Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be a surface designer.
Hello! My name is Rosanna and I am a surface pattern designer originally from the Scottish Highlands. I studied at the Glasgow School of Art, where I specialised in print and found my love for surface pattern design. After graduating, I attended the graduate show New Designers, where I met lots of inspiring people across the industry - including the Wallpaper company, Ohpopsi. After receiving their award, I had the opportunity to work with Ohpopsi to produce my first collection of Wallpaper - ‘Glasshouse’. It was such an exciting and rewarding experience to develop the collection with a great team of people and see it all come to life! I am now working as a full-time, in-house, junior surface pattern designer in Liverpool, designing prints and illustrations for homeware and kids.
What influences your art the most?
I have always been inspired by the little joys in the everyday; unexpected pops of colour and pattern whilst walking down the street, blooming plants and flowers in nature, and interactions between people. These simple moments often find their way into my designs through illustration, colour palettes, abstract
shapes, and mark-making.
I am also inspired by exciting brands, designers, and artists. Some of my favourites are Marimekko, Variety Hour, Heather Day, Moglea, Lucy Tiffney, and Studio Proba.
What mediums do you use to create your art?
I use a wide array of mediums and I enjoy mixing things up and experimenting with new media and techniques.
Acrylic and gouache are my favourite mediums for hand-painted designs. I also really enjoy mark making with India ink and playing with shape and colour through collage.
I use Photoshop and Illustrator for digital design work. They enable me to develop my hand-painted elements and textures into repeat patterns and placement prints. I really enjoy the problem-solving aspect of translating designs into repeat patterns!
You have worked with a few different types of companies. Tell us about how you have approached designing for different markets.
I am so grateful to have had the chance to work with diverse companies, each offering unique challenges and opportunities. I have learnt so much from designing commercially for different markets.
Since I began studying textiles, I have always tried to put myself out there by reaching out to people and companies that inspire me, applying to different call-outs and entering competitions. There have also been lots of rejections! And whilst they can be difficult in such a competitive industry, they are part of the journey, and I've learned and grown from each one :)
Do you have a favourite type of product that you like to design for?
Over the past few years, I have developed a love for homeware and interiors - especially wallpaper, bedding, and soft furnishings. It is so rewarding to bring a little bit of joy to people’s homes through colour and pattern. I‘m especially drawn to creating designs for children's spaces, where there is endless opportunity for imagination, colour, creativity, and play.
Do you work with a licensing agent or do you approach companies on your own?
I've had experience working both independently and with a licensing agent in the past. Currently, I'm employed as a full-time in-house designer.
Most of my collaborations with companies have come as a result of meeting people at trade shows, reaching out to companies on my own, or applying to call-outs. It’s all about finding what works best for you, engaging with creative communities, and always being on the lookout for new and inspiring opportunities!
What has been the most exciting collaboration you've had?
My most exciting collaboration has definitely been my wallpaper collection ’Glasshouse’ with Ohpopsi. Ohpopsi is a wallpaper company specialising in bold, large-scale designs and conversational pieces. In 2022, I received the New Designers Ohpopsi Award for Confident Colour and Bold Design, which led to this exciting collaboration. Glasshouse is a vibrant celebration of flora and fauna, drawing inspiration from the lush greenery of Glasgow's botanical glasshouses, alongside organic shapes and patterns found in nature.
Would you like to share any advice you have for designers who are considering licensing their artwork and are new to the industry?
For me, the most important thing is to make work that you enjoy. This shows in your designs and can lead to opportunities that align with your unique values as a designer. Make the work that one day you would like to be paid to make :)
Build a strong portfolio that reflects your unique style – set yourself mock-briefs that show the type of projects you would like to work on. Be proactive in reaching out to companies and licensing agencies whose vision aligns with your work. Talk to like-minded creative people, apply to call-outs, engage with creative communities, and attend events that inspire you and allow you to share your work.
The industry can be competitive, but don't let that discourage you – be patient with yourself and try to see each challenge and rejection as a stepping stone to something new and an opportunity to grow.
What's next for you in your artistic endeavors? Are there any other companies or designers you would like to collaborate with?
I am currently working as a junior homeware surface pattern designer. It is my first full-time in-house role; I am loving it so far and learning so much about the industry and developing my commercial handwriting. Some dream companies to collaborate with in the future would be Lucy & Yak (I love their printed dungarees!), Papier, and Gorman. I would also really love to work on large scale murals or alongside animators to see my designs come to life.
My collection with Ohpopsi: https://www.ohpopsi.com/wallpaper/glasshouse