Spotlight on Patternistas: Crafting Design Narritives
Embark on a journey through the world of colour and pattern with The Patternistas; a husband-and-wife design duo, who use their distinctively playful prints to breathe life into interior and exterior spaces. Their ability to transform spaces into captivating experiences, steeped in visual storytelling, was translated into a commercial wallcovering collection in collaboration with Newmor.
At the heart of their design philosophy lies a profound understanding of how art and design can shape spaces, enhance well-being, and evoke a sense of place. With a rich tapestry of experiences ranging from bespoke patterns for products to running inspiring workshops, The Patternistas are more than designers; they are storytellers.
Get ready to explore a world of pattern, colour, and boundless imagination as we explore The Patternistas’ playful approach to design, and their passion for community projects.
How did you get into Art and Design?
We entered through the pretty traditional route: Art and Design Foundation course followed by a degree in Graphic Design. We were presented with an exciting, happy jumble of opportunities to explore our creativity and lay the groundwork for pretty much all that we do today. Information design, communication design, illustration, printmaking, typography, photography and pattern creation. We loved it all!
As we qualified in a time before websites and social media there was a fair bit of doggedly lugging huge portfolios around the country. We’re pretty tenacious and didn’t let the knock backs put us off which is one of the many keys to success in life!
Pictured Above: from The Patternistas collection with Newmor Banshee in Green
What inspires your work?
We’ve mentioned it often: at an impressionable age we each experienced a spirit soaring, culture shift that left us with a love of bold pattern and vibrant colour. Chris’s family were based in Singapore and mine emigrated to Zambia.
The people in those diverse communities seemed so beautiful, flamboyant and awe inspiring that we’ve been on a mission to stand out, rather than blend, in ever since. We also recognise that pattern isn’t just the surface stuff. Through the lens of a microscope we are all made up of pattern and recognising that connects us to one another and to the planet. For us that’s the most inspiring thing of all.
Pictured Above right: from The Patternistas collection with Newmor Diamonds in grey
You’re well known for your fun and expressive use of colour. What colours bring you the most joy?
Natural colours – orange, pomegranate, jade, violet, emerald, lapis lazuli, lemon, sky blue, lime green, peach etc etc
As stated on our website: if your favourite colour is grey – stay away! As for beige – don’t get us started.
Pictured Above: from The Patternistas collection with Newmor: Secret in Blue
You’ve worked on a wide variety of projects throughout your careers. Which project stands out the most to you and why?
On a personal level the project we did for Velindre; Cardiff’s cancer hospital where Chris has had amazing treatment and care. We were asked to create colourful, welcoming wallpapers and window vinyl designs for the main patient entrance. Daffodils and forget-me-nots are particularly significant to the hospital, their brand colour is bright green, and the building is situated right next to a park; all of which is reflected in the imagery.
We’ve had some lovely feedback from staff and patients and having had first hand experience of some drab hospital areas we were over the moon to be able to inject some joy into this space.
On a commercial level we were excited to work with Orangebox who are now offering our designs on a number of surfaces for their incredible new Campers and Dens product range.
Pictured Above: from The Patternistas own project work
You work as a husband and wife team. How does working with a partner influence your creative process?
Our lives are a continuous game of eye spy, and we love being outdoors sharing ideas and inspiration that come from examining the minutiae of our environment. You’d be amazed at how long we can stare at a puddle or a pattern on a leaf.
We work on a diverse range of projects and our process is ever evolving. Sometimes we’ll pass ideas and artwork between us till we’ve jointly wrangled them into shape. Other times one or the other will manage a project and see it through to completion but the other is always there to give creative/constructive feedback. It’s very collaborative but if ever there’s too much unsolicited advice going on one of us will work upstairs whilst the other works downstairs – we’ll let you guess which one of us can be the most annoying.
Pictured Above: from The Patternistas collection with Newmor: Secret in orange
Community projects seem to be integral to your work. How has this influenced your design journey and practice and why is it so valuable to you?
The pandemic was a mindblowing time in so many ways but we were absolutely amazed at how many people contacted us to tell us how the positive community messaging we’d created had impacted on them and lifted their spirits.
The window drawings and billboard campaigns we got involved with connected us to the community around our home city of Cardiff in ways we hadn’t anticipated. People told us our work had even increased their confidence in going back into Cardiff city when it first re-opened. We also felt the warmth from across the country/globe in response to our social media posts.
Prior to the pandemic almost all our work came from further afield and much of it was for large companies and commercial environments but this new work was incredibly emotionally rewarding. Community is really important to us and our focus now is working with clients and organisations that value people and feel that too.
Pictured Above: from The Patternistas own project work
Quickfire favourites: Place, Food or drink, Music/movie/tv show
Place – Wales is pretty good.
Food – Any southern Indian food but no meat please.
Drink – Campari and orange.
Music – Bowie – a real life influencer and still so relevant
Film – we’ve just been wowed by the remastered Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
ictured Above: from The Patternistas collection with Newmor Weekend in grey
See The Patternistas work in our digital design brochure here