Monthly Column By Stephanie Rostron
Like most people, I’m now working from home and can’t quite believe it’s the ninth week of doing so – it’s flown by! The first week was definitely the hardest, adjusting to the new ways of life. I was pretty restless being cooped up in the flat and not commuting in to the office. Thankfully since then I’ve got used to the new routine. My work desk is in the living room, but luckily there’s enough space that this is kept to a separate area and there’s room to spread out the hundreds of carpet tufts when assessing colours.
Before lockdown, I’d primarily work with designers over email and phone. The role of Field Designer also saw me travel all over the UK to meet clients, take initial design briefs and discuss ongoing projects face-to-face. This is definitely a social aspect of the job I’m missing and unfortunately we don’t know when this will be the norm again. It’s so important we all stay safe though and luckily this digital age allows us to work just as proficiently discussing briefs, feedback, design and colour over email and phone. Handtrials are still being despatched to customers from the factory which helps move the design progress along, as well as colour tufts still being sent out. These are particularly handy for designers also working from home, where Ulster reference boxes may be at their offices and therefore not accessible.
Working from home allows us to be just as creative as working from the office. Whether it’s painting brushstrokes, blotting ink, or drawing motifs from scratch, answering briefs and creating design work is done in the same way. Creating completely original source material is part of the design process I really enjoy. Textural details, however prominent or subtle, are usually an important part of designs and therefore surface textures have become a constant source of inspiration – I have a catalogue of photos of concrete, peeling rust, bark, woodwork etc to use within designs. Most of these were taken before lockdown and I’ve now been adding to this with textures I’ve found around the flat. We also have an incredible archive of designs to call upon online which is always inspiring to look through.
Experiencing remote-working has made the transition to working from home slightly easier. I still chat to my manager Anthony and other team members regularly as our London team is very close. My fellow Ulster designers are all extremely talented and I get to work on some of the most amazing design briefs set by our clients. These are the main reasons my working day is so enjoyable, wherever it is I’m working from.
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