Surface Designer Spotlight: Anjana Simpson

Please join us in celebrating this month’s spotlight surface designer, Anjana Simpson. We know you’ll find her story inspiring!

Please Introduce Yourself

I grew up in Oklahoma, moved away for college, got married, had an exciting career as a research scientist, had a kid and then moved back to the blue skies and open spaces.

I have always been a maker. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t making something. My mom was an accomplished sewist and knitter. She made most all of our clothes growing up. I have followed in her footsteps. I can’t imagine not making things.

Surface Designer Designer Spotlight: Anjana Simpson
Tell us a little bit about your design journey.

Surface pattern design is the career I never knew I wanted. I actually started learning hand lettering and calligraphy in 2015 during my recovery from rotator cuff surgery. I couldn’t move my arm in big motions and lettering was “quiet” on my joint.

I really wanted to learn how to digitize my lettering and realized that Adobe Illustrator would be how I accomplish it. Skillshare was my introduction into Illustrator and once I started poking around at classes, pattern design classes kept popping up. Curious, I took a pattern design class and I was hooked. It was magical.

Surface design by Anjana Simpson

I took the leap into really buckling down and committing to learn Illustrator and SPD after my brother’s suicide in 2018. I was restless and grieving but also asking myself “if not now, when?” I really did need something to do with my hands and head. Sewing wasn’t always portable but my iPad was.

By 2020, I felt I had enough of a portfolio to start pitching my work. I haven’t looked back. I love what I do.

What do you like to do outside of surface design?

I am a maker. I sew a great deal of what I wear; from workout gear to dresses to jeans and I am an accomplished knitter who also spins her own yarn; I really love the fiber arts. I find the tactile nature of fiber and textiles to be very appealing. If I’m watching TV, chances are I’ve got knitting in my hands or the sewing machine is going.

I also am a lifelong tennis player. Getting out onto the tennis court is how I work out life’s annoyances; smacking that yellow ball is a great stress reliever. It is also how I have made some wonderful friends from amongst league teammates.

Surface design by Anjana Simpson
Do you have a favorite portfolio design or client collaboration?

My most favorite design is always the one I have just completed!

What or who are you inspired by?

I am most inspired by travel, books and articles I read, my friends and nature. In the past year, I have started to take solo trips as self care. I am finding these “respites” to be highly creativity boosting and inspiring.

When you look back at your design journey so far, what are you most proud of?

My fabric licensing deal! I never thought I would ever have one.

Surface design by Anjana Simpson
If you could offer advice to other designers who are struggling, what would that be?

Patience and persistence. This career is not a short game. Being consistent and showing up will pay off in the long run. It has for me.

And give yourself time off. Working all the time is counterproductive and unhealthy on so many levels.

Where can we find you?

Instagram: @anjanasimpsonink

  1. Kiran Badola says:

    Very inspiring! I hope to do the same.

  2. Gargi says:

    Loved reading about you Anjana! Your work is so beautiful! ♥️♥️ So sorry to hear about your loss!

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