Friday, 21 June 2013

Marika Ukonaho

It's Follow Friday!

Marika Ukonaho is the designer behind 'mooselane design' which was founded in 2012.  Marika creates pattern designs for homeware products.

'Mooselane design's aim is to create fun, playful designs and patterns on otherwise ordinary homeware products.'

*quoted from mooselane design website

You can fin Marika on Facebook and follow her on twitter @mooselanedesign. You can view and buy mooselane design products from the website itself.

Have you always wanted to be a designer?

Not really. I've wanted to do something creative for as long as I can remember, but I have worked in a variety of businesses. I've discovered that I like combining design with business, so running my own business is really ideal.

How have you got to where you are now?

It's a combination of learning the practical skills (through various courses, including my degree in product design at the Glasgow School of Art) and a large dose of determination. Also, timing was right (for setting up Mooselane Design) after having my daughter.

What's your next step?

Beginning of 2013 I have focused a lot on the marketing side of business, and this is something I will continue to work on. I am also hoping to get my products into more shops this year. In the long run I hope to grow my business (see 5 year plan...).

What inspires you?

So many things! It can be the colours in a children's book, something random I spot when out and about... most of the time it's colours and compositions that work well and that transform into patterns in my head. My last collection was inspired by the "Africa" series on BBC One. It had such beautiful photography throughout and I loved the pattern the springboks created when standing in flocks...
What motivates you?
My daughter. It might sound a bit cheesy, but I really want her to grow up thinking that if she wants to achieve something, it can (within reason...) be done.

How do you start a new project/design?

It's fairly early days, but my plan is to do 2 small collections per year, so when it's time to start thinking about the next one I dig out any inspiration I've gathered so far for it and start drawing! I usually have kind of a theme in my mind already for what I want to do, and that usually spirals into a few more designs.
What do you enjoy most about design?
As a product designer I have a soft spot for designs that genuinely solve problems. I love looking at products designed for health care or for solving water issues in Africa etc. But I also really enjoy the playful side of design, which I get to explore with my business.

Do you have a favourite design that you have created?

I am pretty pleased with the Springbok pattern that I designed recently.

What is your typical day like?

I am a full-time mum as well as a business owner, so no day is really the same! I do usually check emails, update social media, make phone calls etc. in the morning. Thereafter I'll most likely be out and about with my daughter in some playgroup or with her new trike. In the afternoon I tend to do some work while she's napping. This could be designing if it's time for a new collection, researching, re-stocking/ordering, packing orders or just everyday admin. Sometimes we do sit in the studio together as she loves drawing too! I save any bigger jobs for early evening though, when my fiance is back from work. I usually check emails/social media again before closing the laptop for the night.
What medias do you like to use?
Well, I draw all patterns by hand and then scan them in for colouring and preparation for print. However I do sometimes try some designs out straight on fabric or mugs and I like that straight forward process.

Do you get a lot of support from family and friends?

My family is amazing. They are so supportive and help me whenever they can. They are also probably my biggest customers!

Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time?

I'll have lots of designs on a wide range of products and have been snapped up by a good, big retailer (or two)!

Do you have a favourite illustrator, designer etc?

I adore Claesson Koivisto Rune - they design gorgeous interiors as well as products. Very Scandinavian and I love their clean, crisp style. But I do like to mix it up with some more playful Joseph Joseph products! I like Orla Kiely's patterns too. I recently came across Paisley Tree Press and her letterpress designs are simply beautiful!

Favourite blog?

I have to admit, I didn't really read blogs until recently when I came across a few interesting ones via twitter. Besides my sisters lifestyle blog (in Swedish...), I read Red Lemon Club as it's absolutely brilliant for creative advice & inspiration. I also occasionally read Design Juices and Hannah Byatt (I do!).

Favourite design book?

At home I do like to flick though my "Pattern Design Applications & Variations" (Lou Andrea Savoir) book. The geeky side of me really likes a course book I have, called "Designing Interactive Systems"! I don't read lots of design books anymore to be honest.

Thank you for your time Marika, I really appreciate it.  If you'd like a blog feature and interview, please don't hesitate to email me:

*images courtesy to mooselane design

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