Poppy Almond: digital design captured my heart
Hello Poppy! Tell us, have you always been a creative gal?
I have always loved drawing and creating from an early age but I was unsure on what kind of art I wanted to study. I did an art and design foundation course at Northampton University and came across the printed textiles and surface pattern design degree and instantly knew it was for me. I almost applied to study nursing and I’m soooo glad my art teacher pushed me to do an art and design foundation!
Imagine how different things would be had you went for nursing! So you went on to graduate from Leeds Arts University with a degree in Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design. What was the best part of the course?
I absolutely loved this course! It gave me the opportunity to work with a range of different materials and you’re really pushed to work in different styles which I think helped to progress my work and develop my own 'handwriting'. The course had amazing facilities and I was able to explore workshops and new ways of working with ceramics, screen printing, lino printing and material innovation.
Have the mediums you enjoy working in changed since you started your degree?
I originally thought that I was much more of a 'hand crafted' designer when starting my degree and I loved hand printing and embroidery. However, I started a digital design module at Uni and really enjoyed this way of working. I started by hand drawing all my designs and just adding the colour digitally once they had been scanned, though after working in the industry that’s changed, now the majority of my work is produced on illustrator. I still love to sketch all my ideas out in a sketchbook first though!
How do you feel your academic studies prepared you for your career in design?
My tutors really emphasised the importance of internships and getting involved in the industry. I understand internships are not feasible for everyone but they really helped me to decide where in the industry I could see myself working. Studying different modules and designing for fashion and interiors also helped with refining my design style. Going to university gave me so much more confidence which has helped me to network and get my work out there.
You've had some incredible successes and worked with some amazing brands so far. How did your amazing design work for Skinnydip happen?
I decided to do an internship at Skinnydip during the Easter break in my third year and although it was super hard to keep on top of third year work I am sooo glad I did it. I was offered a full-time position there when I completed my degree that summer. I learnt so much and it offered up some amazing opportunities and I meet so many lovely people too. It was so much fun designing such a variety of product types from hip flasks and phone cases to make up bags! I decided after a year there it was time to take a big step and go freelance.
Give us a peek into freelance life - is there such a thing as a typical day for you?
Everyday can vary so much but I start each day with a black coffee! I tend to scroll through Instagram a little longer than I should and then finally get round to packing orders and then make a start on any freelance work I have going on. The rest of the day is usually spent juggling freelance work and designing new products for Poppy Almond Design. I try and catch up on emails during my lunch and numerous tea breaks.
Whats the best thing about working for yourself? What's the worst?
I love the flexibility I have by working for myself and I absolutely love working on my own designs and a range of different styles and products for other brands! It can sometimes be difficult to stay motivated and not get too distracted by daytime TV! I do often struggle to not work all hours of the day or actually have a proper day off.
Where do you draw your inspo from?
My inspiration for my work usually comes from my surroundings. I am a bit obsessed with drawing food, whether that be my dinner, packaging in a supermarket or a friend’s dinner table. Inspiration often comes from social media and my friends on current trends and popular topics. I often just sit and doodle without really thinking what I’m drawing and sometimes these doodles are turned into prints or more finessed ideas.
How important has social media been for you in growing your brand? Did you make a specific plan to market online or was it a more of a subconscious effort?
Instagram has been very important in the growth of my brand. I believe the majority of work and customers I’ve had have been a result of Instagram. I never really considered how I would market my brand however I was already a big Instagram user on my private account and it just felt natural to set up an Instagram for Poppy Almond Design to promote my work. Quite honestly I am not sure how I would go about marketing my work online without Instagram. Don't get me wrong I don’t believe Instagram is the be all and end all for promoting a business, but personally I felt it was the right way for me. I believe networking and getting involved in art markets for example is equally important.
What's been the highlight of your career so far?
Working for Skinnydip was definitely one of the highlights in my career so far! I had loved Skinnydip since I came across their Simpsons range a couple of years ago. Now seeing my designs in stores like Topshop and Urban Outfitters is still sometimes a bit hard to believe. I’ve also recently done some work with Charlotte Simone which is all very hush hush but it was super exciting to be contacted by Charlotte. I absolutely adore her fluffy bags!
What's next for Poppy Almond?
I plan to grow Poppy Almond Design and create more of a product range and get my work stocked in more stores nationally, I’m so excited for what the future holds. I love freelancing with different brands, the possibilities are endless… so I plan to build on that and I’m looking forward to working with more amazing brands!