Back in February 2020 (in the Before Times), we partnered with NC-based Spoonflower to announce an exciting opportunity: any Nuggeteer could submit designs into a Nugget Couch Design Challenge. The winning design, handpicked by Team Nugget from the Top 50 highest-voted submissions, would be released as a special edition Nugget this year! Within a few weeks we had 1,119 design submissions — the largest in Spoonflower history!
Our eye was immediately drawn to a bold submission from Rosalind Maroney, a designer from the United Kingdom with a penchant for play! Rosalind’s design had everything we were looking for: a unique, repeating tossed pattern with bold color and a new thematic concept we had never explored on a Nugget before! Nuggeteering Across the Universe had a great ring to it, too!
When announced, the biggest note of feedback we received from excited customers was: “Our kids will love this, but could you potentially try it on a darker background for us parents!?”
With Bluejean, Sweetpea and Saturn joining the color line up in the latter half of 2020, we worked with Rosalind to give her design a Nuggety touch with color-matched planets and a medium-wash blue background in Bluejean. The final result: a primary planet party designed with kids in mind! To celebrate this wonderful international collaboration, we asked Rosalind to share some insights about her design process and how her children Lulu (age 3) and Otto (age 7) inspire her work.
Rosalind Maroney: When the Nugget Couch/Spoonflower collaboration was announced, it immediately caught my eye — knowing it would be a really popular challenge I nearly sat it out(!) but the brief and the brilliance of the Nugget product were so appealing to me I knew I had to dive in and get creating.
My kids, then aged 2 and 6, both loved the idea of a space theme, they were sitting in a self-made rocket den about to blast off into the outer living room at the time, which may have swayed them. The name for this design appeared instantly, if you sing ‘Nuggeteering across the universe’ to the "Star Trekkin’" tune (by The Firm, this was a novelty hit in the UK when I was 5!) you have the ear worm that accompanied the whole of this project for me. I started by drawing some super simple planets. I always start my designs with a pencil and paper, I then scan and bring into Adobe Illustrator to work on.
I’d just bought some new textured brushes for Illustrator that I was keen to experiment with and I’ve always got my charcoal sticks handy for more fun textures to scan in, they bring added interest when you have to limit colours for production.
I had a fairly clear vision for this design and I think it took more time adjusting the colours in the end than the actual pattern!
As ever, when faced with a brief I find it hard to stop at one design, so I ended up making three for this challenge. I was unsure about which design to enter, as I felt they all met the brief in different ways, so I’m so grateful to the Spoonflower fans group. I presented the designs a few days before the challenge and being the wonderful supportive folk they are, I let them take make the decision easier by letting them choose for me, and I’m so happy I went with their vote to enter the Nuggeteering Across the Universe design!
RM: There were a few things to keep in mind for this design, firstly it was important to me that the scale of the planets would be large and varied enough to be seen, bold and fun for real life play to capture kids imaginations and creating a visual impact on a large product, but also for a lot of the clients I work for I know this is important for product photography too.
I knew I would create a half drop repeat, this way the repeat is less obvious over a large expanse which adds interest and dynamism to a design. It’s a top trick I always use when designing for larger scale prints, for furniture, bedding and wallpaper designs, it’s a way of doubling the design width while still using a standard screen size for printing.
RM: I think our approach to play both inside the home is the same as outside, to be child-led, and help to nurture their interests through exploration. I think play has such an important role in our lives, and adults should indulge more too. I've thoroughly enjoyed seeing how much our kids learn and gain from play; resilience, sharing, imagination, problem-solving to name a few. I guess because myself and my partner are naturally inclined to make things and always have creative projects on the go our kids are influenced by that too, our dining room is increasingly turning into a crafting space, and there’s always a den being built in at least one room in our house at any one time. When my daughter isn’t being a cat, she’s really into building blocks, drawing and jigsaw puzzles, whereas my son alternates from bouncing around the house to creating a book nook den since becoming an avid reader during the Covid lockdown. He would spend all of his waking hours in the woods or beach whereas my daughter is a real homebody!
RM: I think my advice at any time is always to be kind to yourself, we’re so hard on ourselves as parents, I think we could all use some more kindness in our lives. Take a moment to reflect on something you’re proud of yourself for each day.
RM: You can find me hanging out here...
Rosalind's Nuggeteering Across the Universe design will be available as part of the Nug Lotto this week and this week only! It will be the only color to have lottery drawings as both a Nugget AND Cover Set, so for those who really love it, you can change two of your three picks to Nuggeteering Across the Universe this week.
As usual, our registration window will be open from 12-5 pm ET. When you click "Edit Colors" on your dashboard, you will see Nuggeteering as an option in Nugget, and in Cover Set.
Again, this is the only release of this special, one-time collaboration print — it will not be part of our 2021 Backorder. So make sure to register this week before it blasts off.