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Natures Contours – Inspirational Design Mood Board

Natural contour design moodboard by Arnold & Bird

Contours in nature have fascinated me since London Design Festival about five years ago, so this mood board is dedicated to the innovative designs that celebrate this natural topographic trend.

Natural contours create form through curves and lines in mountains and lakes, as well as undulations in the ground. Although not from nature, I also love the structure of how cities, towns and estates create shapes too.

I love how linear designs can be made to look like 3D structures, even when they are two dimensional, and this is a beautiful feature of contour lines that add extra depth to a designers work.

Adding structural elements means light relief is created through weaving or the layering of materials. I particularly love this when used in paper or fabric due to the tactile nature that is formed.

Contour (noun) 1. (usually contours) An outline representing or bounding the shape or form of something.

1.1 An outline of a natural feature such as a hill.

Contour (verb) 2. Mark (a map or diagram) with contour lines.


Key design styles to be inspired by:

  • Creating light relief by layering materials or drawings that create depth or the illusion of this
  • City grid shapes create a new take on the geometric trend to update this popular theme
  • Mixing natural and man-made materials to represent city and nature (such as wood and resin) in furniture and home accessories
  • Repeated linear patterns. Using lines in an irregular way to create uneven repeats.

Does the lay of the land inspire your work, and if so do you prefer natural or man-made contours? Let me know in the comments or over on Insta!

Joanne Griffin signature

Images sources (clockwise from top left): 1. Tracie Cheng 2. Marnie Karger 3. Eric Zelinski 4. Topographic map 5. Vincent Mauger 6. SummitRidge 7. Huffington Post 8. Lela Rose at New York Fashion Week Spring 2014
P.s. Wanna see more more amazing designs inspired by this topographic trend? Check out my Contour Pattern Pinterest board!

Moody tropical – mood board

Moody tropical trend mood board by Arnold & Bird - product development consultancy and design
The moody tropical trend evokes a sense of escapism, lush abundance and falling deep into those dark hues. I love the contradition between the tropical vibes and how this totally lifts moody colours into something upbeat, friendly and fun.

Palm, fan and ferns leaves have been popular for a few years and pushing the tropical theme into the mass market. You can’t miss it and people seem to love this style. Nature always has a fresh feel to it and makes everyone happy. I think the tropical aspect gets consumers thinking about far flung travels and exotic holidays they want to take. Day dreaming of this is never a bad thing so makes the perfect style to add to your home or wardrobe.

The addition of tropic animals to this trend (both illustrations and their skin prints) updates this theme and adds a new dimension. Mix it with dense and luscious moody colours and you’ve got a new twist on this popular style.


There are many different routes you can take with wild trend and exploring this has been pure wanderlust.


Key design styles I’m inspired by:

  • Distorted tropical shapes that are inspired by the trend but not obviously connected straight away
  • Animal skin patterns used within the shape of other tropical motifs
  • Addition of animals to the theme so it not just about the greenery
  • Pops of monochrome or super bright colours mixed with moody shades
  • Oversized palms that are cut off so you don’t see the whole leaf

Do you love the tropical trend? I’d love to hear your thoughts so comment below!

Joanne Griffin signature


Image sources (clockwise from top left): 1. Matthew Williamson 2. Lia Griffith 3. Amanda Swart 4. PNG Tree 5. Varpu Kronholm 6. Etsy 7. SF Girl by Bay 8. Iori Tomita

Greenery – Pantone Colour of the Year 2017 – mood board

Pantone colour of the Year 2017 Greenery mood board trend by Arnold & bird

The Pantone colour for 2017 was released at the end of last year and if you haven’t heard yet…. it’s Greenery!

I’m late to the party writing about this, but my painting this week reflects the mood of this trend so I had to feature it. Kind of a spur of a moment post if you will.

For me, the exact shade of greenery that’s been picked isn’t important. What I love is how Pantone has tapped into the current mood and I think got it really right. Going back to nature, it’s restorative capabilities and bringing a sense of calm in an ever changing world is just what we all need right now.


“Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.” Pantone


Greenery signals freshness, a new start and beautiful ways of combining nature in design. All this equals a 3D mood board I created with leaves from the garden and a whole host of gorgeous product inspiration to be had!

Key design styles I’m inspired by:

  • Greenery is already proving a popular trend for weddings. Use foliage to create a green bouquet (without flowers), table plan or place names
  • Getting children interested at an early age will help to develop their appreciation for nature. Everything from leaf and flower shaped teethers to educational guides for older kids
  • Matcha flavoured and coloured food continues to trend, pair with edible leaf inspired / shaped sweet or savoury treats to bring out a natural vibe
  • Oversized leaves, green watercolour brush strokes and plants popping up in unexpected places such as out of draws, tables and lighting work well for the home

What’s your thoughts on Pantone’s colour for 2017 – are you a lover or a hater?

Or just indifferent!

Joanne Griffin signature

Mood board and photo by me. Image sources (clockwise from top left): 1.Rubelli fabric from old Elle Decoration S/S Pattern Book 2. Notebook from Oliver Bonas 3. Wreath hoop by Annesage 4. Cacti from Ikea 5. Elle Decoration feature in June 2010 6. Feature in old Selvedge magazine 7. Wedding cake by Wedding Sparrow via Borrowed & Blue 8. Jungle print by Schatzi Brown


Mark making – mood board

Mark making mood board by Arnold & Bird

When mark making is used on patterns, products and art, I find it never fails to inspire. This theme can seem so simple on the surface but when you dive into it there is wealth of little details you can keep discovering. Marks can create texture, depth, pattern and layers of transparency – and that equals a whole host of design potential.

Check out the mood board I curated this week – plus have you seen these brushstroke cakes yet?? Genius!

Mark making mood board by Arnold & Bird

Key design styles I’m inspired by:

  • Making marks 3D – take inspiration from this bakery in Russia and their incredible cakes. How about a cross hatch sketch made into a trim?
  • Kids projects that are based on mark making are ideal for sensory play. Make marks using bubble wrap, foil, vegetables or imprinting marks into play doh.
  • Alternative art kits for adults –  why not create your own mark making brushes and tools out of natural elements. An ideal next step on from colouring in books or calligraphy to occupy busy minds.
  • Layer and layer again different unique marks. Colour and composition are key to bringing a piece together and for creating designs that are perfect for alternative packaging, fashion, home accessories and furniture.

How do you already use mark making in your work? Or would you add it in a different way? Let me know your style on Instagram, Facebook or in the comments below!

Joanne Griffin signature

Image sources (clockwise from top left): 1. Hung Kei Shiu 2. Lamai McCarten 3. Hand made brushes by Lorna Crane 4. Tasarım Tabaklar 5. Kalabasa 6. Ah Haa school for the arts 7. Jess Williams 8. Creative Bloq







Decorative feathers – mood board

Decorative feather trend mood board

My first mood board had to be about feathers as I LOVE them! There is a feather in my logo and this motif is really important to my brand identity. The word Arnold comes from my Grampy who was a pigeon racer, and Bird comes from my Gran’s maiden name. I love the combination of the two names together and the fact that both have a connection to feathers.

Personally, I see feathers as more of a theme, rather than a trend. They’ve been around for a while but there is so much design potential in this pretty and delicate motif as summarised below.

Decorative feather trend mood board

Key design styles I’m inspired by:

  • Taking the feather shape as an outline and adding different patterns within this – geometrics, florals or natural influences compliment well and would look gorgeous
  • Cut away details on a feather add a different motif element and visual interest to this simple silhouette. How about recreating this idea in paper, metal or fabric?
  • The use of real feathers in make-up, jewellery and fashion means you can go subtle for a delicate look or bold for real impact!
  • Feathers used on arrows are perfect for anniversaries, Valentine’s day or as a gift for the one you love
  • Pastel tints, metallics or bright and bold hues – feathers really do work well in a range of colour ways

What do you think – would you add feathers to your work? Comment below or on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Can’t wait to hear your take,
Joanne Griffin signature


Image sources (clockwise from top left):  1. The Thinks 2. Anthropologie 3. Backstage at Elie Saab Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2016 4. Carlos Palma 5. Chris Maynard 6. Shop Wild Cotton 7. Wicked Jealous 8. Creative Market


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Mood board – Christmas decorations

Holidays are coming! Yes the Cocoa Cola advert is here, it is November and Christmas is well on it’s way. So I have created a mood board of some of my favourite Christmas decoration ideas.

I made decorations for my house last year and I can’t wait to do it again this year. I am going to create some new christmas paper bunting to literally spell out that it is Christmas as well as a new wreath. I also love the branch with baubles on, perfect for my small flat and for something a bit different.

Also how cute is the advent calendar, what a treat to have presents all wrapped up for each day!

For image sources and more inspiration – below is where I found these beautiful ideas and products:

1. Present advent via Englemor 2. Antlers with baubles via Beeld Steil 3. Porcelain key decorations via 4. Xmas paper bunting via Likainen Parketti 5. Branch with baubles via Dottie Angel 6. Wooden tree via Freshome 7. Candy cane wrapping via Katherine Maries 8. Felt ball garland via 9. Paper doily wreath via Martha Stewart


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Mood board – Mr Brainwash

I have been a bit slow getting the details from the brilliant Mr Brainwash exhibition up on the blog. However I have now put together a mood board of all of the pieces I love, along with a few more below as well.

I love the prints, they looked like screen prints however the details was beautifully done in a painted style. The addition of pops of colour works so well in the pieces as well.

The show is open again now so go and see it! It is free and such a great exhibition.


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Mood board – Italian signs

I was (slightly obsessed) with taking photos in Venice and Rome of all of the signs they had. From the street signs (loved all of these) to signs for shops, door numbers, on buildings… The list goes on.

While I was in Italy I felt it would be a perfect material to create a mood board from all of the signs I had photographed.

A few of the ones I love –  the Gheto Vechio sign, it had a scruffy looking pigeon underneath it. Also the Via Della Croce was the street we stayed on in Rome. I love the light as well and how it is illuminated.

I hope you enjoy the small details as much as I did.


Mood boards – feathers and fashion

Feathers – illustrations, beauty and fashion, all mixed together to create beautiful products, looks and images.

This mood board was inspired by the Light as a Feather print by lovelysweetwilliam on Etsy. It is beautifully done and such a nice sentiment as well.

This led me to look at more feather illustrations and also opened up the fashion and beauty aspect as well. I love how it all works together.

This is by far my favourite mood board so far 🙂

Image sources:

1. Feather eyelashes via foxxycleopatra 2. Turkey feathers print by amberalander on Etsy 3. Feather print via Well Dressed for the Apocalypse  4. Feather fashion shot via Treasure Dress 5. Feather headdress via Wicked Jealous 6. Light as  feather print by lovelysweetwilliam on Etsy 7. Feathers via Julie Digs Design 8. Feather eyelashes via

Background image: Surface//philia via Rachael Taylor’s design blog


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