Rude Product Collection

Profiles: Rude

Abi and Rupert MeatsHomegirl London pays homage to Rude.  Abi and Rupert Meats joined forces back in 1999 to design and produce a whole host of goodies; prints, notebooks, cards, laptop cases, cushions, furniture, clothing and much more.

The Rude designs are graphic, bold and bright with a typographical focus and a bit of a retro feel.  Their style is very much in demand and they’ve created collections for the likes of the Tate, Imperial War Museum and even Doctor Who.  Not only do they love what they do but they actually did fall in love along the way and are now married with kids.  Based in Dalston, London they are content making and producing objects they feel passionate about.  I caught up with the duo to find out more …

Q: How did you meet?

A: I was freelancing at a design agency called Stocks Austin Sice and Rupert was a junior designer there.  He was also setting up his own clothing label at the time and I was looking to set up my own design company.  After about a year of talking about it, we joined forces and both started trading as Rude.  Much later we also became husband and wife.

Q: Tell me about your design backgrounds.

A: We both studied graphic design.  Rupert studied at Newcastle and graduated in 1996.  I studied at Preston University and graduated in 1994.  We both started working at various agencies and became disillusioned with graphic design and wanted to try and apply our own illustrations and graphics to other mediums rather than just paper.  However, this was at a time when things seemed to be more pigeonholed and there wasn’t the cross-over you get today with image-making and designer-makers being so prevalent.

Cine Laptop Case

Cine Laptop Case

Q: Why set up your business?

A: We couldn’t find a company that did all the things we wanted to do as designers.  From early on we wanted to produce clothing, artwork, home accessories, film and illustrations.

It’s All About The Good Times Print

It’s All About The Good Times Print

Q: Why call the company Rude?

A: My husband initially started the company and his name is Rupert, so it originated as Ru-designs and quickly got shortened to Rude.  It’s one of those names that everyone thinks they know even when they don’t so it’s worked in our favour.

Flat Pack Camera Coffee Table

Flat Pack Camera Coffee Table

Q: Where are you based and why?

A: Our studio is in Stoke Newington / Dalston.  We have lived in this area for 13 years, but also our children go to school nearby, so it’s part of the magic triangle for us; work, home and school.  It also happens that it’s a really evolving area, what’s happening in Dalston at the moment is phenomenal.  I could never have imagined it when we first moved into the area.

You and Me Cushion

You and Me Cushion

Q: How many people work at your company?

A: It’s just us full time, although we do outsource production, PR and some design elements.

Q: Describe your design style.

A: Our designs have always been really bright and playful, often typographical and uplifting – so we’ve been told.  Rupert does most of the illustrations and has honed his style over the last decade into what is now his own handwriting – we’re really lucky to have this.

Q: Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?

A: Our children inspire our thought process and a way of looking at the world.  We love haberdashers, hardware, bike and sailing shops – because the product has to innovate and solve a problem.  Daily nourishment would come from sites like ‘Pinterest’, ‘It’s Nice That’ and blogs.

Hand Print Coat Rack

Hand Print Coat Rack

Q: Tell me about your collections.

A: We started our first clothing collections in 1999 and we always gave them a theme or concept, largely because it helps us focus our ideas.  My favourite was ‘Things aren’t always what they seem’ and featured illustrations of giraffes with TV aerials for heads.

We’ve recently launched our first stationery and home ware collection.  Although we’ve designed and produced many for our clients, it was nice to have a free reign.  We’re huge fans of colour and form and try really hard to make the illustrations match the product.  It’s important to us not to use off the shelf product but to innovate as much as possible.

Stationery Collection

Stationery Collection

Shirt Cushion

Shirt Cushion

Rude Beaker


Q: What’s your fascination with making and producing things?

A: The products don’t have to be physically made by us, for instance, we’re over the moon when we get a great sample back from a factory.  We love the process of manufacturing and the idea of a see taking root and growing out of your mind into something physical.  We’re just completing the build of our family home and the thrill is to see something rise from the ground, built to the specification of your design.

Q: Which designer / artist do you admire and why?

A: I personally have always been a fan of Charles and Ray Eames.  It sounds obvious but I love the breadth of design they cover.  They seem unafraid to make a film or a chair – I love their lateral thinking.  Thomas Heatheriwck, Marimekko and David Hockney are also firm favourites.

Q: What’s the best thing about owning your own business?

A: The flexibility of time and creativity.  You don’t have to be afraid to try out daft ideas even if they fail.

Q: What one piece of advice would you pass onto someone wanting to set up their own business?

A: Be instinctive.

Q: What’s coming up for the rest of 2013?

A: We’re launching a book for our 15th anniversary called ‘Time flies when you’re being Rude.’  It will feature collections, adverts, illustrations, client work, stills from films, murals and limited edition screen prints that will be wrapped around the front cover.  There’s also likely to be a big launch party too.

In terms of price points; £5 for a beaker or sketchpad and up to £200 for a coffee table.  You can buy the products from This is Rude.  Credits: text by Homegirl London, images courtesy of Rude, special thanks to Abi Meats, Rupert Meats and Helen Shortall.