Bold shapes, clean lines, minimalistic colours and quirky designs!
Bold shapes, clean lines, minimalistic colours and quirky designs are the hallmarks of the Scout Editions collection! The creation of sister and brother team Pui and Wai, this East London based art and design collective is known for their fun range of illustrated cards, prints and enamel pins. Their designs are inspired by travel and storytelling, and at Hannah Zakari we always look forward to seeing what new ideas they explore in each new collection.
In this Designer Interview, we spoke to Pui from Scout Editions about her influences, her design process and the merits of collaborating with other designers (and with a sibling!).
Each day varies, no one is the same which is nice and keeps things interesting. I usually start from about 9 am and grab some breakfast and eat as I check my emails. Then I would maybe continue illustrating and developing the new collection, which we’re hoping to launch in May. As we’re developing the new range at the moment I like to take time to research sampling and materials, so this may involve visiting suppliers.
If I find I’m not feeling so productive, I try to nip out for some inspiration and catch up on an exhibition or see friends for a catch up, it usually does the trick, some fresh air and a change of scenery. I also work on freelance commissioned design projects; this may be a packaging design, branding project or illustration brief.
Wai is based in Hertfordshire, so we’re not in the same space. He organises all our online and trade orders. His day would involve sorting through and packing orders and making sure they are posted out. Also checking on stock etc.
If we have a trade show coming up, we both have tasks to do to prepare for the show. I would be getting the designs and products finished and ready whilst Wai would be gathering fixtures etc for the stand, like shelves, paint etc and thinking about display.
Do you listen to music while you work? What kind?
I do listen to music while I work. I love music! It varies from acoustic and folk to current music.
It also depends on my mood and what I’m doing in the studio. So if I have a tight deadline, I may put on something more upbeat and fun to keep me going. Generally I put on Spotify and listen to a lot of melancholic tunes, as its easy listening and relaxing.
Lately I’ve been getting into a lot podcasts too like ‘Femme’ by Daisy Lowe. Its really chatty and laid-back, if feels like you’re eavesdropping someones conversation which is fun to listen to.
A lot of people would balk at the idea of working with their siblings! How is it working as a brother and sister duo? Do you think there are more Scout Editions arguements than unrelated creative teams?
Ha! Yes I know what you mean. I think a few years back we wouldn’t have dreamt of working together, but somehow it works now. I think also as we work from two separate spaces, it helps as we both get to have our own space to create and come together when we need to chat through ideas etc.We’re both quite calm and patient so I think that helps.
You often collaborate with other designers and companies to create new work. How do these collaborations come about, and is there anything you particularly enjoy about working with other brands?
We first set up this brand and platform as we wanted to work with other independent brands and designers. We wanted it to be a melting pot of experimentation and play. Throughout the years we’ve had the privilege to work with some fun and talented people, some of whom have become great friends. Some collaborations just came naturally, like when we met Plain Pins, we knew them from doing Christmas markets a few years back. And Anna Wiscombe, we met at Renegade Craft Fair and we got talking and became friends and did a collaboration. Then there are some brands like Anthropologie, Tobias & The Bear who got in contact with us to do something, which is always really nice and they had seen us on Instagram.
We love working with all sorts of brands and designers. As it usually is in the realm of something we’re not experienced in, for example wood, clothing etc. So we get an insight into how people do things which is a challenge and always good fun.
Scout Editions enamel pins are super popular here at HZ! How do you decide on a new pin design?
Thank you! Yes our pins are probably one of our best sellers in our collection. We usually decide on a theme for the overall collection first and start designing the mini cards, prints etc. It’s then that we decide which illustration would look good small as our new pin. It might mean reducing our illustrations down to the size of a pin and seeing what works, as sometimes an illustration on a big print might not work small for a pin. So there’s a lot of reducing and cutting and pasting to see what works best.
If there are too many designs we want to make, which sometimes is the case, we tend to show our nieces and nephew and ask their opinion. They are very honest, there’s no holding back!
You say on the Scout Editions website that you like to experiment with new formats and techniques. Do you have anything in mind that you’d like to try next?
Yes we love to experiment with formats and layouts, although not so much at the moment. When we first started out, we were creating cards in different formats, like concertina fold out tall cards etc. Although it was loved by shops, the feedback was that it was tricky to display on shop shelves. So we took on the feedback, and created products that are easier and more practical to display. We also created origami folded shirt cards. They sold so well, but we realised that in the long run, it probably wasn’t economical with our time if we had a huge order as each one is folded by hand and would take too long to make just one card. We love playing with scale too, creating mini cards and then super size screen prints and love the contrast in sizes.
Our work is mainly in paper, however would love to work with wood or ceramics. This may take a bit more time as we’re not experienced in these materials, so will need to do a bit more research and seek specialists in these areas.
Would you say there are any other designers, illustrators or artists who have particularly inspired you?
We get inspired everyday. However we do always go back to our all time favourites like Saul Bass, Charley Harper. And artists like Jean Michel Basquait and Andy Warhol.
As I’m a Graphic Designer as well as an Illustrator so I tend to get drawn to simple, graphic illustrations. There are a lot of inspiring and interesting designers and makers out there at the moment, I think I would find it too tricky to choose just one.
Do you have any advice for aspiring designers?
I would say stay focused and try to develop your own style. Try your best not get too influenced by current trends. Its good to take time to develop and grow your own direction, as this will lead to longevity and will make your work more memorable. However I do sometimes get influenced by the seasons colour palette etc, but I try to tailor it so it fits within what I do.
We think its also good to keep an open mind too, and see what everyone else is doing, so that you can see the bigger picture and where you sit amongst it.
A big thank you to Pui for talking to us and giving us such a great insight into the workings of Scout Editions! We can’t wait to see the new collection when it comes out.
In the mean time, here are a few of our favourite Scout Editions designs in the HZ shoppe: