Q What is your Background & where did you train?
I studied Art GCSE and Design Technology at St Mary's college, Wirral. I then went on to complete an A level in Art & Design. Whilst at Sixth Form College I decided I wanted to pursue my creative dream further & I completed a BTEC Foundation Art at The Arts Centre in Liverpool. Shortly after I was accepted to study a BA (Hons) in Textile and Fashion Design at The University of Leeds. I graduated in 2005 & have worked professionally & internationally within the industry ever since.
Q How did you get into design?
I've always been creative from a very early age and studied & specialised in art & design. During university I carried out many work placements & I was very lucky to go straight into design employment after graduating, it really is the only career that I know. I really went for it from a very young age; the creative path was the only one for me!
I never actually planned to become a 'surface pattern designer' it just naturally evolved after studying & working within the creative industry. I'm also experienced as a typographic artist, graphic designer, textile designer, mixed media artist & illustrator.
More recently my work involves teaching & coaching & I'm actively involved in education. I'm very lucky to have worked on some very wonderful collaborative projects I really do have the best clients & a great supportive and professional network around me.
Q What is the best advice someone gave you, when you first started?
I don't remember a particular piece of advice but there has always been a particular quote that has inspired me from a very young age:
"Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life" Confucius.
Q What is a surface pattern designer?
A designer who specialises in creating patterns & repeats for a surface. Pattern has the ability to decorate multiple surfaces. It creates rhythm energy & movement. Surface pattern design has always been popular with the homewares market, however nowadays it really is applied to everything from the socks you wear to your notepad & even your iPhone case. Design actually incorporates many disciplines & it really does touch on all areas of design. Patterns can be created from numerous motifs & varied subject matter. You will find most surface pattern designers have a specialist area; for me I'm known for my floral, organic, textural & abstract signature style.
Q How did you start your business?
In May 2008 I decided to set up on my own & I left my full time design employment. Initially I just worked as a freelance designer, I spent the first year mainly freelancing whilst building my own personal portfolio. I took nearly a year to launch my own website as I really wanted to design & create a site that was really me. After years of working in house I felt my personality had been really reigned in & I want my website to feel fun & reflect my style to attract the type of clientèle that I really wanted.
I launched on the Print & Pattern website in February of 2009 & I was very lucky to receive a nice review, it has been chaotic ever since! I've never looked back; setting up on my own was the best decision I ever made. Each year I have set myself goals, as I want to expand as a brand & continually grow and improve as a designer.
In my online courses through Make it in Design we cover design business in greater detail.
Q Who inspires you?
I'm inspired by spontaneous design I've always really admired the work of artist Jackson Pollock, I love the energy his work brings. I've always been a fan of Alexander McQueen as I admire the risks he took with his work. I also love art & design from the 1950's & 1960's.
Q How did you get into licensing?
I initially licensed a small amount of pieces via an agent (these were mainly unnamed ranges) after a while I decided to launch a small product line of my own, as I wanted to become a recognised brand. Soon after I was approached about further licensing deals as a branded range using the 'Rachael Taylor' trademark.
In my online courses through Make it in Design we cover design licensing in greater detail.
Q What type of products do you sell & how easy is it to get your designs licensed?
I run my own design label here in the UK with the focus being kitchen textiles & accessories. I also have several licensed product lines from greeting cards to home décor & computer accessories. Licensing does take time it’s important to build a strong brand & identity as a designer. I believe that staying true to my own natural style has played a key part. I've been very fortunate that my own licensing has increased rapidly over the past year.
I have dealt with some rejection over the years, it’s important to believe in ‘you’ & never give up. Joining an agency or studio can be really beneficial in the beginning as they can help attract clients & potential licensing contracts. I am signed with the fantastic Lilla Rogers Studio who represent me internationally. Having Lilla as an agent allows me more time to focus on designing. During Monetising Your Designs (Module 3) of my online course through Make it in Design we cover this in great detail.
Q You teach online courses through Make it in Design. Please tell me more.
My online courses through Make it in Design are the ultimate guides to becoming a surface pattern design professional. If you have ever dreamt of seeing your designs on stationery, homewares, fabric or other products, these courses are for you! They will guide you along an exciting path from developing your signature style to putting a collection together, & from protecting your work to monetising your designs. With a rich combination of design inspiration, practical advice, video demonstrations, creative exercises, resources and interviews with leading industry practitioners, this is the go-to guide for anyone wanting to develop their design skills and break into the industry. My courses really cater for all levels & cover all areas of design from interiors & fabric to business & selling.
Find out more on www.makeitindesign.com
Q What is 'MOYO' & what is it about?
'MOYO'* is the world's first online magazine dedicated to surface pattern design! Packed with interviews, design briefs, colour challenges, art reviews, student showcases, design tips, inspiration, trends & more, this free resource will be published quarterly.
After the success of Make it in Design, Beth (co-founder) & myself decided to launch a magazine as a spin off to the courses. We realised there was a gap in the magazine market for surface pattern design. It’s a great platform for our students & graduates along with being a great resource for the design industry. I design numerous pages in the magazine (including the cover) however; I have worked with a fantastic dream team of designers & layout artists. My role as ‘Art director’ (my full title for the magazine is Art Director, Editor and Founder) included creating the design vision, the initial style guide, brand identity & sign off the final styling of the magazine. The list of talented contributors is fantastic & we are very lucky! The magazine really has been a success because of the wonderful collaborative effort & dedication from the whole team. It was a fun project to work on. I really hope that the magazine continues to inspire people.
*'MOYO' is the Japanese word for pattern.
Q What is your greatest achievement to date?
I'm so grateful for so many things it really is hard to pin point just one as each opportunity has been wonderful. However I think launching Make it in Design & all of my online courses has been a real pivotal moment in my career. It has been truly overwhelming & so rewarding, we regularly receive emails from students & graduates who write in to show their gratitude & they explain how the courses have inspired them. To inspire someone else is such an honour it's something that I will always find completely mind-blowing!