Browsing Category


Contours in Nature – design ideas

Blue & green agate slice painting by Joanne Griffin at Arnold & Bird

Following on from the contours in nature mood board, we’re now exploring the design potential in this topographic trend!

First up is a painting of an agate slice I did that I’m currently reworking into a product range. Although not strictly a landscape contour, I love the topography lines that are reminiscent of these curves. Agates are beautiful examples of luxe nature, where natural objects are so decadent without any man made influence. It’s beautiful to surround yourself with little pieces of opulence like this.

Topographic drawing by Joanne Griffin at Arnold & Bird
Topographic drawing by Joanne Griffin at Arnold & Bird

These two pencil sketches of contour lines are filled in with geometric shapes, representing cities or circles. I like the patchwork style and contrast between the natural formations and regulated lines. I’m not sure what direction I want to take this idea in yet, it’s one for the backburner for now. If you have any ideas then I’d love to hear them!

city grid geometric surface pattern shower curtain by Arnold & Bird on Society6

This city grid is from a drawing I did at college while in Art Foundation, based on a project about Las Vegas. I loved the grid structured layout of this city and it just seems like a town like no other. Las Vegas has always been a place I’d love to visit, however tacky and crazy it may be! I digitally created the original drawing into this repeat surface pattern design and uploaded it to Society6 where it features on a range of products, including this shower curtain.

Abyss Table by Christopher Duffy

I had to highlight these two design pieces as an amazing and innovative take on this theme. The Abyss Table by Christopher Duffy takes the everyday coffee table and turns it into a work of art. The depth that is created through layering wood and glass is remarkable and it really feels like you are looking (or could fall) so deep into the gorgeous blue ocean beneath you. It is a stunning piece that really creates a focal point in a room.

Wood chart wooden topographic lake

The Wood Chart uses laser cutters to carve the contours of each of their water inspired pieces. Once layered together and hand stained, these vast landscapes turn into glorious detailed and beautiful pieces of art that would look seriously impressive in any home. Plus you can also pick a piece that is personal to you due to their vast range!


Thanks for checking out my contoured inspired designs and inspirations. If you have any work inspired by this trend then please share it as I’d love to see your take.

Joanne Griffin signature


Images sources: My own designs unless otherwise stated



Moody tropical – design

Tropical feather repeat surface pattern print design by Arnold & Bird - product development consultancy and design

Following on from the moody tropical research last week I’ve produced a few designs and paintings to reflect this trend.

The deep hues on the feather print is one of my favourite surface pattern designs. I love the colour combination of the dark teal with pops of yellow alongside the simple repeat. I would definitely want this printed onto any stationery products!

Tropical palm leaf painting with exotic animal print by Arnold & Bird - product development consultancy and design

Personally I love the idea of using animal skins as the patterns within other tropical motifs. When you think an illustration should be designed a certain way, you can create a totally different look by adding in a unique pattern to what is expected or accepted.

I’ve added snake scales to this tropical leaf to add texture and a point of difference. More definition on the pattern would be good to develop this further and create something with more impact.

Making a paper leaf bouquet that has pops of animal print in would an an unexpected twist to wedding styling, plus add a fun element to the day.

Tropical bird illustration painting by Arnold & Bird - product development consultancy and design

To add character and a new take on this trend I love the idea of using exotic animals mixed with leaves, tropical undergrowth and sunsets. It would be super cute for kiddos and tweens if the animals had a bit of personality. Plus it also works well for fashion and home accessories too.

This is my bird of paradise with swishy, bright feathers looking to nest somewhere pretty!

What’s your interpretation of this trend and would you use it? Let me know using #ArnoldandBird on Instagram.

Joanne Griffin signature


Photos and designs by Joanne Griffin.



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 – design

Greenery Pantone Colour of the Year 2017 leaf wreath painting by Arnold & Bird

As discussed last week, my recent designs have a direct link to the Pantone Colour of the Year – hence the mood board on this Greenery trend.

To be really honest when it came to painting I’ve struggled and had my ups and downs over the last few months. You know those times when sometimes it seems ok and at other points it feels like all your creativity has wandered off never to return? Yep, I was there.

So I ordered some decent new paints and sat down (after a little frustrated cry) for five hours, took my time and just painted. And you know what…I loved it again.

The painting above is my initial attempt to ease myself in. The snippet below is the piece I’m really happy with. I’m actually planning on using this in a product so I’m keeping it under wraps for now. Sorry there’s no full reveal yet!

Greenery Pantone Colour of the Year 2017 leaf wreath painting snippet by Arnold & Bird

Does anyone else follow the Pantone Colour of the Year, and if so does it influence your work? I’d love to hear!

Joanne Griffin signature





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 – design

Mark making mood board design trends Arnold & Bird

Obviously you’d be a fool to think it was easy to put ‘simple’ marks together… Hmm, well I have to admit I was a bit foolish but I’ll own up to it and hang my head in shame.

BUT, what I can also confess is making my mark making mood board really helped collate my thoughts on style, layout and colour which resulted in making the design process really enjoyable! My work is rather a ‘beautiful mess’ but I enjoyed creating both the painted and digital designs. My aim? Keep developing this style as I’d love it to evolve and feel really confident with it.

Mark making drawing and design process - Arnold & Bird trends

Mark making painted design - Arnold & Bird trends
Mark making digital design - Arnold & Bird trends

Crushing on these fashion designs that have hit the mark making nail on the head!

Mark making fashion Arnold & Bird trends

How would you use this in your work? Leave a comment below or tag your interpretation on social media with #ArnoldAndBirdTrends. I’ll be @arnoldandbird on Instagram and Facebook looking out for you!

Can’t wait to see!

Joanne Griffin signature

Fashion images sources, from left to right: 1. John Lewis 2. Bottega Veneta Resort 2014 collection


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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







Five free trend resources

Five free trend resources Arnold & Bird

Today I’m sharing my top five places for getting free trend information from some of the biggest authorities in the business.

It’s amazing what trend resources you and get for nothing, so I’m hoping you’ll leave this post with inspiring new information you can use in your business – as who doesn’t love a freebie right?

WGSN free trend resource - Arnold & Bird
Trend Bible free trend resource Arnold & Bird
Patternbank free trend resource Arnold & Bird
LSN Global free trend resource Arnold & Bird
TrendStop free trend resource Arnold & Bird

What’s your favourite free trend resource, and which one would you follow? Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.


I’ll share more places to get inspired from blogs, businesses and influencers soon but let me know if there is anything you specifically want to hear about!

Joanne Griffin signature


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Decorative feathers – design

Decorative feather trend design - Arnold & Bird

In the last post we dived into the feather trend for inspiration and started exploring how this theme can be applied in different ways.

Today I’m sharing a little bit of my interpretation – from initial sketches to final designs:

Feather drawings - Arnold & Bird

Moody blue feather surface pattern design repeat

Navajo feather circle repeat surface pattern design

Want to see more feathery designs? Hop over to my surface pattern portfolio!

So tell me… what’s your take on this theme and how would you interpret it into your work? Leave me a comment below or tag your interpretation on social media with #ArnoldAndBirdTrends. You can find me @arnoldandbird on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


Can’t wait to see your feathered designs!

Joanne Griffin signature




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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