Tuesday, 11 September 2012

profile bold & noble - jane tobitt.

I have this one and I love it
jane tobitt of bold & noble

Bold & Noble was born at the kitchen table of designers and illustrators Jane Tobitt and David Wardle. There vision was to create beautifully made silk screen prints people would love and that is exactly what they've done. Merging maps and typography + graphic prints inspired by nature, their screen prints are all pulled by hand and made using hand-mixed inks, no wonder they  look so nice! Based in the UK, Jane's love of design sees her trawling flea markets and weather permitting heading out of town and into the wild to seek inspiration from the environment. Even if you don't have a fire place to prop up a lovely framed print, I can verify they look equally good, simply hanging on the wall.

How would you describe yourself?
I’m probably not the best person to put forward the personality suggestions – hard working, optimistic, frustratingly over ambitious about what can be achieved in a day, erm… perhaps you should ask the people who know me best.

What was your childhood dream?
My childhood motivations were to play, ride my bike and eat as much cake as I could get away with. I don’t think I thought beyond the weekend – there certainly wasn’t a master plan.

What led you down your current path?
I could start at the embryo stage, the creative genes that came from my cartographer/designer Grandfather but it might make better reading to fast forward 20 years.
I started at the bottom, working as a junior designer, making the tea and doing the donkey work at a design company in London - I should add that it was brilliant and I loved the people and opportunities. I left there after seven years, as a senior designer having worked with some lovely clients like London College of Fashion, Royal Mail and the British Red Cross on everything from art direction to designing christmas cards. I then joined Hoop associates and enjoyed two years working as their senior designer before leaving to have our son, Wilf.

We struggled to find lovely wall art for Wilf’s room, so the idea of setting up a business that sold screen prints came to the fore. David and I had always toyed with the idea of collaborating on projects, but were wary that it didn’t affect our family life. David already had an illustration/design business called Designed By David, the main bulk of his work was book covers and he’d become very established in that arena, you couldn’t walk into a bookshop without seeing his designs on the shelf. Plus, as designers you have all the right skills to set up a business – you can design a logo, website, shoot the product photography and create the products, in the past I’d worked on branding campaigns so was familiar with the background to launching new ideas and getting press coverage. We launched Bold & Noble with twelve designs, six created by David, and six by me.

Within the first few weeks of launching the website, I started approaching the press. We were incredibly lucky Elle Decoration, The Times newspaper and Living Etc… ran features on our work within the first few months and that helped to get our name out there. Slowly shops and galleries started approaching us about selling our prints and sales directly on our website were picking up too. I look back fondly to those first few months were I’d walk down to the post office with my poster tubes propped up on the buggy to dispatch our orders, nowadays it is a much bigger operation but I like to think we haven’t lost any of the personal touches or quality. If anything we’ve improved and streamlined the process for our customers and having Sarah, Hannah and Susannah to help us has been a godsend.


What do you love most about what you do?
I should say I love designing. I do, it is my passion but I also know creating something we’re happy to put our name to requires a lot of slog, it isn’t a seamless, serene process. So I guess I love the moment when the perseverance pays off. When someone loves our efforts enough to want to put it on their wall and look at it everyday.

Where do you seek inspiration?
The launderette. The ideas are in me, nowadays the problem is having the time and space to get them from my head onto paper. Any parent of young children will tell you that a bit of peace and quiet is rare and sometimes you need that quiet time to get the good stuff out. Ideas come at funny times, I can be driving along see something that triggers an idea for a print. I rarely sit at my desk and attempt to create something new, the idea happened at the supermarket two months ago, the desk phase is when it gets developed.

Who do you admire?
Resilient people, those who face obstacles with optimism and motivation.

What challenges have you had to overcome?
That there are only 24 hours in a day.

What’s been a ‘pinch yourself’ moment?
We were in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London after Wilf was born, it was there that we agreed to give the Bold & Noble thing a go. I would never have dreamed that a year later they’d be stocking our prints in the gallery shop, that was pretty mind blowing.


What are your top creative resources?
  • Peace and quiet is my creative resource.
  • I do love Radio 4’s desert island discs on i-player to work along to.
  • I love my friend’s blog something I made, because I get to have a nosey at what she’s been up to.
  • The work of the late, greats – Josef Albers, Alan Fletcher, Paul Rand, Herb Lubalin, Tom Eckersley etc… – if they had design blogs we’d be hooked.

What dream do you still want to fulfil?
For me happiness lies in achieving the balance between giving our children an exciting and loving childhood, whilst running our business and being creative.
What’s next?
Sustaining the success, we have some exciting new collections in the pipeline, so we’ll see how things go.

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Read - In the paper sense? Currently enjoying Jeanette Winterson’s ‘Why be happy when you could be normal’.
Watch- I am old before my time - got to be Gardeners World.
Cook- Banana cakes with Wilf my son.
Create- Ideas come at the strangest times, but I’d swop sleep for creating on the weekends.
Listen to- Whatever gets you through the night – The Elton John and John Lennon live version.
Dream about- Sunny days, it is pouring down outside.
Look forward to- Getting some extra sleep, hanging out in the garden with the family.