Saturday, 23 April 2016


Introducing Kitties, the long awaited phone case for the internet's mad cat lady population. 
Release date: 11AM 24/04/2016

With this case I'd like to introduce you to Sighh's newest team member, Meg. She's a BA (Hons) Illustration student also in first year at Leeds College of Art. She contacted me a couple of weeks ago, asking if there was any help to be had at HQ and how could I say no? She's instantly dazzled me with her fresh ideas, eagerness to do and promise of organisational skills (which is always much needed here).

With the end of term fast approaching and deadlines looming their big red faces, I haven't been able to focus on Sighh much at all, so there weren't many projects going. But to start things off, over Easter I immediately set Meg the task of cats. "Can you draw cats?" I asked, "Probably" said Meg. And we went from there.


The internet is obsessed with cats, and for the 3 years Sighh has been alive I've been begged to do a themed phone case. However I simply cannot draw living things (not counting plants or... vegetables. I can definitely put faces on inanimate objects, but that doesn't seem to translate to actual animals) so I jumped at the chance of collabing with an illustrator. I know phone cases, my target audience and commercial illustration, Meg provided the perfect hands and right brain hemisphere for the job and together we've worked an idea into a shiny new product. 

Above are some of the raw workings. Meg's illustration course often involves making hundreds of variations of an idea, so like a machine she churned out many many kitty faces in different styles, not knowing of course what exactly would work yet. I chose the numbers which felt the most emotive, representative of a certain breed and above all, cute looking, then she developed further from those and so on and on. 

To put the cats into context I asked her to mock up a phone case too, which I find helps me during the initial design stages, not only after everything had been scanned. 

At uni we do group critique sessions all the time, so I've learned to articulate and break down what I'm thinking when looking at a piece of work, instead of the initial "Yeah it looks really good but could do with some development" which I think we all had written down for the first 2 months. When looking at the initial designs for a collab it's really important it fits in with our current stock. Here are some nuggets of info I thought about, hopefully they're useful for any of you guys embarking on similar projects!

With unfocused eyes, what is the general movement? Here I see cats heading diagonally downwards to the bottom right. I like patterns to look scattered with pieces flowing into each other, even if it wasn't originally drawn as one big piece. You need to look for shapes which fit together, and build them next to each other.

When it comes to an object pattern, they must all work together to look part of one piece. Much like above, the aim is to put a design together so that it looks like it was always meant to be that way. Here, cats have been scaled to different sizes, so stroke thickness is varied. This makes each cat look separate, and the overall piece edited rather than keeping the raw illustrated look.

As a commercial item, you need to consider what the design will be sold as. With phone cases, you want to make the design distinguishable from a distance. It's a fashion accessory, it should be visible to others as they walk past (and in those mirror selfies we all post over our Instas) so, is the design clear enough? Here the lines are very thin and there is a lot of white space. We both agreed it needed some texture or colour.

As you can see above, there's a ginger kitty! This was one of Meg's first experiments as she likes to work with layering best. However, after seeing it scanned in greyscale I much preferred it for the context of a phone case. Colour is always more risky as you never know exactly how it will print, and  if we coloured all of the cats, orange/brown isn't the most appealing colour scheme so might not be popular enough. So, Meg then created washes of diluted ink and drew new kitties on top.

I took it from here with the case design and started to build them up. I'd briefed lots of sad, silly looking, happy and angry faces and again selected those which stood out as the most emotive. My favourite thing to do with a pattern is have individual pieces interacting with each other, so tried to have a couple of cats giving side eyes and reacting to one another. All cats were scaled down to the same level so stroke thickness is consistent, grey splodges have been balanced out (top heavy but phones are usually held from the bottom!) and gaps have been filled with minis.

And here it is! The finished thingy. We are SO thrilled with how it's turned out and I'm proud to list it in the shop! There's already been a lot of positive feedback on Instagram which I'm sure was a lovely boost for Megan as it's her first collab here, so thank you! My favourite faces are bottom right (duh) and the silly right hand member of the square pair, positioned middle on the left. You? :')


On a personal note I really enjoy creatively directing new projects, so I'm excited to have a new talent on board to work with! Again, Sighh will still be Sighh as what's put out there will have gone through the trademarked official filter of my personal style, which being my baby, runs through Sighh's DNA, no matter what it grows into in the future. Disclaimer: it may never grow, it may be vertically challenged, 4 real.

PS: Be here tomorrow at 11AM, yeah?

UPDATE: Shop now!

Shop "Kitties" || Shop "Doggies"

Polly xo


  1. I'm in love with this case design Polly- I need to get my hands on it as soon as it is released! <3 x

  2. Beautiful case, the design works really well!


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