Behind the scenes at Graham & Brown

Wallpaper designer, wall art illustrator and trend predictor; Jody Hudson certainly keeps herself busy in the studio! Having been a valued member of the Graham & Brown family for just over a year and a half, her endless talents never cease to amaze us.
“I’ve been here the least amount of time and it is just a matter of finding my feet first!” Following a legacy of beautiful designs, Jody has fit right in using her background in fashion to enhance our creative output, so let’s see how she’s getting on!
Could you describe a regular day in the studio?
“I usually come in and receive a brief. I’ll do a bit of research, then I’ll start collecting all the elements to work on the design. So if it’s hand-drawn I’ll get them all done first, or I might be scanning things in. Then you do the design, simple as that really!”
How long does that process take?
“It depends on the design. I mean, if it’s typography it could take half a day, if it’s hand-drawn wallpaper it could take a couple of days. You can’t always get it right the first time, so it varies.”
Some of the briefs you receive might be quite rigid, so how do you put your personal stamp on them and give yourself creative freedom?
“Again it all depends on the brief. Some are more specific but I think people come to me for more CAD collage-type things. I do quite a lot of typography and I do all the kids’ stuff as well, so I’m more CAD over hand-drawn.”
Did you always want to go into interior design?
“I started off working in fashion, so I did seamstressing and print for fashion. It sort of translated over into interior really.
“I was working in China as a fashion designer and moved to London to do the same thing. The job opportunity at G&B came up and I just thought ‘why not?’ and I really love it! There’s more longevity to it, and I can spend more time on [my designs].”
Do you see many of the runway trends coming over into the interior spectrum or is interior its own animal?
“No definitely not, they come hand in hand. The gap between the time a trend comes out on the catwalk and when you see it in interiors is closing, as we use the same sources for researching trends. Working in fashion and working in interiors, you’d find it’s exactly the same. It’s a bit wackier on the catwalk, but how you do it is exactly the same.”
So where do you find your personal inspiration then?
“Everywhere! With having a fashion background I always keep up to date with what’s happening there, but the fashion bloggers, they’re crazy (in a good way!). You can always find something there!”
You’ve got the runway designers dictating trends, but then you’ve got the fashion blogging mavericks. Is that the way it’s going?
“Well I’m finding that a lot of the fashion bloggers are doing a lot of interiors on their blogs anyway. I think it’s just that people aren’t scared to be a bit crazier in their own homes. People want their stamp on their own house now.”
Would you say that your designs reflect that element of no fear then?
“I do think they’re not as commercial as they should be, but we get there in the end! I do think I start off a lot crazier and I have to filter this down a bit!”
To make sure things are commercial, how do you track the trends as they emerge?
“It’s pretty obvious. We have trends that will follow on year to year and then we have ones that are brand new and they just hit every market. However, I do think because we’re such a big company we do get to put our own stamp on it as well, so we can create our own trends. You can really just tell that, for example, monochrome is going to be really big one year and not the next.”
Is there a trend in particular that you’re drawn to the most?
“At the moment it’s our industrial trend, you see it in cool bars and in people’s own homes. It’s concrete and raw, and I just think that’s really cool, stripping everything back.
“I think with the industrial trend there aren’t many motifs so it is all about the texture. Using embossing, glitter and finishes, it’s really fun to be able to work with this trend.”
Where do you see that trend being applied?
“Well I think one of our best sellers has been the brick design and people have it in their kitchens, bathrooms and in their man caves. I think because we can change the colour of it and people can just pick and choose where they want it to be, it can be put anywhere really!
“There’s no boundaries anymore and it’s quite nice in that sense.”
G&B have only recently launched their cushion range online and of course you have an extensive range of wall art too, has this changed the way you see the products being used around the home?
“I wouldn’t say it’s changed it, but I’d say it has let us put more creativeness on to new products. You can always run a trend through all kinds of different products, but you do have to keep in mind ‘would it go in a room together?’ I do work on wall art as well as wallpaper now and it’s really nice to be able to translate that, because they are a little bit different.”
How would you say they differ?
“I think with wallpaper it can’t be too in your face, people have to be able to put it on four walls if they want to. With wall art, you can take that down and it can be a little bit quirky and bright. It’s just a burst on the wall rather than being a full wall.”
Jody’s typography wall art has become something of a signature design. Whilst we can imagine these stunning scripts digitally drawn, they’re all actually created by Jody: “The thing with the typography is that a lot of it is actually hand-drawn, because obviously it has to fit a certain frame. Again, that’s another example of what goes into it, but people just love it. Lyrics and meanings, they’re good for presents for other people because they’re quite personal.”
They say that trends come back around, is there any trend that you’d like to see revived?
“I keep seeing a lot of pop art coming back and I’m absolutely thrilled. Hopefully, maybe at the end of this year or next year, this will be something that’s going to be big again! You can almost take any old thing and make it into pop art.”
So now that you’ve seen that emerging, are you already jotting down ideas for that?
“Yes definitely, Pinterest is really good for stuff like that. If you see anything and then look back on your Pinterest board, you’re just like ‘oh wow!’
“You’ve got your finger on the pulse all the time and you see what other people are designing, there’s a feel for it. You’re surrounded by creative people, so once you’re in that routine it does get easier.”
With the successful launch of home accessories what’s next for G&B?
“Watch this space! We’ve got a design team that has all the right components to do special things.”