Thorody, aka Vicky Putler and Theo Sykes were shortlisted for the confessions of a design geek Bursary at the end of last year and as such were part of the stand at Home London at the beginning of this year. I love their understated design aesthetic, inspired by modernism and South East London, and was keen to find out more about what makes them tick…
What’s the most important thing to know about you?
We are committed to our designs and will keep on keepin’ on.
How did you feel when you found out you’d been shortlisted for the confessions of a design geek bursary?
Very surprised and then very excited… What a brilliant start to 2013!
What did you get out of being part of Home London?
It gave us chance to show our wares to people in the industry, trade buyers, press and other designers. We got to know the other shortlisted designers who are all lovely and it was a pleasure to hang out with them. We also met and traded information with other stand holders who do a similar thing to us.
What has happened as a result?
We have made new friends and contacts, got a little bit of press coverage, met some potential new stockists and made some plans for the coming year. We have a new wallpaper coming out soon – two new designs are going into production and we are building up to do something for the London Design Festival in September.
What inspires your designs?
London and what we call “touristing”, which is the experience of being a stranger in your own environment. The shapes, sights, sounds of London find their way into our designs albeit in a very distilled form… it’s a bit mysterious and we don’t analyse it too much! Also early modernism and painting in general.
Talk me through your design process from initial idea to final product.
We both design and some designs will have had equal input from both of us, some not. We start with our own individual drawings, they lie around on the table for a while, then one will get taken up by one of us and worked on, then back on the table and so on. At some point we will decide to take a design into the sampling stage, we’ll make a screen and do some test prints. The sample prints will then hang over rails in our house for several weeks or even months. We just live with them, discuss them try them in different combinations until eventually we will decide whether or not to take a design into production. We have more ideas than we know what to do with – the hard bit is committing to a design and seeing it through.
Describe a really good day and really bad day in the life of Thorody.
A really good day is working on a new design or a day spent printing when everything goes well. A bad day is a day printing when everything goes wrong and best laid plans are thwarted.
What are you most proud of?
That we have stuck to our guns and not been tempted to go down certain routes because they seemed more popular or commercial.
What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking of becoming a designer?
Don’t let others put you off, take advice but listen to yourself first and don’t give up.
And finally, what’s your favourite colour?!
We get asked this often enough by our daughter to know not to equivocate…! Vicky: yellow, Theo: red.
And for a bit more of an insight into the creative minds behind Thorody, R&A Collaborations have very kindly allowed me to share this short film they made about the design duo.
Further reading for the especially geeky:
Ella Doran is an award-winning designer, who pioneered the use of digital printing techniques, and specifically the application of photography onto functional, everyday objects, when it was first developed in the 1990s. Now an established …
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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