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  • Writer's pictureWraptious

MAKE IT IN DESIGN: Harriet Harker

This year we set the students at Make it in Design the challenge to design a cushion based on a "playful prints" theme. We had some fabulous entries, but three particularly caught our eye! Congrats to Harriet Harker, Caroline Smith and Sue Gibbins. Their cushions will be available to buy on the website for the next six months. Here's a little more about winner Harriet Harker...

1) How long have you been designing for?

Like many creative types I'd say it's been an on and off thing since birth really! I took various art & design qualifications at school and college but more seriously decided to pursue a career in design around 18 months ago so have been furiously producing work since then.

Axolotl Circle by Harriet Harker

2) What artist or movement has inspired your work?

Recently inspiration comes from the natural world around me and through travel experiences. Although I'd say there isn't a single artist or movement but I guess subconsciously the artists I've admired throughout my life will have an influence of the work that comes out of me. People like Tove Jansson & Mary Tortel for their simple, charming characters and the delightful worlds they inhabit. Illustrator Arthur Rackham and designer Maurice Pillard Verneuil for their flowing organic forms.

3) What was your process when designing for the brief?

This brief I approached like many others and it goes like this: Kettle on, biscuits ready, research! I searched through masses of nature imagery looking for beautiful plant specimens and animals with that perfect, playful pose giving easy sense flow and movement. Next I drew some simple pencil sketches in my sketchbook. These got transferred into the computer where I worked on them to add details and texture. Colour tends to be the last thing I think about (I know it's the very first thing for many artists!). Once I'm happy with the design layout I play with colour palettes until the perfect one strikes.

4) What advice could you give to an emerging artist, based on your experience?

That it's never too late in life to start something new and that e-learning is your friend. I taught myself so much through online tutorials, the Make It In Design courses are particularly worth looking at if you're interested in surface pattern design.

Also, if you haven't already - join Instagram. For creative's it's a fantastic source of inspiration plus it has a supportive and friendly community of other artists & designers.

5) Where can we find your work?

 You can see my work on my portfolio and blog website at, plus I'm on the old social media. In my Etsy store I have a few products for sale and am soon to launch my first proper product range in time for Christmas so watch this space!

To buy Harriet's beautiful Axolotl Circle cushion, head to our website


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