The lovely Jessica Hogarth was the winner of the confessions of a design geek bursary at the end of last year, appearing at Home London in January. I thought it was a high time I interviewed her for the blog.
What’s the most important thing to know about you?
I’m a massive chocoholic who doesn’t like coffee or tea. Pretty much all of my designs have come about whilst munching on chocolate biscuits or a big slab of cake!
How did you feel when you found out you’d been shortlisted for the confessions of a design geek bursary?
I was absolutely thrilled. I’d already planned to go to the show as a visitor, so to know that I would definitely have some form of product on display as an exhibitor was incredibly exciting.
What did you get out of being part of Home London?
It was an all round brilliant experience. It was my first official London trade show so I didn’t know entirely what to expect, but I had interest in my work from both a wholesale and freelance perspective, which was what I was really hoping for.
Working alone can be lonely at times, so it’s always great to get out and about and do exhibitions. The fellow shortlisted designers for the bursary and the other exhibitors in the home grown section were lovely, I couldn’t have asked for nicer people to spend three days with. I’m hoping we will all keep in touch and be able to share ideas in the future.
It is also good to meet buyers face to face and I met three of my current stockists for the first time. It was nice to put faces to the names I’d been emailing for months!
What have you got planned as a result?
Since returning home, I have started to plan new products for my next show, which is the British Craft Trade Fair in April. My wallpaper was well received so I am now planning on expanding my one current design into a collection.
What inspires your designs?
Architecture of all kinds is a big inspiration to me. The buildings in the village I grew up in feature heavily in my first collection of products. High-rise urban environments have inspired abstract geometric patterns that can be seen on some of my licensed products. I really like to have an experience of the thing I am designing, so photos taken on trips to Paris and other cities around Europe have all influenced my work in some way or another.
Talk me through your design process from initial idea to final product.
My designs begin as black pen drawings on paper. With my own collection to date, I have had very definite ideas for themes I wanted to pursue. I began drawing images within that theme, but didn’t really have any final designs as such in mind until I had scanned them and transferred the files to Adobe Illustrator. I love playing around with individual drawings on screen and it allows me to try a multitude of layouts and compositions before deciding on what I feel works best for each individual product.
Colouring the design and seeing it come to life is the most fun part and I do this on the computer, regardless of whether the final product is hand or digitally printed. I always make a mock up of my products such as greetings cards by using my printer at home, just to check the scale of the design in print before sending the files off to one of my manufacturers that are based around the UK.
Describe a really good day and really bad day in the life of Jessica Hogarth.
A really good day for me would be getting to do a few different tasks. I love designing but I also like the online marketing side of the job as well as liaising with freelance clients and discussing collaboration ideas. The freelance side of things means I never totally know what’s going to happen and I’ve had some exciting emails over the last year with regard to freelance work, which makes my day! It’s always nice when someone likes your work enough to write about you, so coming across a blog post or article that I didn’t know was going online is a really nice feeling.
A really bad day would be feeling like I have a creative block. Sometimes that happens and it’s okay because there are plenty of other things to focus on, but if I have a deadline to work to it is the most frustrating thing in the world!
What are you most proud of?
I think my proudest moment was launching my first range of products for wholesale at the British Craft Trade Fair last year and then getting a number of orders from retailers both during and immediately after the show. I had spent a good few months testing the market with my designs on a small scale then tweaking them and tweaking them a bit more until I felt happy with the collection. To see all of my hard work come together at that show was a satisfying moment.
What advice would you give to an aspiring designer?
Trust your instincts and go with what feels right to you. Also, use free online social media platforms such as Twitter extensively. It’s free and is the perfect platform to both market your business and socialise!
And finally, what’s your favourite colour?!
It changes all of the time, but I do love teal.
Further reading for the especially geeky:
Having established confessions of a design geek in 2010, Katie Treggiden has gone on to a career in design journalism, writing for titles such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Stylist, Design Milk and Ideal Home. In 2014, she launched Fiera, an independent magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at the world’s design fairs. Her second book, Makers of East London, was published in 2015.
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