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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!

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