A day in the life of wallpaper designer Vicky Davison
Sat at her board focused intently on the brief at hand, that’s where you’ll find Vicky most days. “I don’t get involved with a lot of meetings, so I can just sit, concentrate and focus on my drawings. I don’t do any work on CAD, I’ve had training but my skills are mainly in hand drawing,” she told us.
A member of the team for 8 years, Vicky is responsible for some of Graham & Brown’s most beautiful designs. With 20 years of experience in the industry overall, it would be remiss of us not to pick Vicky’s brains and share some of her extensive design wisdom with you all!
Have you always been creative?
“I’ve always been good at art ever since I was little, but I had the choice of either doing ceramics or textiles. I just went into textiles for surface patterns and that was it really.
“I didn’t do a degree, I did a HND in textiles and surface pattern work at Leyton College of Art and Design. Luckily I was offered a job when I was still young. We had a live brief where we worked with people in the industry and I met a woman who was setting up a design studio who offered me a job, so I didn’t go to uni, I just went straight into work.”
Would you say that’s the best route for people trying to get into the industry then?
“I think there is more pressure to get a degree now, but I’m not sure it really does you any good. I think that basically if you can get into the industry and get going as soon as possible then that’s the best way really. You can gain more experience in the studio rather than in the classroom, because it’s not always relevant what you learn and they don’t always teach you the right things.”
How did you end up working at Graham & Brown?
“Well I was working in a studio before I worked in a big company like this, so I worked in places that designed for companies that needed to buy patterns in. So doing it that way around taught me the things I needed to learn and I knew what bigger companies would look for.”
“There’s a picture of it on the wall there, it’s everywhere! That was just a brief of a watercolour floral that I had to do for blue label,” she added.
“So I just started with a blank piece of paper and painted it, I don’t think I looked at the archive. I tend to just find images of roses and general things to look at and adapt them.”
Did you have any idea that it was going to be so popular?
“Flowers like that are quite commercial and that’s probably why it’s done so well. I suppose I didn’t realise it would be as successful as it was, because it’s been out quite a while now and it's still a good seller.
“It’s just so nice, metallic and sparkly, which it wasn’t when I first painted it! It was just on a plain cream watercolour background and the flower was purple watercolour. The next stage on from me is Nina and then I think the stylist colours it up and thinks about the metallics. It kind of evolves.”
In the 8 years you’ve been at G&B you’ve seen trends come and go. Do you ever wish that one of them would come back in style?
“I’ve kind of been working in the industry for about 20 years, so everything has come back around on itself. Then there’s some things that never go out of fashion like florals!”
In a constantly changing industry, G&B has had to adapt to a sense of disposable fashion in interior design. The changes that Vicky has seen along the way reflect the shape of the current market.
“I like things that are going to last quite a long time,” she added, agreeing that it’s the ‘sentimental value’ and rich history of G&B that makes the company’s products that bit more special.
Could you describe the interior of your own home?
“That’s a difficult one because I’ve just moved and it’s got the most horrific hand-painted stripes on the wall! I do have some wallpaper that I’m going to put up, and it’s a plain metallic. I also have a big Chinese lacquer painting, so I’d say I go for more quirky things. I go for unusual things that don’t really fit into a specific trend, so it’s kind of timeless.”