Exotic florals, mischievous monkeys and luscious fauna appear in Charlotte Jade’s fantastical print designs. Collaborations include working with Boots, London Zoo and Topshop.
What is your studio name and location?
Our studio is just Charlotte Jade I’m afraid! Not very adventurous but our studio is based in North London, in a beautiful little village in the countryside. Our studio window looks straight out onto stunning natural scenery; trees, plants and animals, from which I draw a lot of inspiration for the designs. We are lucky to work within such a beautiful setting, surrounded by nature, but also be so close to London so we can easily meet with our clients
Where did you study (if you did)?
I studied BA illustration at Camberwell College of Arts, graduating in July 2014 - can’t believe that’s nearly 5 years ago, time flies!
Describe your design process
My design style is detailed, realistic and textured. I like to observe the natural world around me, capturing the fine details by hand drawing what I can see. I love drawing animals, flowers and foliage, focusing on the natural textures of my subjects, for example, an animal’s coat, a bird’s feathers or a particular plant texture, bringing in bright and vibrant colours. Our patterns naturally bring the beauty of the outside inside, taking influence from Biophilic design, the idea of connecting us with the natural world by our interior design choices.
What is your favourite part of the design process from inspiration, research, to the final printed fabric/product?
We love it when we’ve completed the research and initial detailed drawings and we are ready to take these illustrations onto the computer and begin experimenting with composition, applying colour and building the final design. The possibilities are endless with digital design and it’s amazing to see it all come together after weeks of research and design work.
Who do you design for? Who is your muse?
We design for a whole range of clients internationally who are after bespoke patterns or want adaptations to our existing designs, varying from huge hotels, commercial brands and retail stores to residential clients or fashion brands.
What first sparked your interest in print design?
Although I studied Illustration at university, I had always loved vibrant, interesting patterns. My final year was particularly focused on designing hand drawn, digital patterns. Having always had a love for print design, particularly for wallpapers and interiors, I decided to specialise in this area for my final major project, taking a short course and then teaching myself how to make digital patterns and this was the beginning of Charlotte Jade… The animals at London Zoo inspired the patterns I created for my final project, basing my whole project around ZSL, so it’s amazing for me that I now, 5 years later, work alongside the amazing conservation charity.
Describe your style in 10 words
Hand drawn, detailed, textured, realistic, maximalist, vibrant, organic, unique, bespoke, atmospheric
What is your favourite medium to work in and why? (Watercolour, gouache, fine liner pens, digital, collage)
I love combining traditional and modern methods of design; I start with hand drawing all my designs in pencil but then I transform these traditional hand drawings by adding vibrant colours to the designs using modern digital technology.
What / who are your major influences?
Our whole brand is completely inspired by the outside world. For us, bringing the beauty of nature into our interiors a perfect way to keep us connected to the natural world. This form of design is inspired by the idea of ‘Biophillic Design’. Oliver Heath, a leader in this form of design says, “Biophilia (Love of nature) focuses on human’s innate attraction to nature and natural processes, suggesting we all have a genetic connection to the natural world…” Therefore, Biophillic design reconnects us with the natural world and by bringing elements of nature back into our lives is proven to reduce stress, aid mental wellbeing and improve productivity. This form of design is not only beneficial within your home but within commercial spaces, workplaces, healthcare spaces, educational spaces and retail design.
What are you working on at the moment?
We are currently working on a new botanical collection which will be launching around spring/summer time which we’re really exited about. Balearic Palm, is the first pattern within this collection which we exhibited at Decorex last year and we had such good feedback on the design, so we cant wait to show you all the rest of the collection. We’re also currently working on a very exciting collaboration with The Royal Horticultural Society, where we’ve designed a bespoke, hand drawn botanical pattern for the charity, completely inspired by their beautiful gardens in Wisley. This design will be used for a variety of luxury interior products and stationery within their retail stores. We’re exhibiting at the Surface Design Show in February at The Business Design Centre, London, so we’re doing lot’s of prep for that too.
Favourite music when designing
Haim, Kings of Leon, Hozier, London Grammar – there’s way too many…
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
We are extremely excited to continue to grow and develop Charlotte Jade, not only building our presence within the UK but also internationally, working on more hotels, commercial and residential projects around the world, and also to continue collaborating with other brands. As mentioned, we will be launching our new Botanical pattern collection later this year (yet to be named) which we really can’t wait for!
What has been your career highlight so far?
I’ve worked on so many amazing projects but I think a few of my favourite would be working for Kelly Hoppen on a bespoke pattern for the beautiful LUX* Grand Gaube hotel in Mauritius. It was amazing to collaborate with Kelly and her team on such a stunning project. Further to this, we’ve had some amazing collaborations over the past few years such as with London Zoo, Kelly Swallow and Reloved Upholstery, to name a few. Also, Decorex this year was such a fantastic few days, we met so many inspiring people and made some fantastic connections.
Your biggest challenge you have faced as a designer
I think remaining positive at all times is a challenge, especially when you’ve got the longest list of ‘things to do’; the work load is huge and never really stops! (But to be honest, I love that! I love being busy and growing the business and finding new opportunities) Starting your own business is such a daunting prospect and with so many talented designers in the industry it can be hard to stand out, but I think if you can find your own style that your are comfortable working in you’ll be successful.
Do you have any tips for new designers starting out?
I listened to an amazing podcast by Karen Brady interviewing Jo Malone this week and Jo said something that really stuck with me, “Never quit on a bad day!” which really resonated with me as there is times where you feel like giving up but pushing through those times and staying positive is key to success. To new designers, I would just say always believe in yourself and to never give up on your dreams. My dad has always told me that since I first started and it’s advice I will always swear by. Believe in your work and believe in your brand and you will succeed. Setting up your own business is very challenging but the overall rewards will be greater in the long term and it will all be worth it when you achieve your dreams.
Shop botanical designs on Fashion Formula here!