website, etsy and on instagram.

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Colours + Patterns with Charles of Lloyd

Colours + Patterns with Charles of Lloyd

Hello! Today on the Inspiration series, we have Charlotte Lloyd, the creative mind behind Charles of Lloyd. She creates the most colourful and quirky designs on home ware- and these vibrant patterns and tropical vibes can definitely brighten up any room! When I saw her website, I had to contact her to get some insight on her colourful process! She’s persistent and a real go-getter.

I like her distinctive pieces and more than that, I was just impressed by her whole outlook on finding inspiration, her can do attitude and her methodical routine- to create such a varied range of colours and patterns. Read on to hear what she has to say!

Please tell me a little bit about yourself. 

My name is Charlotte Lloyd; I am the founder and designer behind ‘Charles of Lloyd’, which is a London based homeware brand. I am a self-taught textiles designer. In 2012, I left a career in fashion and licensing to pursue my love for pattern. I create fun, vibrant textiles prints that aim to raise a smile and project a positive approach to design.

Colours + Patterns with Charles of Lloyd

A little insight on your company name ‘Charles of Lloyd’?

It’s a bit of a spin on my actual name and a nickname that had been thrown around in the past. Having a very British surname really helped to play on the formal nature of the brand name and give it a sense of heritage. It gives the impression there is a rich history as it almost sounds a bit regal, but in essence its sums up the history of my family history, journey and making.

Colours + Patterns with Charles of Lloyd

I love your colourful creations on cushions and bags! Do you have a particular theme for each batch of design you dream up? Is it planned or more spontaneous?

Thank you! Well I am on the cusp of launching my second range and while I’m still learning where my comfort zone is in the design process, I don’t think the learning ever stops. My initial range was very off the cuff and around images and subjects that at the time were of interest. There were various designs that were so well received I have put a twist on them to carry them forward into the new line.  The second range was more around  tropical summer feel, based on the time of year it was launching to hit spring/summer trade shows.

They all begin with doodles and lots of magazine clipping to make colour pallets from. While I have only just launched the second range, I already have a plan around a colour palette of primary colours for the next range. I’d say a lot of the early planning is around colour rather then print, but in the excitement it’s easy to deviate!

Colours + Patterns with Charles of Lloyd

What was the hardest (and easiest) part while starting your business?

For me, I was starting a business whilst learning a trade at the same time. I had a very real gut feeling that this was something I had to explore, but had to juggle this learning along side paid work to get to a point where it felt like a real possibility – rather then an experiment. I think research is key and you should feel confident in asking as many experienced people for pointers, help and suggestions as that can save you months.

The hardest part is to keep going. It can be very testing running a business. I’d advise surrounding yourself with the positive people in your life. I also read a lot of designer interviews that inspire me to keep going on things like design files, design sponge etc. They are priceless.

Colours + Patterns with Charles of Lloyd

What makes you the happiest in your creative process?

When I get samples and fabric back. It’s like Christmas when you see your design become a real tangible thing. It’s always so nerve racking as well, but that’s what makes you feel alive and kicking right? Hearing that someone likes something you have made is always a lovely feeling too. It’s those little memos that really do keep you chipping away at it. I see Charles of Lloyd as a bit of a left field brand. It’s a bit bonkers and playful, so to know there are people that relate means it’s resonating with strangers. What’s not to love about that!

Colours + Patterns with Charles of Lloyd

Colours + Patterns with Charles of Lloyd

Could you give us a glimpse in a typical day at work?

-Wake up at 8 with a fair idea of my jobs list for the day having thought about it before bed. Scan my emails on my phone so I know of anything vital.

-Make a nice juice as we just got an exciting juicer (nerdy i know) or my boyfriend and I walk to ‘Expresso Hut’ on Chatsworth road. Best coffee going FYI!

-Mornings -10 – 1 – The days can be really varied from shooting new products for the website (to get the best morning light), fulfilling and packing orders, answering emails, giving comments on samples. Only yesterday, I got asked to look at making some bags for a wedding in LA, so my inbox often has some really fun surprise projects in store. I also just started trading on Not on the High Street so I am waiting to see how this will effect the admin element of my day.

-Have lunch around 1-2. I live just off the vibrant Chatsworth road in Hackney, so there are always great places to grab a snack or get supplies to cook at home. My boyfriend is the chef in our home so he tends to whip something fab up to keep us going as we both work from home.

-Afternoons can entail the more admin based stuff like –  revising pricing, working on the website, researching or visiting new suppliers, trade shows, shops, or visiting workshops etc.

-Generally we finish up about 6/7 and try and consciously close the door on the studio. But it’s never that simple and can often be a late one. Some days I will try and fit in a swim or a coffee with a friend to break it up.

Colours + Patterns with Charles of Lloyd

What qualities are needed to keep up and also enjoy running a creative business?

Perseverance definitely, you need a really strong mind to keep going. There will be lots of exciting little things that lift you up but they fade. You need focus to keep pushing through to the next big milestone. Passion is essential; as without that unconditional need to do what you are doing – it will be harder to keep going. Organisation is also key. Working with people requires the ability to make your interaction with them as easy and effortless as possible. Make peoples’ lives easy by being organised.

Colours + Patterns with Charles of Lloyd


Where do you see yourself in a few years?

I’ve been in London for 12 years now so I think a move to the seaside is in the works. I am also about to train as an upholsterer as an additional leg to my business. So in 2 years, I would hope to be running this arm of my practice – offering my fabrics across an array of beautiful vintage chairs and items.

 

Colours + Patterns with Charles of Lloyd

Colours + Patterns with Charles of Lloyd

What inspires you the most?

My inspiration in terms of designing fabrics really comes from all over the place: from exhibitions, photographs, magazine tear outs for colour palletes, charity shops for vintage fabrics and car boot finds. Its just about being open-minded every time you leave your front door and being equipped to document it whether it’s in notes, photographs or rubbings. I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and Instagram but find this can be detrimental – as it can overwhelm as well.

I also absolutely dig all the amazing African church goers in East London. Every weekend, I see the most insanely beautiful fabrics and colour combinations. Head to toe pattern in every colour under the sun! It makes me feel the way I hope Charles of Lloyd makes people feel. I’d love to do a shoot one day with a selection of these women using COL fabrics. A lot of the fabric they wear is Vlisco – which is a Dutch printer with a rich history in producing these wax fabrics.

Colours + Patterns with Charles of LloydWhat tools do you work with to create your illustrations?

Various types of black ink pens, charcoal, paints and a good sketch book. I either import various marks, doodles and scans into photoshop to construct my prints in layers on screen or do some designing in Illustrator. I also do a bit of hand printing and this is mainly drawing directly onto tracing paper in individual layers, they are then exposed and built up directly onto fabrics using screen printing.

Colours + Patterns with Charles of Lloyd

What present would you like to receive? (any occasion!)

Hmm, that’s a tough one! I don’t generally have items or things that I get hooked on and I’m pretty practical so if it’s got a use, thats always nice. The only thing I have wanted for years is a French Bulldog but that’s one pricey present. Once thing I always always love are scented candles. I burn them daily in our home and am a big fan of wood scented smells.

Colours + Patterns with Charles of Lloyd

Thanks, Charlotte, for a little glimpse into your colourful world at Charles of Lloyd! Wishing you all the best ahead! -Aaria

Find Charles of Lloyd on her shop and here on Instagram.

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