Today we interview Lorraine Purchase. With a 10 year freelance design partnership with No Name Design , we get an insight into her work, experiences, and goals as a print designer. In this, we will cover the role of a working printed textile designer.
No Name Design Studio: What do Textile & Print Design for the home and apparel, mean to you?
Lorraine Purchase: Textile Design is a form of artistic expression which enables me to be experimental with colour and layout. It suits me, because I enjoy the challenges of new projects and ideas. I may have to create artwork in a way, that is quite challenging to produce or it stretches my digital skills, but you constantly learn and adapt and find the answers. Surface design can be applied to anything, there are no limitations: this category covers anything from fabric to T-shirts to shoes. Any printed media we wear or use for decoration, that’s meant to be recreated onto fabric in some way.
N: Where do Print Designers work and who do they work with?
LP: Much like other work by commercial artists, wherever there’s a need for print design, there’s (hopefully) room for a designer to fill that position, or be contracted, for that project. Print designers will find their skills are necessary in order to pull a company or brand’s product together and make it consumer-ready. I work on my own from home in Southampton, Hampshire. Thankfully, because of the digital age we are now in, it is not necessary for designers to live in central hubs like London.
N: Can you tell us more about your design background?
LP: I specialised in Printed Textile Design at Winchester School of Art which has given me a strong background in a wide range of screen-printing techniques, drawing and digitally printed textiles. I have been freelancing for 10 years designing for fashion and interiors. I also run my own business designing scarves.
N: Why did you become a designer?
LP: I have always been interested in architecture, art, design, making things, pattern and colour, so moving into design myself was an obvious step for me.
N: What is your design approach?
LP: My approach to each project is determined by the brief or mood boards that I am sent, but there will always be research into imagery, context and also a lot of drawing. The materials I use to create the artwork, will also be informed by the subject and how I want the finished artwork to look.
N: How would you describe your design research?
LP: My design research is quite thorough and in depth, I have a library of my own reference books that I use, I will look online and in my local library. I like to research around the subject area to make sure I am on the right track. It’s harder working on one’s own, because you are having to make quite brave decisions and hope that you are answering the brief.
N: What would you say will be the future of design? Or the next big thing?
LP: Fast fashion and the explosion of trend prediction companies has been so destructive for the fashion and design industry, because there is a constant drive for new ideas. But, what it has actually produced, is a cyclical and decreasing loop of ideas which are becoming more diluted and uninspired. It has also meant that many companies try to undercut the designers and expect to pay less for the designs. The future of the design industry has to be linked to a credible solution to protecting the Earth’s resources and along with that consumers must expect to pay for a better quality product, that is well designed and manufactured. The term “slow fashion” has been around for a while, but is the right direction and we should all aspire to that model of design.
N: Design school never ends, at least for great designers. How do you learn and grow your knowledge and expertise? What books do you recommend and how do you stay in touch with design trends? What are your influences in design?
LP: Design to me is a continuous cycle of experimentation, exploration, research and practise. I keep sketchbooks which form a valuable resource of ideas which I can refer back to an inform my work. I love to look at the work of other artists and designers. I am constantly inspired by techniques, use of colour and how other people put together imagery. I am currently particularly inspired by the work of Diane Hill, Sarah Campbell, Tara Oxford, Christopher Corr, Mark Hearld and Jane Ormes. These artists all hail from different backgrounds, but all have unique approaches and skills to their work which I admire greatly. I love the work of DeGournay, Zuber, Cole and Sons and Jonny Was. I am hugely influenced by traditional ethnic pattern and colour, vintage textiles and wallpapers. I spend a lot of time in museums and visiting exhibitions. One of my favourite exhibitions in 2019 was the Olufur Elliasion at the Tate Modern. Because he clearly demonstrated the philosophy that design is about pushing your ideas and to keep asking “what if?”. You never stop learning and again that is important as a designer because you constantly find ideas and inspiration all around you. You need an open mind and an inquisitive eye.