Last year’s design competition was so popular, we decided to hold another one this year, with the aim of helping our winner get a foot into the industry by building their CAD skills and portfolio.  The pool of talent this year was, once again, amazing; we were so impressed with a lot of the work, but there can only be one winner!

 Matt’s work was unanimously picked by the judging panel here at AVA.

AVA Training & Education Coordinator Hannah said, “his work just fits the brief, we were so impressed by the attention to detail, how he thought about the repeat and the whole concept of ‘connectivity’. I love it!”  

 We’ve spoken to Matt to find out a little bit more about his background, and what his career goals are:

“I’ve been very fortunate so far with my career.  I ended up in the wallpaper industry sort of by accident, having applied for a job at John Mark Ltd without realising quite what would be involved.  I thought I was doing graphic design for bank cards!  I ended up working in the print room and eventually alongside some of the country’s top pattern designers, helping them with their colour work.  Over time being surrounded by patterns every day I got infected with the pattern bug, and it’s become a passion.  I’ve always been quite creative, so the next logical step for me was to try my hand at designing.  But design is a really difficult thing to make money from, and there’s often no obvious path from education.  I’m perhaps slightly more privileged given that I’m a bit older than some of the graduates just starting out and I have some industry insight, but I know what it’s like to feel like you’re getting nowhere with applications and it’s not easy to find time to work on designs alongside a full-time job.  But I’ll keep building up my portfolio over the coming months as it’s my hope to sell some of my work in future.  At the moment, my focus is with JML and honing my AVA skills to make things easier for us there when we’re working with designers.”  

We asked him where he gets his inspiration from, and how he created the chosen design.

“It’s really easy to get inspired when you get to work with incredible designs every day.  The difficult part is translating that inspiration into something workable and with some sense of originality.  I’m always most fascinated by abstract designs and those that have a sense of the designer’s hand present in the work.  I feel like there’s a kind of authenticity when you can see the brush marks or the pencil lines.  I started thinking about the competition theme of connectivity and how important that word seems after the last few years.  I had an idea about rope entwining and being tied up in knots, it felt like it could be a metaphor for our cities and how everything is interconnected.   I suppose I wanted it to feel a bit ‘landscapey’ as well, so the blobs of watercolour came into it to form the background, in the hopes that they evoked rolling hills or ploughed fields.  It was tricky getting all the squiggles to come together and sit nicely; but I think I’ve at least achieved the sense of authenticity I wanted – with thanks to my Dad’s scanner!” 

…and finally, we wanted to know how he feels about winning the AVA Design Competition 2022!

“It’s pretty great! It was completely unexpected for me. If I’m honest, I had a serious case of ‘imposter syndrome’ when I found out; as it suddenly dawned on me that I didn’t have much of a portfolio to show. But, it’s a huge boost of confidence for me, so onwards and upwards!  I hope I can make the most of the training AVA has offered me; I’ll be spending most of my evenings over winter at my Mac® I think!”  

We are so excited to have Matt take part in our CST course, and see how he starts to use the software to build his design career!