Surface Designer Spotlight: Melissa Donne

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

Please introduce yourself.

I’m from the South Coast of England, UK and I am a pattern designer and illustrator who loves to create colourful and joyful work. I have been creative for a long time, studying fashion design at University which helped to cement my love of pattern and colour, which now informs all my work. My main goal with my work is to spread joy and give people pleasure when they see my bright and bold designs.

Surface designer Melissa Donne
Tell us a little bit about your design journey.

I studied fashion design at University many years ago, then worked in academia for a number of years, before discovering illustration 4 years ago. I developed my unique style and started to receive commissions for my drawings. Over the last year I started to make patterns and received interest in these, which encouraged me to learn all that I could about surface pattern design and various techniques. I started taking it seriously around 6 months ago and my first surface pattern based collaboration has just been released.

Surface design by Melissa Donne
Do you have a favorite portfolio design or client collaboration?

My favourite client collaboration is my most recent wallpaper collection for Canadian wallpaper brand Otto Studio. I learnt so many new skills working on this project and am so proud of the collection!

What or who are you inspired by?

I am inspired by nature, flora and food predominantly. I love to take traditional forms of art and give them an abstract spin, with unexpected colours and bold combinations. I receive most of my inspiration from the environment and often draw directly from nature. I love visiting botanical gardens to see the array of flora and colours, which informs my creative practice.

Surface design by Melissa Donne
Do you have resources you’d like to recommend?

I love Maja Faber’s Pattern Rebels Club — an amazing membership for pattern designers working in Procreate. There are some great classes and resources and a really friendly community. In fact I would highly recommend all of Maja’s classes on Skillshare also.

There is also a UK based directory of surface pattern designers with lots of resources called Creative Howl, which is well worth a read.

Mimi for Creatives is a community by illustrator Melanie Johnson which also hosts workshops, including pattern design classes.

What do you like to do outside of surface design?

I work full-time now as an illustrator and pattern designer — it is my main passion as well as being a hobby! I love art and design and visiting exhibitions. I also love to read, cook and write. I’m currently working on my first E-Book about running a small creative business, designed for makers who want to turn their hobby into a business.

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

I think what I am most proud of is the development of my work into a noticeable style and identity and this has helped me to attract clients who like my bright and joyful style! For a long time I wasn’t sure how to approach surface pattern design, my comfort zone was definitely illustration. However I worked hard and taught myself as much as I could about the industry.

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

To definitely keep practising and learning! There is so much valuable information out there, it can be overwhelming, but learning from experts and teaching yourself new skills is so rewarding.

Where can we find you?

Instagram: @melissadonnestudio

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