Bobbie Print at Illustrate Chichester

Written by Victoria Oatway, Bobbie Print

It’s funny to think that – less than two years ago – I’d never even been to Chichester but now it’s my home. Having spent six years living and working in Glasgow, last year I re-located to West Sussex, initially I moved to Horsham, and in November I made the move to Chichester.

In Glasgow, I worked as an in-house textile designer. But whilst I enjoyed my job, I always loved the idea of having the freedom to set my own briefs, explore creative ideas of my own and to have the opportunity to develop my own individual style. In 2015 I set up my own business, Bobbie Print.

Initially Bobbie Print was something that I did in my spare time designing screen prints, greeting cards and stationery whilst I continued with my in-house design role but relocating to Chichester gave me the opportunity to make Bobbie Print and freelance textile design my full-time role.

I’ve always admired the Scandinavian and Mid-century aesthetic, the simplicity and stylised feel appeals to me and that’s something I try to emulate in my own work.

When I arrived in Chichester, I didn’t know many people and it was a real pleasure to find and become a member of the Chichester Design Collective. I didn’t expect to find such a vibrant creative community with a real depth and variety of skilled creative people.

When I heard about the Design Collective’s ‘Illustrate Chichester’ brief, I knew I wanted to take part. The brief was open to your own interpretation and because I’d only lived in Chichester for a fairly short time, I thought I’d approach the brief a little like a tourist and focus on places and buildings that I’d visited or liked.

When I look back at my initial sketches it’s obvious how much my design developed. Initially I wanted to make the print circular and make it appear as if you took a journey through the print from Bosham quay in the foreground, through the city itself, to the South Downs in the background. Looking back that was a little ambitious and although I spent time drawing the church spire and boat shed in Bosham, in the end as much as I liked the illustrations I’d created they didn’t have a place in this design and I decided to focus on the landmarks within Chichester itself.

I’m still enjoying discovering Chichester. When I moved to Glasgow somebody advised me to look up as I travelled around the city to see the architecture and details above the modern shop fronts and that’s something that I continue to do here in Chichester. There are so many interesting details in the buildings above street level and the juxtaposition of the classic architecture against the modern is something I wanted to include in my design.

The layout of the print developed quite naturally, the decision to give the city a sort of 2D, flattened feel allowed each building’s illustration to speak for itself. I consciously kept a consistent style across each individual illustration so that when all the elements came together the print didn’t look too confused and the overall style pulls the whole design together.

It was a surprise and a huge compliment to be approached by The Novium after they’d seen my finished submission. It’s been such a positive experience to develop a collection of products with the museum based around my entry for ‘Illustrate Chichester’ and it’s amazing to see a design that I worked on over the summer for sale in one of the iconic locations from the design itself.

It was equally rewarding to be able to see my work on display in the heart of the city during the Illustrate Chichester exhibition which was held at Bo Concept. Seeing all the submissions to the brief in one place was so interesting and really highlighted how large a creative community there is in Chichester and how the city had inspired so many designers in such creative and inspiring ways.