More Than A Feeling. Digital Design For The Digital Age

Annette Taylor-Anderson (ATADesigns)

Annette Taylor-Anderson (ATADesigns)

Back in the summer, I met Annette Taylor-Anderson a London based designer of wall coverings, murals and fabrics at an HP Décor Interiors Event in Barcelona. Annette was part of a panel discussion there, about design and digital printing. Inspired by her story and work, I thought it a good idea to follow up the meeting with an interview and an introduction to her innovative work.

How did you get involved in design?

My background is that I studied art in school and I have always been interested and inspired by art. I then did a foundation course in art working in different media, materials and fabric. From there I went on to University, studying (part-time) Textile Design and Surface Decoration. After graduation, I set up my own business, ATADesigns. I haven’t worked for anyone within design. Having always run my own business gives me a satisfying degree of creative freedom.

Some of the designs you showed in the discussion at HP seemed inspired by London, is this a particular inspiration for your work?

London is an inspiration but frankly, my inspiration comes from anywhere. It could be a flower I see in London – but a flower is a flower, to be honest! I am fundamentally an artist so I work with designs dependent on the feeling I have. So the range of my work is varied. I can go from Art Deco to Urban City-Scapes. I set myself projects and develop collections based on designs that have inspired me.

Residential work

Residential work

What kind of clients do you work with?

When I started ATADesigns my clients were more private residential. But now I am increasingly designing for hotels, bars and restaurants.

How important are trends for business?

I don’t follow trends, to be honest, as this can lock you into a box. Personally, I prefer to be more expressive and create based on feeling. This is at the core of my designs.

How important is freedom to you?

It is really important to have a part of your work where you can express your ideas. But of course when there is a project there is constraint so I have to work within it. That said, you do get a client who lets you do what you want and this is important to me, as when it is constrained it can strangle design creativity. Interior designers have to be safe sometimes – it really depends on the project. If the vision of the project is a certain way, my wall-covering, mural and fabric designs simply must align so it fits into the design brief.

Jones Family Kitchen project, London Victoria.  Working with interior designer Matt Rawlinson of Raw Design

Give me an example of a project you are both proud of and which permitted you to be let loose creatively?

The one I really liked was a London restaurant. The client gave me his ideas but I went beyond this and he (the client) really fell in love with it. We got to this result because he didn’t restrict me too much and I really designed on a large scale – he liked it and it took his initial ideas onto another level entirely.

London Restaurant Project

How important is digital print to you?

It is integral to my work as all of my work is digitally printed. As well as standard materials we are also looking at different techniques for printing onto wood and other surfaces. I can see possibilities with different types of substrates in order to create different effects with textures. I also print on fabrics now, I started this at the beginning of the year and this is proving popular. This is a service that I am offering that complements the wallpaper or mural design and the impact is superb.

Have you ever worked with analogue printing?

No, I haven’t. My experience is purely digital and this is integral to my success I think. You can go large with a design idea with a mural which can have a huge impact and really enables the space to make a statement with a one-off design.

As well as the added flexibility – being able to create many designs is another level of freedom you just don’t get with analogue. I can always update my designs when I get the inspiration – and as there is no stock I am not limited by the need to cover the cost in one range as I literally produce to order. This is a hugely liberating thing and something customers really like.

So digital printing technology is incredibly important to me – print must look good so design and print work hand in hand.

Who prints for you today?

When I first started, I worked with a German company but unfortunately they couldn’t get the colours right. Then I found the 2 UK based companies who I work with now. I don’t need to worry. They send the finished work directly to the client and the production quality and service is excellent.

These 2 wallpaper companies help me in developing new ideas with new substrates. Right now, the texture is important and this is why we look at new substrates. For me, it is important to be one step ahead. I have been in business for over 10 years and this principle has helped me succeed so far. I want to be one step ahead and by constantly looking at new possibilities, I can develop new ideas that clients like to see.

What is the key to your success?

I love what I do. When you enjoy it, people see it. My enthusiasm and passion help to sell my designs. I think this kind of thing is infectious and other people see the energy and the ideas and this really helps to both keep me fulfilled and sell my product.

For further details check out the website here

To contact Annette directly: tel: (+44) 07939105661