Homegirl London pays homage to Orwell and Goode. This two woman designer print maker team are based in the Scottish Borders. They make contemporary country designs with a dash of humour and a slight edge. The subject matter is mainly animals like the Cunning Fox and Dandy Deer along with the great outdoors. Combined with a distinct colour palette and attention to pattern detail, their style is beautifully unique. They make everything from upholstered footstools, pouffes, wooden coat hooks, drum lamp shades, cushions, tea towels, mugs, wall art prints and contemporary greeting cards. I caught up with the duo to find out more about Orwell and Goode.
Orwell and Goode – Product Selection
Meet the Orwell and Goode Owners
The company co-founders are Zuzana Gibb and Bronagh O’Kane. Zuzana studied fashion in London before moving to the Scottish Borders to set up her own wallpaper design and print company. Bronagh studied design at the College of Art in Belfast before becoming an aircraft mechanical engineer with the Royal Air Force.
Orwell and Goode – Owners Zuzana Gibb and Bronagh O’Kane
The pair met late 2008 when Bronagh attended one of Zuzana’s screen-printing courses. Bronagh went on to set up her own small brand and returned for another course with Zuzana. It was then that they became good friends and stayed in touch. A year later, in January 2011, they decided to start a business together. During the first two and a half years Bronagh was still at the RAF so juggled this career with the new start-up. Zuzana had her other businesses; print courses and wallpaper design and babies during this time. Today, Zuzana is head of design while Bronagh manages the business.
Orwell and Goode – Footstools
As for the company name, they explain – “We wanted something which wouldn’t date, didn’t directly reflect what we were selling and had a quirk about it. Zuzana’s husband had actually thought of this name for a business which he kindly let us use! We liked that we could become the characters of Mrs Orwell (Zuzana) and Mrs Goode (Bronagh) and be incognito while Bronagh was still in the Air Force. It also sounded like ‘all well and good’ which was the real clincher.”
Orwell and Goode – Badger, Owl and Fox Cushions
The business is based at Zuzana’s home in converted stables. Bronagh tells me – “Zuzana lives in Greenlaw where she had a large studio making wallpaper. I was living way up north in the Scottish Highlands on the coast of Morayshire with my work. It was difficult, especially when I was making a lot of the cushions and lampshades, because materials had to be shipped back and forth. I’ve now relocated and live just eight miles from the studio so we can enjoy working together with our other two members of staff.
Orwell and Goode – Fox Pouffe
They are certainly enjoying the journey – “Designing your own work from early stages of sketches and seeing the final product is extremely satisfying. Taking our collections to a trade show for the first time is nerve racking but the feedback we have received so far has been extremely positive and encouraging.” Although Bronagh does admit that the responsibilities of running your own business are greater than her RAF role. She reveals – “It can be a challenge when other people depend on you for their jobs and shops need your products to sell well. So can managing a fast growing company without any previous experience. But, I have to say, it’s very rewarding now that we’re becoming established and Zuzana is being recognised as the very talented designer she is.”
Orwell and Goode Collection
They tell me about their unique designs – “We have a distinctive illustrative style but it is not one that can be easily categorised as folk or Scandi. Although these are words other people use to describe our work.”
Orwell and Goode – Fox Cushion
Colours are also important, they tell me – “We mix our own colours when screen-printing so tone is important. We like pops of colour on charcoal but not too bold. Our new digitally printed collection is a little brighter than previous designs but we will use tones of mustard and rust before brighter shades. It was fun for us to design for digital print with no restrictions on amount of colours and detail. But we do love the depth of colours and crisp lines you get from screen-printing.”
Orwell and Goode – Owl Feathers Cushion
So far the collections have all been tightly themed with animals and the great outdoors which are named simply relative to their look. Bronagh elaborates – “Without wanting to sound clichéd, we are definitely influenced by living in the countryside. I grew up on a farm and enjoy many outdoor adventure sports and Zuzana loves to take her dogs out for long walks.”
Orwell and Goode – Little Deer Contemporary Greeting Card
They explain – “We have a respect for the animals in our countryside but our fascination lies really with pattern. Building little details of pattern into all our designs is our obsession.” For example, from a distance some of their illustrations appear to be something else. Take their badger, fox and owl patterns which have been applied to upholstered footstools, pouffes and cushions. These might be mistaken for a flower but when you get up close you realise that they are something else entirely.
Orwell and Goode – Owl Cushion
Then they hone in even more with their patterns which depict details like badger paws, owl feathers and fox ears.
Orwell and Goode – Wildlife Pattern Cushions
They also feature some quirky animals full of distinguished personality like their Dandy Deer and Dandy Doe.
Orwell and Goode – Dandy Deer and Dandy Doe Wall Art Prints
Plus some cuter animal illustrations like this hare in coral.
Orwell and Goode – Hare Wall Art Print
They also have a selection of ‘Animals in the woods’ featuring deer, stags, foxes and hares.
Orwell and Goode – In The Woods Cushions
They use the best materials possible – “We are very proud to use Scottish linen sourced only two hours from our studio. Our paper for prints is beautiful Italian paper 60% cotton, 40% wood pulp with a soft handle which holds ink colours beautifully.”
Buy Orwell and Goode Products
To find out more about the company and to buy the products go the shopon notonthehighstreet.com.
To give you an idea about prices upholstered footstools are £300, pouffes £95, wooden coat hooks £22.50, drum lamp shades £47.50-106.50, cushions £45-55, wall art prints £5-40 and contemporary greeting cards are £2-2.50. Keep an eye out for their new products which will include furnishing fabric, wallpaper and Scottish wool blankets. They can also design and print bespoke wallpaper, soft furnishing accessories, wall art prints, furniture and wedding invitations.
Author: Homegirl London. Thanks: Zuzana Gibb and Bronagh O’Kane. Disclosure: This feature includes the following affiliate partners – notonthehighstreet.com (if you click through from my website and purchase items from the affiliates I will earn a small commission).