ROOST MEETS: The Surface Pattern Designer


Emma Carlow is the surface pattern designer behind a fantastic new range of wallpaper for kids, due to launch in March. The “Wallplayper” range is bold, bright and fun without being cutesy. We caught up with Emma to find out about her work as a designer.

Emma Carlow head shot


How did you come to work as a surface pattern designer?

When I left college, I worked for Terance Conran who then owned Mothercare and BHS. I designed textiles and T-Shirts for children. I’ve always enjoyed designing for children.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

I love folk art – especially European folk art – and artists such as Alexander Calder and Henry Moore. I also love designers like Charles and Ray Eames and Alexander Girard. And I’m a big fan of Pinterest.

Wallplayper 2

How did you come up with the idea behind the Wallplayper series?

This particular collection has been inspired by children’s fames and craft activities. Specifically, “Tangrams”, an ancient Chinese game using geometric shapes and paper cuts like the ones done by Hans Christian Anderson. Children’s colouring books also inspired me.

Tell us a bit about your creative process and work space

If I’m experimenting and coming with new ideas I work from my dining room table at home, surrounded by books and materials. I try to keep the habit of keeping a sketch book. Once my ideas are clear I work in a studio with five other designers. This is great for bouncing ideas and getting feedback.

What do you love most about the medium that you work in?

I use all sorts of mediums, from my computer to paper and scissors. For our Old MacDonald wallpaper design I did paper cut-outs and then used them to make sun prints. I love this medium because it’s a bit like developing a photograph – you can never be sure how it’s going to turn out and it’s different every time.

Has there been a defining moment where you’ve felt really excited and proud of a particular design?

Our I-Spy wallaper design started life as a colouring poster. When I first saw children colouring it in and being absorbed in it I was thrilled. It began to take on a life of its own, nothing to do with me. That felt like success.

Emma’s Wallplayper range launches in March and April – a full list of stockists will be released soon. Be the first to know where to get hold of the series by signing up to Roost News or following us on Twitter (we’re @RoostBlog)

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