WHY GREAT DESIGN SHOULD MAKE YOU CRAP YOURSELF A BIT
Great designers don't make you feel safe. They doesn't softly whisper 'come here and look at this, it's pretty', instead they grab you by the proverbial balls and take you to a realm of the undiscovered. Outside of your comfort zone. And definitely, most definitely, never ever let you feel safe.
When I'm writing this blog and even when I'm decorating my home or styling for a project, it's easy to get sucked into thinking 'if I style it like this, I know that people will like it'. There are certain pieces, certain colours, styles, that are always the trend of the moment. You know the look. You know it because every fucking blogger has it. If I did that I'd probably up my instagram following and readership overnight. Because that's how it works.
If you want to be successful you sit on the trend. It's design blogger 101.
Don't get me wrong - it looks great. It really does. That's why it gets so much attention. And I have no less respect for the many amazing bloggers and homeowners that decorate in that way. But I just can't do it.
I sit in this really bloody awkward place of being somewhere smack bang in the middle of being completely anti-mainstream and absolute ignorant mainstream bliss.
It's THE WORST.
It's easier to be one end of the spectrum, trust me. In the middle? You're constantly torn between doing what you know can catapult you to success and then saying 'fuck it, I'm doing something different'. It's not easy and you constantly question what you're doing.
You find yourself agonising over little design decisions. Did I just do that because I really like it? Or am I doing it because I know it'll get a lot of likes... GAHHH!
I have something deep inside of me that has to be different. Sometimes I wish she would just stop.
I can't be happy if I'm just churning out more of the same. I feel like a let down to myself.
You might wonder where I'm going with all of this...
There aren't many people in my life who push me to delve more into the creative anti-mainstream side.
There also aren't many people I know who can sit in the middle really fucking well. Apart from 2LG.
I started working alongside them just over a year ago now. At first I sort of tagged along and helped out on shoots and stuff like that, then I started helping with their blog and images for it. I don't think any of us really knew what the point of it was, more that we all had such great fun being in the same room and talking about design that it just seemed like completely the right thing to do.
As time went on I've got busier and busier so sadly I don't get to do so much of it anymore, but we remain great friends. As I have grown to know them more, I'm constantly being reminded how they tread that line between creativity and the mainstream so carefully, and so well.
I was privy to some early discussions about creating a new wallpaper collection using Graham & Brown archive prints, turning them into a contemporary collection.
At first the ideas seemed, well, random if I'm honest! Ships, garden scenes, florals, Moiré silk lectures all being put into the same design, then more florals, then stripes, diagonal ones, with florals... I was mind boggled. It didn't help that the early stages everything was in funny off colours so even though they kept saying 'it won't be this colour, this will be a blush..' I just couldn't get it.
And then it was complete. And then it was up on the walls.
And then it was fabulous.
Now I see it up, I can't imagine how I didn't get it. It's so ridiculously well crafted that all of the random elements that seemed higgledy piggledy to me at the start all now work together as if they were never apart.
How on earth did I doubt it?
The Perry Rise capsule collection by 2LG for Graham & Brown is like nothing else that's out at the moment.
Not only does it push you out of your comfort zone, but it then pulls you back in with a little hug - 4 designs that work together both in style and palette, like a capsule wardrobe.
They have truly reinvented the archive prints in a way that I would have been scared to do.
But it works.
And that's what good design is.
Good design is feeling a bit sick before you put something out to the world because you have no idea of what the response will be.
It's having the balls to create something completely anti-trend and despite all of your reservations, put it out there. Thank you Jordan and Russell, because not only do you make my abs hurt so much from laughter but you are constantly pushing me to be a better creative.
I also want to give a big shout out to Graham & Brown, who despite being one of the biggest most mainstream wallpaper designers and manufacturers out there have also taken a big leap of faith in anti-obvious design. THANK THE LORD AND BABY JESUS!
I really, REALLY hope it's successful, as it's incredibly sad to see the major players in the industry scared to take risks or do anything that pushes the boundaries for fear of low sales or repercussions. Come on, grow a pair! Hopefully, this is going to pave the way for more.
Hopefully by reading this you feel inspired to try something weird, go against the obvious, or invest in boundary pushing designers.
You can learn more about the Perry Rise collection here, it's not out yet but it will be soon!