Where did your passion for design come from? 
From a really young age, I’ve always had an underlying passion for art and design. It wasn’t until I was in year 9 at school that my art teacher, Mr White, noticed that passion and helped nurture it. He encouraged me to spend my lunches in the art room just being creative with no purpose which is where a lot of my happy memories of school come from.

What was your first step on your design journey? 
Encouraged by my art teacher, I worked on my creative skills throughout school and carried on to college, working through two design courses to find my specialist area of design. After seeing the portfolios of the textile design students, I realised I needed to change my path from Fine Art to Textile Design. I went to De Montfort University to do a BA (Hons) in Textile Design which is where my love for home interiors grew.

What did you learn in your first job that you didn’t learn in Education? 
I studied Textile Design at university, and I could never grasp how designers would spend so much time using Adobe to create their seamless patterns. I was taught to use the Offset tool in Adobe Photoshop to create my half drop repeats and it was a technically long process. It was only at my first job, as an Intern Designer, that I realised software like AVA existed.

How did Education shape your approach to design? 
I learnt early on that you can’t always get things right the first time. My tutor in college had us spend hours on a design once, then made us paint over it completely in white and start again. I hated it at the time but from that I created something the second time around that I preferred. Not being precious about the design process and understanding you can’t always get it right the first time was a big learning curve for me.

Can you talk us through your design process? 
I use a mix of digital and traditional designing. I often start with a sketch that gets scanned into the computer and use a combination of Adobe Photoshop and AVA to develop it. Once I’m happy with an idea I’ll begin the separation process in AVA. I am sometimes influenced by the separations themselves. For example, I recently worked on a floral design using the CMYK process. Once I started to colour the separations, it gave me the inspiration to produce some beautiful colourways with ghostlike flowers. It’s something I wouldn’t have considered until I had the separations!

What is the inspiration behind your work? 
This one is easy, it’s nature. I am heavily influenced by all things flora and fauna. I love the plants, animals, and insects of nature but also the pattern and geometrics created by nature.

What made you decide to take the leap and go freelance? 
I’ve always been interested in working as a freelancer but the timing was never quite right. Due to effects of the pandemic, and my decision to move three hours closer to home, I found myself faced with the decision to either find a new role or give the freelancing a go.

What industries do you serve? 
I work predominantly with the home interiors industry, art-working and separating wallpapers and fabrics. I enjoy creating, reworking and recolouring all forms of design. Last week I separated original watercolours for fine art prints so they could be recoloured to suit new trends. My wide range of skills can be transferred to most areas of design and being able to do separations is beneficial to the majority of my designs and my clients.

Do these industries have different design requirements? 
The biggest difference I’ve found in the home interiors industry is scale. Larger motifs are better suited to wallpapers whereas smaller designs are better for fabrics. This isn’t always the case, it’s good to push boundaries, but as a general observation it’s something I’ve noticed.

How does using CAD influence your work? 
CAD plays a big part in my work. I utilise both Adobe Photoshop and AVA in every design I create. It gives me the ability to manipulate a design as well as tweak, retouch and change ideas quickly. I love the ease AVA gives me when creating repeating patterns and, of course, the ability to separate designs for colouring.

What is your favourite creative feature in AVA? 
I love the textures in the filter browser. It’s a seamless way of adding a little grit, texture, and interest into a layer without having to even think about it too much. I currently have over 50 textures in my library which get used in almost every design I work on.

What are your areas of expertise? 
I have a lot of experience in the full lifecycle of wallpapers and fabrics. I have developed many skills through my years of employment in both design and marketing departments so when I started as a freelancer, I wanted to offer a refined list of the services without overloading clients. I’m trained as a home interiors designer, so I have a designer’s eye with a serious passion for digital separation. Whilst separation is the top of my expertise, I’m happy to advise my clients across the whole journey; from initial design concept and art-working to separations, colouring and even the manufacturing process. I also have experience with marketing, packaging and social media!

You mention you specialise in separations; can you explain what procedures are involved in this? 
I take a flattened image and put it into AVA. Then I pull out each colour, and its tones, and pop it on its own layer. I do this until each colour has its own layer and the separations together look like the original flattened design. Using the separation process means you can get total control over the colours when moving the design into manufacturing.

How did the last 2 years shape your approach to being online? 
I don’t think I would have taken the plunge into the freelance world if it wasn’t for the last two years. During the first lockdown, I was starting to feel an urge to move back home after living so far away for the last six years. It was making the move back to the Midlands to be with family and friends that started the path to freelancing as a separation artist.

If you could give one piece of advice to designers thinking of going freelance, what would it be? 
Believe you can do it and be prepared for the roller-coaster.

What advice would you have for new designers? 
Find your niche. You don’t have to be good at all styles of designing, you need to find what you’re really good at (and what you enjoy the most) and pursue those ideas.

We want to thank Lauren Peploe for sharing her open advice and we hope you can find inspiration and motivation from this! Be sure to check out Lauren’s profiles to find out more about the services she offers.

Website – www.laurenpeploe.co.uk       Instagram – laurenpeploedesign