We’ve wanted to feature Natasha Coverdale’s work ever since her bold botanical designs lit up our Instagram feed last year. So, when we decided on ‘garden party’ for our July theme, she was first on our cover artist wish list. And we love what she’s done: suitably floral, with her signature saturated colour palette. The skilful incorporation of the text is a nod to her other line of work, in visual identity and brand development, where she’s worked with some of Brighton (and Britain’s) finest (Cin Cin, Pecksniff’s and Harrods to name just a few).
Her botanical designs began as a personal project – a distraction from the day job – which she posted on Instagram for the first time last May. The interior designer (and BBC2’s Great Interior Design Challenge judge) Sophie Robinson spotted one and asked if the print was for sale. “Yes!” replied Natasha, and quickly got herself a good printer.
Her Instagram following has risen considerably over the year, catching the eye of Liberty London, and Natasha’s was one of four designs – whittled down from a field of 500 – to be selected from the Liberty Open Call. She and the other winners recently travelled to Italy to see their designs printed onto Liberty’s famous Tana Lawn Cotton fabric. ‘Coverdale’ is available in-store and online now.
I meet Natasha in her Poets’ Corner studio, which is festooned with ideas for wildly floral wallpapers, sumptuous silk scarves, and vibrant giclée prints. I ask her to show me how she works and she picks up her stylus and starts drawing on her digital tablet, freestyling a frilly petal which she copies and layers, over and over, choosing complementary hues from a distinctively Coverdale colour scheme.
Each design incorporates hundreds of these elements, and the more you look, the more you see. “I love to hide things in amongst the flowers. I always like to give you something to find. That’s a nod to Grinling Gibbons, a famous 17th century woodcarver who always used to carve an open peapod into pieces for clients who were bad payers. Now I hide Derek the iguana, not for the same reason, but just for an extra treat. I’d love to design a hospital waiting room, a space where people are looking for a distraction from whatever they are going through.” If you look closely, you’ll see seven creatures (pictured below, right) crawling around our cover*.
Her designs are built up in the same way a florist might go about creating a bouquet. “It’s digital flower arranging” declares Natasha as she clicks through various, joyful colourways. “I’ve used this palette all through my graphic design career. I do try to escape it, but I can’t. It’s colour therapy. Colour makes people happy”, she says. And she’s right.
*Spot all seven and head over to @studiocoverdale on Instagram for a chance to win one of Natasha’s posters. See more of Natasha’s work at her Open Studio on 19th (6-8pm) and 20-21st (11am-5pm) July. Unit 3, Workhaus Studios, 18a Arthur Street, Hove, BN3 5FD.