Collector’s Edition Mug And Tea Towel

Illustrations Ed. Sarah tells us about the process of designing our 150th Anniversary mug and tea towel . . .

How did you go about finding a pattern that would work on the mug?

I wanted to create a design that would be consistent with the overall 150th “theme” that we had developed, and it needed to look like a high quality collector’s item – both by itself and also in a set with the tea towel and 150th Anniversary Edition.

As I had already designed the swirly border featured on the 150th special edition cover, I used that as a starting point, taking elements from the border and figuring out how I could apply the same look to a mug and tea towel.

To begin with I did a search online and created a moodboard with other mug and tea towel designs that I particularly liked as well as images that fitted in with the theme and feel that I was going for. Once I had gathered a lot of inspiration and ideas of what worked well and what didn’t, I then began to make simple thumbnail sketches to quickly get my initial ideas down on to paper, so that I could see at a glance what was going to work.

There were also some technical constraints which had to be considered, such as keeping the colour scheme limited due to the printing techniques used in production, as well as not putting too much fine detail on the mug which would be lost in the printing and firing process.

How many drafts did you go through before you found one that worked?

Many, many drafts! A lot of tiny iterations and comparisons were made before reaching the final design.

Had you ever designed a tea towel before you joined the “Friend”?!

Nope! But I have designed and made a dress which looked like a peacock for my higher art exam!

Are there any unique challenges in designing a tea towel?

You have to work on a larger scale than usual, and finer details won’t print as well on fabric as they will on paper, but generally it’s not too different.

Out of the logos featured, do you have a favourite? Do you have a favourite retro era when it comes to design?

I really like the simplistic, elegant look of the 1950’s logo.

Are you a cup or mug person?

I’m a mug person.

Do you have a favourite accompanying biscuit for a cuppa?  

Anything within arm’s reach!

Order your 150th Tea Towel and Mug Pack.

Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.