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Sonova Studio: Interview With Pattern Designer Eilidh Ferguson

Sonova Studio: Interview With Pattern Designer Eilidh Ferguson

By Andrew Peacock

Fri 6 Aug 2021
Last updated Fri 2 Dec 2022

In 2019, Blinds Direct established its own inhouse design team, Sonova Studio. Two years later, the studio continues to create cutting edge, on-trend and original textile designs which excite and inspire customers up and down the country. Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at the studio and – following a chat with Sonova Studio’s lead pattern and textile designer Eilidh Ferguson – provide you with insight into how we make the magic happen

photo of eilidh ferguson pattern designer for blinds direct

Our designer

Our pattern designer, Eilidh, grew up in the Scottish Borders, surrounded by nature’s glorious tones and forms. Her love of colour, connection to nature and passion for pattern are deeply ingrained in her Sonova Studio designs, displayed through a seamless combination of watercolour inks and digitisation.

Where do you find your inspiration for pattern design?

Inspiration can be sparked from anywhere if you look hard enough. I’m influenced mainly by nature and the outdoors, but I also look to interior design, architecture, lifestyle aesthetics, fashion and even jewellery when collecting visuals for collections.

Other designers and artists are incredibly inspirational to me, and exploring different techniques of mark making or drawing always produces fresh and interesting results. It’s important for me to know that my work is unique and original, but outside influence and inspiration brings a design to life.

image of mood board and explained through interview with pattern designer

How do you design your collections?

First, I start with creating a mood board and research how trends are evolving. Understanding the Blinds Direct customer is key, so I can design with their homes in mind. Successfully creating designs that balance future trends and what we expect our customer will want to buy is commercially very important, and an enjoyable puzzle to solve.  

I usually work on a few collections at once, developing differing visual references and colour palettes for each. Then comes the drawing and painting process, which is my favourite and most creative part of any project. Creating by hand and working with inks, paints and paper brings a unique edge to any piece, which I believe carries through to the finalised design.

When I am happy with my paintings, I scan them in and begin to work digitally, bringing textures, colours and patterns together in designs. I spend time with our senior buyer Ana, – who you may know from many of our blogs – and together we curate cohesive collections which tell a story.

Often, we archive designs to make sure we are giving our customer the best selection possible. When we can see that each design can stand alone and alongside the entire collection equally, we know it works. There’s often a bit of trial and error, but it is always worth it when you see a collection come to life.

Which projects are you most proud of, and why?

I’m really proud of our Sonova Studio Kids collection. I think it brings something fun and unique to the children’s interior market, and it will be the first collection we have launching for our in-house printer.

As a designer, I am aware of our industry’s impact upon the environment, but the positive eco-friendly aspect of our in-house print solution eases this worry.

We’ll soon be able to print to order, so we avoid waste, which is an amazing step forward. We’ve also selected a soft fabric for our machine which is made of recycled plastic bottles, and the inks are eco-friendly too!

I must add that the collection in development right now features some of my favourite designs I’ve ever created, and I can’t wait to see them available to purchase on our website!

photo example of mood board for interior design as explained by pattern designer

What spurred you to champion sustainable materials?

Sustainability is an important topic in the world of design and at large. When I took this role at Blinds Direct, my eyes were opened to the issues facing the industry when it comes to printing fabrics. This led us to an in-house approach with investment in our own digital printer which will enable us to print to order, minimise waste and reduce stock quantities… an amazing step forward!

It’s fair to say the responsibility to make positive changes is shared across the industry, and it was important for us to avoid a “greenwashing” approach. For example, vast amounts of water are used in the creation of many textiles, with 243 litres of water needed to procure enough organic cotton for one “sustainable” t-shirt. Whereas, the soft fabric selected by Sonova Studio is made entirely from recycled plastic bottles, and manufactured using 86% less water consumption than cotton production.

Our journey to sustainability is far from over, and as we learn and technologies advance, we will endeavour to implement further environmentally aware practices. But as a designer these first steps ease my mind, and I hope our customers’ minds too.

Read our Sustainable Design: How to Make Your Home Eco-Friendly blog for more green news.

image of pattern design work carried out by sonova studio

What excites you the most about the future of Sonova Studio?

The development of the Sonova Studio brand is very exciting. When I started at Blinds Direct, Sonova Studio didn’t exist, and in two years we have already achieved so much in terms of creating a distinctive Sonova style, finding our customer, initiating eco conscious print solutions, and finding a space alongside all the other amazing brands on the Blinds Direct website.

Collaborations with other brands and publications is definitely on the cards, and nurturing fresh talent and giving opportunities to young designers is something we are very passionate about. This is well demonstrated with the new BD Design Challenge initiative where one lucky degree-level designer will have the opportunity to see their work available to buy on the website.

Growing the Sonova Studio team would be incredible. Now that we have our printer, the process from design to production will be smoother and enable consistent research, development and launch of new collections.

As a young brand, I think it is important to grow steadily and take little steps at a time. I believe that with each new collection, the brand will branch further and in the future, I would love Sonova Studio to be a “go to” name in the interior textiles market.

Find out more about Sonova Studio and keep up to date with the latest product launches on the website. You can also view our latest Sonova Kids Collection.

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Interior Goods Direct trading as Blinds Direct suppliers of high quality home and commercial interior products. Interior Goods Direct Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Place of registration: UK, Registration number: 04966706, VAT Registration Number 817 3168 28, Registered office: Building 2, Colne Bridge Road, Colne Bridge, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD5 0RH