Homegirl London pays homage to Sam Osborne. She’s a self-confessed ‘Brightly Coloured Design Nerd’ bringing you fabulously funky stationery – contemporary greeting cards, wrapping paper and notebooks. Along with her retro kitchenware accessories – ceramic mugs, tea towels, melamine placemats and coasters plus limited edition prints. Sam’s love for the 1960s and mid century modern design shines through in her bold and glorious graphics. Her mission is to combine ascetics with function, purposely using vibrant colours, perspectives and strong shapes to brighten up our day. I caught up with Sam Osborne to find out more.
Wondercook Contemporary Greeting Cards
Sam Osborne – meet the designer
Sam tells me about her creative upbringing – “My family have worked in the art and design industries for years. Both of my grandmothers loved painting and my mum is an expert crafter. Dad and my sister are graphic designers so there was no escaping it really! I was always visiting art exhibitions when I was growing up. I knew from very early on that I wanted to be involved in this world in some way, but didn’t know what exactly. At the Surrey Institute for Art and Design I had the opportunity to experiment with so many mediums such as print making and photography. It helped me finally decide that I wanted to focus on graphic design.”
As for wanting to set up her own venture, well that’s down to her father. Sam explains – “Dad had always worked for himself so I thought it was a pretty normal thing to do. But I was also acutely aware of the challenges. Taking care of all aspects of running a business is tough, especially as I get bored very easily. Those poor old spreadsheets don’t get as much attention as they need. I would much rather be creating my next collection.”
Wondercook Tea Towel
After leaving a graphic design job in January 2011, Sam spent three weeks in New Zealand. While relaxing she came to the major decision of setting up her own business. That’s exactly what she did when she returned home to Oxfordshire. Being based here she is close to family which has its benefits as Sam explains – “If I ever need feedback my ‘expert team’ of designers (or rather my relatives) are nearby. Aside from the family intervention, Sam works pretty much alone unless she needs to bounce ideas around with her boyfriend who is usually just in the next room working!
Sam Osborne – view the collection
When you see Sam’s designs you’ll notice she’s very much inspired by the 1960s, she confesses – “I think I might have been born in the wrong era. My home is filled with brightly coloured 1960s melamine. My walls covered in retro prints and I have mid century modern furniture everywhere!” This obsession isn’t anything new, Sam reveals – “I’ve always been fascinated by bright, vibrant, clashing colours. When I lived at home I painted the walls in my room pillar box red and my ceiling yellow. At university my room was a mix of purple and cobalt blue. Since then, my obsession with colour hasn’t wavered at all as you can see from my latest collection.”
Sam sums up her designs – “My work is vibrant, warm, bold, fresh, retro and completely immersed in colour. It’s taken years of crumpled up sketches chucked in the bin, plenty of pencil sharpening and countless hours on the computer before I’ve reached this definitive style. That’s what I admire about Orla Kiely – her designs are bold, colourful and iconic. They are unmistakably hers which is what every designer strives for.”
Wondercook Mr and Mrs Card
There are currently two collections. Sam explains – “Rainbow Patterns are a selection of colourful designs and illustrations. These started with women’s legs in heels, birds, butterflies and Russian dolls on the cards. The content is eclectic and really ties in with my interests and fascinations. For example, I love the brightness and cheeriness of Russian Dolls and the way they tuck into each other. It’s the neatness that appeals to me as I’m a bit of a mathematician when it comes to my work. Being able to achieve pure vector, for example, in my designs gives me a lot of satisfaction. The designs may look carefree but I’ve deliberately chosen exactly where I want each image to appear.”
Rainbow Patterns Cards
You’ll also find more abstract designs which are the lines and shapes taken from the main Rainbow Patterns content.
Rainbow Patterns Wrapping Paper
Wondercook is Sam’s latest creation which celebrates cooking, she explains – “I love how people try to be adventurous in the kitchen. I’m the same, I never follow a recipe. Cooking and sharing food, tasting new ingredients and catching up over supper can be a social, joyous thing which brings family and friends together. I wanted this joy to be encapsulated in my designs.”
Wondercook Home of Baking Limited Edition Print
Some of the Wondercook patterns are more abstract, Sam tells me – “The geometric designs in the Wondercook were born out of the familiar shapes you see when cooking e.g. the circular shape of the saucepan or the triangles of a knifepoint. These have been abstracted over a series of iterations until they became pure geometric shapes and serve as a complementary set of designs that will flow through all of my future collections tying them together.”
Wondercook Egg Card
Sam tells me more about the Wondercook collection – “Wassily Kadinsky (Bauhaus) and his passion for vibrant colour and free form has been my inspiration for this design. It’s definitely got a retro vibe – very early to mid-20th century but the saturation of colour brings a fresh feel. Also, my Pinterest finds like 1960s kitchenware has given me food for thought!”
Sam Osborne – buy the products
You can buy Sam’s products from her website www.sam-osborne.co.uk. She also has a shop at Etsy: Etsy UK Link. Everything is made in England using the highest quality materials and techniques. To give you an idea about prices – Limited Edition Print signed by Sam £30, Contemporary Greetings Cards £2.75, Ceramic Mugs £10 and Tea Towels are £9.50. Check out the Recipe Journal for £15 which is a lovely gift for a food loving friend.
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Sam Osborne. Thanks: Sam Osborne and Corienne Burns. Disclosure: This feature includes the following affiliate partners – Etsy (if you click through from my website and purchase items from the affiliates I will earn a small commission).