Hey! I am Amelia, I help Aimeé with a variety of our product designs!
I have a background in illustration and am a massive animal lover (I am covered in animal tattoos) so she lets me look after our lovely little Plant Animals. Over the last few years, I’ve designed over 10 animals (and counting!)
Today I’m sharing with you how we design them and answering a few of your questions.
How do you pick the next animal to make?
The choice of animal varies - sometimes we come up with them in our weekly meetings, see a cute video that inspires us, or notice a gap in the collection. Sometimes we ask you on our Instagram stories for your ideas!
How do you start designing a Plant Animal?
Once we have an animal to go with, I start with image research from Google, Pinterest, and sometimes museum image archives, so I have real references to work from.
Sometimes I need images of the animal in certain positions or a close-up for details and markings, having real photographs to work from helps. I like to draw Plant Animals as accurately as possible because I like them to be true to form…. And I’m just picky like that.
What mediums do you use?
If I know the animal is going to be more straightforward, like the toucan, I start drawing in Adobe Illustrator with my Wacom.
Otherwise, I do a few initial sketches in my sketchbook to work out the positioning of the animal before going digital, such as the tamarin - Is it going to sit or hug a branch? What position is the tail going to be in? Etc…
This is usually the time I find out that some animals just don't won't work well for plant application, without looking cartoonish or being contorted into unnatural positions.
How long does it take to design one Plant Animal?
It really depends on the animal, some are easier than others, like the Toucan, I felt like I had a finalised design after a few hours, whereas the Red Panda took a few attempts to get its face and fur looking right - trying to capture its cheekiness, without it looking evil, as well as the fur texture, that is always quite a challenge to get realistic on a metal etched product!
What are the challenges when designing Plant Animals?
Fur textures can be quite tricky to get looking right (who would have thought making something soft looking in metal would be so hard?) but over the years Aimee and I have built an archive of textures, I’ve also created some brushes in Illustrator to help with the textures.
How do you test the Plant Animals before they are produced?
Once I have drawn up the animal, I print it out on a card to test. I print to 1:1 scale to get a feel of the final size and a large version to cut out (which is too fiddly if it's at the actual size) and test how they attach to the plants in our studio.
After we’ve done our paper tests and the whole team has given feedback, I finalise the design and send it off to sample in metal ….which can take up to 4 weeks to get back to us! I hate the wait!
What's the next step when the metal samples come in?
I’m like a child on Christmas morning, I get very excited when the samples come in as I can finally see the design come to life! This stage of the design is very important as we test the sample to:
- make sure it works on your houseplants.
- Make sure it has no weak spots, yet is still strong enough that it[s arms] can bend to hold\hang\hug onto a plant stem.
- check that there are no sharp edges from the etching process.
- Make sure the details are looking good!
We also double-check the size against the rest of the collection and against our production costs, this is especially important for our large Plant Animals because we want you to be able to afford the final design!
After testing the samples, I make final revisions if needed, then send it to our manufacturer for production. This can take anywhere between 2-6 weeks!
What happens whilst you’re waiting on the production?
During this period, we have a photo shoot to get images for the website, lookbook, packaging and press, and make content for social media.
When the final product comes in, we launch! 👏👏👏
What is your favourite part of designing Plant Animals?
My favourite part is when we get lovely feedback about our new designs, and being tagged in photos, so please do tag us in your photos!
Which has been your favourite Plant Animal to design?
All the insects have been my favourite, especially the damselfly and the bumblebee - they both have a personal meaning to me so I will always have a soft spot for them.
Also the anteater, because of his lil tongue 😛
Can you tell us about any upcoming designs?
We’ve got some larger Plant Animals in the making and a few more insects too. Make sure you're on our mailing list to be notified when they come out!
Discover all our Plant Animals! There are over 30 wonderful creatures to collect.
DISCOVER THEM ALL