You may not have heard of Diane Allen yet, or of her fledgling company deesigns, but I feel confident you will be seeing more of her in the future. Her fresh wrapping paper designs are her first collection and I love them. Pattern booth wanted to find out more about this new designer.
pattern booth: your work will be new to a lot of people, so tell us a bit about yourself.
diane: hmmm...lets see. I graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee in 2010 and then I worked as a textile designer for a company in Mumbai for 6 months.
Working in India was an amazing experience and I definitely feel that it has had a big influence on my work. It also gave me a lot more confidence in my own ability and taught me a lot of things about colour and design. At the moment I am back living in Glasgow and trying to get things up and running for myself. It's exciting but also pretty scary!
pattern booth: where do you get your influences from?
diane: some designers who I am really inspired by are Leah Duncan, I love her use of colour and the way she uses scale within her work. I also love Sanna Annukka, her patterns are fab, I'm a real sucker for geometric design.
pattern booth: what led you to set up your own studio rather than work in-house or use an agent?
diane: It had always been in the back of my mind after leaving uni that I wanted to try and do my own thing, but it didn't feel right doing it straight after uni.
Working in India was my first experience of having to design for someone else and it was a pretty daunting task. I was constantly worried that what I produced wasn't going to be good enough or my style wouldn't be what they were looking for, and sometimes it was and sometimes it wasn't but that just comes hand in hand with the job. Also because we were designing for interior fabric there were a lot of things that had to be considered and so you couldn't go crazy and do what you wanted because the cost always had to be considered.
After that I came home and applied for as many design jobs as I could, but I didn't get anywhere with it. So I decided that it was the right time to try and do it for myself and it felt good to know that I could do what I wanted and what I liked and not have to worry.
pattern booth: I think a lot of new designers will find that reassuring. What is the advice you wish you had when you were starting out?
diane: I think advice that I wish I had been given is just that things aren't going to change overnight, you need to constantly be approaching people and trying to get the word out about you and your work. It can also be quite disheartening when you don't hear back from potential stockists and so I think it's important to try and not take things too personally, not everyone is going to be mad about your work so just trying to keep your head up when its not always going how you expected.
pattern booth: it's hard to make a name for yourself. What is the best business decision you've made to date?
diane: To be honest I don't know that I've made any great business decisions yet, I definitely feel like I'm still learning new things and making mistakes all the time. But I suppose that's the only way to learn!
pattern booth: what's the best design advice you've ever had?
diane: The best design advice I have ever been given is to not get too hung up over a design, if something isn't working take some time away from it, get inspired and re-visit it with a fresh mind. Don't force it if it's not working!
pattern booth: what's next for deesigns?
diane: I definitely have plans to produce other lines . At the moment I have been doing bits and pieces of designing. I really want to try and build up a range of products from cards and notebooks to cushion covers.
As per usual this is the last blog of the week, so if you haven't entered already, and you fancy winning a gorgeous mini moderns tote and notebook for less than one minutes work, enter my easy peasy competition. You just need to leave a comment below or send me a tweet to @patternbooth, and say 'Why you love pattern'. At the end of the week someone will win the goodies... it just might be you.