We are so proud of all of our alumni, many have sold work, been licensed and started their own labels which are known all over the world. Today we are featuring Hannah Nunn who speaks of her experience in design and how “The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design” jump started her wallpaper collections
A video from Hannah
What was your motivation for taking ABSPD?
My Surface Pattern design seed was sown when I was at the Do What You Love retreat years ago and listened to Rachael Tayler give a talk about her industry. I remember her talking about how she would sit in her garden drawing plants on a sunny afternoon and by the next day she’s have them scanned into her computer and be turned into colourful patterns which pretty soon would be out in the world on all sorts of products. I liked this idea. I already had lots of motifs to play with and I already had a love of wallpaper so I took the ABSPD to learn how to make my own.
Think back to where you were before taking ABSPD. How far have do you feel you have come on your surface pattern design journey since then?
Well before I took the course I had absolutely no idea how to make patterns or how wallpaper was made. I had never used Adobe Illustrator and never put anything into repeat. Now have my first collection which I am excitedly sending out to customers around the world. It’s has been featured in magazines and blogs and has been exhibited at HOME London.
What was the most important thing you learnt in the course?
The course has such a positive culture to it and really nurtures your belief in yourself and your capabilities. If you want to make wallpaper you can make wallpaper!
Another important point was that when I took the course I thought that having an agent or licensing designs may be the way forward for me. Module three explores all the ways of making money with your designs in great detail and looking carefully at each one made me realize firmly that because I already had a product range and a strong customer base that producing my own products was the right thing for me. Nothing else felt right.
How important was the community aspect of the course? What kind of people did you ‘meet’ through it?
There was/is such a supportive community around the course and we have all helped each other out with various aspects of design and business. It was great to meet up with quite a few graduates at HOME London this January.
How has your work changed since before the course?
I’ve always had to be ‘careful’ with my motifs in my lamps designs because each one has to be laser cut and anything way too intricate becomes very expensive to cut but I LOVE detail so it’s been wonderful to not have these limitations and go wild with repeating intricate designs. Also for the last ten years my work has just been about light and shadow but not colour. Working with colour been an interesting and enjoyable step forward.
How would you describe your brand look, and how did the course help you develop that?
I wanted my brand to be warm, calming and simple and to express that it is nature that inspires me. I wanted my website to have the same effect that my lamps have on people. The course really helped with setting the intention before beginning to design anything. It asked what effect I wanted to achieve with a design.
Since taking the course what kind of work and press coverage have you secured?
My wallpaper has been featured on Design Sponge (that had over four- thousand pins on Pinterest oh my goodness). It’s also been in the Yorkshire Post Home section and I had a brilliant full page feature in Gardens Illustrated Magazine last month.
What challenges have you faced in launching/growing your business and how have you tackled them?
I suppose my biggest challenge has always and still is keeping up with myself! I have so many ideas and plans and a belief that they are all possible to achieve so there is a lot of juggling and just a heck of a lot to do! I do my best to look after myself. I’m thankful I have yoga in my life because I’m not sure how I’d cope without it.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on more wallpaper designs. They are called ‘Woodland Treasures’ and ‘From Tiny Seeds’. They are just at the beginning but they are coming along nicely.
Who are your dream clients?
Oooh wholesale wise I’d love to be selling wallpaper to Liberty or John Lewis but my ideal direct customer made an appearance only last week when she bought six rolls of Charcoal Meadow for her city home in Sweden. She said such kind words about how she and her whole family loved my wallpaper and that it reminded them of special times in their countryside summer house which was surrounded by a grassy meadow. I love this kind of contact with people. It is why I do what I do.
What is next for you?
I love the process of designing and creating wallpaper so I’m very motivated to make this venture work so that I can do more of it. I take a lot of inspiration from walking in the woods and fields where I live and I want to create as much designing/exploring time as I can. I’m currently gearing up my business to create more of that kind of freedom for myself.
I want to create many more designs so that I have a large collection so I need to keep selling. I’m pleased with my web sales but I’m also working on finding some really good stockists and building relationships with interior designers.
In May I’m going to do the ICCF trade show in New York. I’m so excited (and terrified) that I could burst! I would love to find a U.S distributor for my wallpaper. I keep getting asked if I have one so I’d love to find one.
Still time to join us
If you would like to jump start your design career in Surface Pattern Design, we have a new series of classes starting on Monday 24th March. We also have our module 3 starting and our all new module 4 so whether you are a complete beginner, would like to hone in your design skills or get feedback to build your portfolio, there is sure to be a class just for you.
Please take a look at our Design School courses and registration is open here