Annie Dornan Smith - behind the scenes blog posts

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The By the Beach Collection is LIVE!

Annie Dornan Smith - By the Beach Collection Blog!

Finally!! It feels like forever, but I'm so excited to share that my new collection for Spring/Summer 18, the By The Beach collection, is now LIVE! If you want to know more about the design process behind it I filmed a sneak peek inside the sketchbook  for the project. 

The collection is inpsired by the sights and sounds of a blazing hot beach somewhere nearer the equator than old Blighty (When you live in England, sometimes a gal's gotta dream) and is based on those sunny summer essentials.



When I designed this collection I knew I was going for bright colours, warm, girly hues - and I was aiming for a simpler, more abstract vibe. I definitely wanted to have a go at playing with more brushstrokes and shapes as I find often my illustrations can get too small and tight, so this time I really made an effort to create big, loose drawings, and tried to move away from sketching out in pencil first and just leaping straight in there with the paint. It was scary, but it's really given me a lot more confidence in my mark making.  

The Paint Swatch Notebook


You might have noticed recently, too that I have started to head in a different direction with my products. I have given myself more freedom to step out of the safety of the pretty black brush lettering. Although I absolutely love how it looks and it's definitely a part of my signature, I felt like I didn't need it to be the defining part of my brand. Instead, what I did want to define my brand was more a certain feeling - a warm, soft, feminine and chic feeling that runs across my products. More variation in products for you, and more freedom to play for me - yay!

Framed prints from the By the Beach Collection



In the same vein, when I was designing these products, I gave myself a lot of time to work on them (I still ended up running out of time, but, yanno!) not least because I really wanted to *perfect* a big, beautiful collection, but also because I knew I had big dreams and new ideas for the physical products for this collection, so I allowed myself time to research and sample new products that were beautiful and great quality.

In the past I have generally made my products using some of the most popular printing/manufacturing companies that a lot of other creatives in the UK use to create their designs, but in the past year or so I've really been trying to step away and find unique products that are great quality, and fit my vision perfectly.

a candlelit desk with prints propped up on the back wall


i have kind of supersized this collection. Not only is there a lot more products within the collection (it's my biggest range yet) I have aimed for in general bigger, more ambitious products. I went big on my prints this time - A4 has always been a safe and easy size to make prints, but I personally found I didn't actually display them in my house. Framed, I found that they got a bit lost on the big, empty expanse of a wall, so this time I went for big and bold, which would give my illustrations room to shine and pop and really snazz-up any wall. There's still a mixture of sizes, though - something to fit all spaces. Finally, I decided to kick my greetings cards up a notch and glam every single one up with a little sprinkle of shiny gold foil! I can't explain how long it took me to find a supplier that could make the gold foil how I wanted and I'm so happy with how they look. 

Make sure you head over to check out the full collection and let me know what you think!




Introducing the By the Beach Collection! Shop the latest collection of illustrated cards, prints and stationery for summer inspired by beachside holidays, warm sunshine and foreign accents!   - Annie Dornan Smith | UK Home and Paper Goods