Thursday, 15 November 2012

Guru/Graham and Brown Visit

Early on in the year we each had a meet up in college with a Guru we had been assigned with by the tutors, as they felt that they linked in with our work and would be a great way to get advice, tips and hear the stories of past students of Stockport College, and how they had successfully made a career in the art and design world.
Our guru was Phil who now worked at one of the biggest wallpaper companies in the UK, Graham and Brown, he showed us his portfolio, that was full of designs both recent and also things that he had done while in college and just when he had left. He also told us how he creates the wallpaper, from the initial brief and ideas right through to the finished product, and how difficult it is to get to the final outcome, as there are lots of different components to think about, for example, how much it would cost, if it would be too difficult and complicated to products on a large scale, and how picky some companies can be.
He also gave us some really good advice, to do as much work experience as possible, as you can learn a lot from them, from how to do repeat patterns, learn photoshop and illustrator and also CAD, as this is what they us to create the wallpapers and you would need these skills to get a job in the future.

A couple of months later we actually went to the Graham and Brown office/studio and factory where they design and make all the walloper for distribution, in Blackburn.
On the trip we were given a guided tour by Julian of both the offices/studios, where all the designers create the wallpapers, they showed us one of the briefs they were given, and told us that sometimes they can be very vague or very exact and particular depending on the client they are working for/with. Going to the studio also showed us how different designers work, some of them really like to get involved by getting a large piece of paper and sketching out their ideas and plans, or some work on a large sheet of tracing paper and draw small intricate designs, where as other designers go straight onto the computer and create their designs that way.
They also told us that they create and distribute the wallpaper all over the world and how each different country has different tastes and requirements, one designer was creating wallpaper for France and she said that they want simple, geometric patterns that are luxurious as they include metallics. They also said how they are moving into the Russian market as this has huge potential and is a great opportunity to widen their business even more and make it more global.
They told us how they are already designing for 2015, and they are forecasting trends and colour ways for the future.

The Office/Studio

They keep all the sample screens so they can go back to them in the future

The factory

Next we went over to the factory, I found it really interesting and was great to see how the artists design started and then moved on to the finished product, and how strange it must be fro the artist to see their finished wallpaper in the flesh. 
I was amazed by the size of both buildings and wouldn't expect such a large company to be right here in England. 

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