Today’s interview is with emerging designer Sophie Honeybelle, who just after graduating from our Design School had secured her first licensing agreement with Keka Case!
When did your interest in design first start and how did that come about?
I come from a creative family so drawing, painting and being visually creative was a big part of my childhood. It seemed the right progression for me to go on to study Fine Art at university. While on my university course I found my work gravitated naturally towards repeating motifs. I didn’t even realize I was creating surface pattern designs at the time, but looking back it’s all very obvious! I first became aware of and interested in surface pattern design in 2007 – around the time I got Photoshop and Illustrator.
What steps did you take to get to where you are now as a designer?
Back in 2007 I started looking online for information about how to become a surface pattern designer. Unfortunately at the time my searches did not yield much information and so I didn’t pursue it any further. At the time I was focusing my efforts on setting up a business as a jeweller.
Fast-forward five years and I’d been making jewellery for about a decade and fancied a change. I started looking into surface pattern design again and found the ABSPD e-course. It looked perfect for my needs so I decided to go for it. I approached someone who’d already taken the course and she raved about it, which further encouraged me. Since I decided to take the ABSPD course I’ve spent many hours at my computer designing, trying to develop my own style.
How would you describe your style?
I’d describe my current style as a mash-up of damask-inspired, 1960s retro with a slightly surrealist edge and a Middle Eastern twist.
What kind of designer do you want to be known as?
Just being known at all would be wonderful!
What are you working on currently?
At the moment I’m preparing a collection of new and largely unseen designs for display on my website, which I’m updating soon. The whole website needs a lick of paint so I’ll be focusing my attention on that for the next couple of weeks.
I’ve just been approached by a new start-up gift-wrap and card company to provide a series of 8 designs, so I’ve been working on preparing files for them.
I’m attending a wedding in April and have decided to design and make my own outfit. This has been a lot of fun and has helped me understand what’s involved in creating clothes.
I’m always working on new designs too. My work changed a lot over the tail end of 2013 and has only really just started to come together.
What advice would you give emerging designers wanting to build their portfolios?
I’m not sure I’m in a position to give advice just yet! But here goes: I’d say just design as much as you can; explore who you are as a designer and make your work with a sense of freedom. Play, experiment and have fun with it.
I think the ‘flow’ (that absolutely magic, beautiful realm where all the design elements come together perfectly) happens for me when I relax and just feel for the direction instinctively. It’s taken me about a year to really understand and develop who I am as a designer. Be true to yourself.
What would be your dream design gig?
I’d love to design for Ikea because I’m a massive fan.
Whenever I visit a store I drool endlessly over their surface pattern design choices.
I’d love to collaborate with a fashion designer. I don’t have specific names just yet, but I’d love to see my designs on clothes and understand in more detail the design and manufacture processes.
I have so many other dream design gigs, but feel I should keep some of them secret!
Looking ahead what are your major goals for the next couple of years?
My major goals are to secure more licenses; build a decent body of work and develop and sell my own products.
If you were a pattern what kind of a pattern would you be and why?
What an interesting question! I’d be an East-meets-West, mosaicy, detailed sort of a pattern with a mixture of muted colours and bright colours. There might be some organic foliage weaving around in the background. I think this would probably adequately reflect my Anglo-Arab background, my introverted but feisty personality and my love of nature and tessellation.
I’m a UK-based Surface Pattern Designer with a Fine Art background. I graduated from Falmouth College of Arts in 2002, where I specialised in painting. After graduation I started making jewellery and set up my own jewellery business in 2009.
In 2012 I decided to explore a new career path of Surface Pattern Design and luckily discovered the e-course The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design, which transformed my business for the better! I graduated from the course and within a few months had secured my first licensing agreement with Keka Case!
Would you like to be featured? We would love to showcase your work, so please do take a look out our submissions page here.