Tuesday, 25 August 2015

I have a co designer!

Halls Sweet Halls art print set - £5 - out 27/08/2015

A lot of you probably don't know this yet, but as of July, I got myself a co designer! It's about bloody time I had some help around here, right? Charlotte (Twitter, Instagram) officially joined the Sighh team (I use the term "team" loosely as for the past 2 years, the members were a lonesome me, myself and I) in July. You may recognise her as the person I collaborated with to produce the Cacti phone case.

This post might be a long'n but it is one hell of a milestone for the business and me personally. I want to record this both for me to look back on and, for those who are interested, to know more about what's happening behind the scenes.


Making the decision to allow someone into your design process is VERY HARD, let me tell you. Well it was for me anyway. I'd never designed as part of a team before and honestly I'm not much of a team player. I find it very hard to trust people. This REALLY holds me back in business and in life - but lets save that therapy session for another time! Luckily, Charlotte, the ray of sunshine that she is, has made the process so much easier. thank u charlotte

Fears about working with someone:
-Giving critique. I still take critique personally, but on our uni course they have group crits all the time, so Charlotte is well used to it and takes feedback on board!
-Admin would put them off. Charlotte regularly expresses wanting to help me with the post & packaging. This is a good sign.
-Their style would be too different. I'm so pleasantly surprised by how quickly she's adapted to my way of working and I'm sure our joint effort will develop into something much better as time goes on.

Fears about not working with someone:
-Combusting at uni and having to close the shop for good.
-Never fulfilling my ambition to make Sighh a studio full of young, ambitious designers.
-Never learning how to work closely with another designer.

Mini Interview

So, to introduce you to this Charlotte person I've asked her a few questions which you can read below. Disclaimer: I'm aware about the possibility of extreme bias, she wants to keep her job and all :) lol :)

Introduce yourself to the peoeples.

Hello! My name is Charlotte, I'm 19 and a student studying graphic design at LCA! (Really boring intro, sorry)

Now, I've completely forgotten how we decided to work together. I know I came to you about the cacti drawing you posted on Instagram, but how did it move from a collab to you joining Sighh?

I remember we started talking on twitter because you tweeted something about going to LCA and I was like HI :) I showed you around when you came up, and we had a fun time eating in Giraffe where I had to have pasta filled with beans :-(
After the collab, you mentioned you needed someone to help you if/when you moved to uni and I thought that it would be a great opportunity for me, even if it was just packing and emails! It was the perfect situation because we'd both be doing the same course, at the same uni, and both had a passion for design! I think everything just fell into place after that!

Have you been surprised by anything in particular, now you've seen what goes on behind the scenes?

I think the main thing that's shocked me is the amount of work there actually is! Most people probably assume that you just get an order and post it out, but that's not the case at all. Obviously I'm limited as to what I can do right now, working from home, but I am eager to get stuck in when we move to Leeds! 
Also, searching for the right supplier and making sure all of the samples are correct is something that I wasn't really expecting (probably because Polly is such a perfectionist) and it does cause some problems/delays which you never really hear about otherwise.

What's the worst/most annoying part of the job? (It's okay, I probably feel it too)

Right now, I'd say not being able to help you out! Working through a computer has given me this amazing opportunity BUT I can't wait to start working together properly, I feel a bit out of the loop 300 miles away!

Good answer. Take 10 points. Do you think working for Sighh will help your career/design ability? How?

Oh definitely! It's already taught me so much, especially with working with another person - which is essential experience for design! It will also help me build confidence with talking to proper business people, and hopefully give myself some exposure as an actual designer!

What do you think you add to the business?

This seems like the interview question I never had :) 
Since I've already done my first year, I feel like I'm quite experienced within design already. We're both on the same wavelength, and its great to work together with someone who has a similar knowledge! We can also bounce ideas off each other, which is super helpful and exciting when something great comes along! I'm familiar with all of the same software, and we both have a passion for design, which I think is the main thing.

What's been your favourite project so far?

I'd probably say the university prints! It was the first project that I started from scratch, and had a lot of input in. I'm so excited for them to be released! (My student house definitely needs the bin one).

What's your favourite product?

Its super popular already, but I think the cross stitch design! It's so timeless and matches with everything. Other than that, OBVIOUSLY I have to pick my lil cacti case because that's my baby!

Do you like working for Sighh? :) PS this is not an appropriate time to hand in your notice :)

OF COURSE! It's the best job I've ever had, everything is so flexible and relaxed (most of the time), and its in my desired field so its perfect! Working with Polly is great, I'm so excited to be spending more time together in the coming year.

To Conclude

This doesn't mean I'm done, that I can't be bothered any more. It means I'm finally mature enough to realise someone can only go so far on their own. I'm excited for Sighh to grow further, produce new products, work from a studio, do everything twice as fast as before. All the best design studios are made up of multiple people, and if all goes well, maybe Sighh will evolve into one...


Halls Sweet Halls - Making

I decided to preview the Halls Sweet Halls print set in this post because, as she mentioned above, it's the first project which Charlotte had a great deal of input.

I wanted to create passive aggressive prints for uni students, and halls seemed like a good place to start. Given a description of my vision for the set, one and a half quotes and some pointers, she designed these from scratch while I worked on the new tote bag (WOO EXCITING TEASER). Over the week she sent me screen shots of her progression and I gave feedback here and there.

The first row: some of Charlotte's first draft. After more feedback, she produced her final draft - the second row. As you'll notice she experimented with a range of colour schemes, and one of them was perfect. I think it's mature, as unisex as Sighh gets and easy to integrate into a colour schemed room.

It was then my task to take her layouts and make them ABSOLUTELY CENTRED AND COLOUR CO-ORDINATED to achieve the final set, pictured above.

So, what do you think of the prints? Of me EMPLOYING a real human? Let me know in the comments below, or tweet me! @pollyvdsz @SighhDesigns. Ideally more students will join in the future, but we shall see!

Polly xo


Monday, 17 August 2015

Banana + Blackberry Oat Pancakes

Hello people! Long time no blog. My excuse is I've been working tirelessly on new products for Sighh, so have had very little time to wash my hair, let alone plan new posts. But finally, here's something. 

This morning (10am) I was sipping my cuppa tea, mourning over the days where I'd wake up craving breakfast. I seem to have utterly buggered up my morning appetite and it's all too sad. So, I started listing breakfast foods in my head. "Do I want bacon? We do have a lot of bacon. No, nothing that greasy. Muesli? No, I don't feel like excess milk. Porridge? Naa, I'm not feeling that texture right now... but we do have blackberries... and banana" So I decided to fry up some porridge (minus the milk).

Below is a rough breakdown of the ingredients I used, and a couple more that I'd definitely add in the future. This recipe feeds one person, or two not very hungry people, and is gluten free! It's also free of dairy and meat but more and more people seem to be interested in avoiding gluten these days.
  • Roughly 1 cup of plain oats (I used the 1/2 cup measurement above, then added more later)
  • 1 ripe (mushable) banana, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • A sprinkle of cinnamon 
  • A handful of blackberries
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil (to fry in) 
Recommended extras/alternatives:
  • 1 small apple, grated (can replace the banana, but I do recommend banana)
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raisins 
  • Chopped strawberries
  • 1 or 2 squares of dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
Now you've chosen your favourite ingredients, here's how to put them together!

In a small bowl, mush up your banana with a fork (or any professional mushing device you may own). Then add the oats, blackberries/any extras and the egg. You could whisk up your egg separately, but that doesn't make for a pretty blog photo.

Once the mixture is all blended (it should look a little less oaty than the above, this was after just a couple of stirs), check that it isn't runny. You want a thick mixture that you can spoon out onto the pan without it loosing its shape. If it's too runny, it will break when you try to flip it.

Heat up your non-stick frying pan then add the teaspoon of coconut oil. Once melted, blob out a rather heaped tablespoonful of mixture and smooth it out gently with a fork. It probably won't be a perfect circle, but this isn't my first time. *Turns away from camera and flicks hair with spatula*

The first side should take 2-4 minutes, but keep nudging the edges to see if the underside is done. If it's golden brown, and more importantly, holds together, you can flip it. The next side shouldn't take more than a minute!

Now sit down and love yourself for making a quick, healthy breakfast that you can definitely Instagram, provided the right lighting. The banana added an amazing caramel taste, and the combination of blackberries and cinnamon gave a hearty, seasonal taste that made me crave Autumn even more. 

Would you make this? Let me know! I was SO impressed with the response to my veggie bake, and eager to make more tasty foods for us all to try. 

Polly xo

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