What transforms a space into a home, how do we enhance our way of living through design and how can the home environment play a significant role providing inspiration for designers?

Creating for the home environment or creations which have been influenced by the home have evolved and shifted over the years as the residents needs and trends have changed, and even more so from a year of lockdowns.

ND recently caught up with illustrator and ND 2020 alumni, Charlotte Leadley, to discover how her practice is a personal creative agenda to ignite social change and reframe discussions on global issues. Giving us the exclusive on how her designs have made the most of home life and evoke emotions relating to staying in doors.

Why do you have an attraction to designing for the home environment?

I tend to draw my surroundings and get inspired by what I see, so in the last year I’ve been attracted to illustrating more indoor spaces, more imagery exploring my feelings about the pandemic and the experience of being at home 24/7.

Have you noticed any new influences to your design or creation process from a year like no other? Has spending more time in our home environments changed your approach at all?

It’s definitely changed my thought processes and the way I seek inspiration, without having unlimited access to the outside, without access to galleries or interacting with peers in the studio. I found I had to look more inwardly at myself and my experiences and really ask myself what I wanted my illustrations to communicate and respond to the lockdown. Some of my more recent work has reflected the ups and downs of spending a year in my home environment and been from a more personal perspective than before.

At times I have thought of working at home as an adventure, and at others it has been a huge struggle to keep going. My approach to image making also adapted with working from home, and has become solely digital illustration – without access to physical studio and workshop spaces – out of necessity.

What are your predictions on our home environments and designing for living spaces for the future?

I imagine we will see illustration becoming more introspective about how the last year has impacted us all, and reflective of the time spent working in home environments.

As a whole I think we have all grown more conscious of our living spaces and how sustainable we are being, in terms of how we previously choose to live and work and whether that lifestyle was environmentally kind. Moving forward I think design is going to be a lot more thoughtful overall as it responds to a changing world and a changing working situation, especially when it comes to the spaces we occupy.

Advice on anyone struggling to work from home or for breaking through a creative block?

Procrastination and self discipline have been my personal challenges in working at home – getting easily distracted, struggling to stay on task.

The best way I’ve found to keep myself on track is setting small daily tasks to complete which feel very achievable, as well as keeping my working space very minimal to reduce the temptation to procrastinate with other things on my desk.

Creative block is often related to experiencing burnout for me, when I’ve worked myself for too long and I’ve reached a point when the inspiration stops flowing. However, working from home not so easy to relax and create a space to recover whilst also not being able to spend time outdoors as much as I’d like. My best advice would be to switch up your creative process. Experiment with something new, or revisit an old technique – for me that would be playing with paint or photography. That brief separation from digital illustration helps me to rediscover my creative passion and has often sparked new ideas for projects I’m working on, by looking at things from a different perspective.

For the next wave of emerging designers can you share your experience and feelings towards designing during lockdown?

I felt a lot of difficult emotions myself when I graduated during the first wave last year, so I understand how frustrating it is. I think it’s important to be kind to yourself and keep realistic goals and expectations whilst working from home in a lockdown.

Take small steps if you need to, as long as you keep yourself moving in the right direction then you’re making progress towards that goal. These are uncharted waters, to be emerging into the industry during such turbulent times. You are doing better than you probably realise, and should be proud of how far you’ve come and the resilience it takes to keep going.

Find more design from Charlotte Leadley here: @charlut.rl


on the effects these changes which have formed within society. We have been fascinated  have been considering what impact this has had on designers who harness nature has their biggest influence. 

We caught up with jewellery designer and Class of ND19 alumni, Florence to find some answers to our questions. The  

In 2019 she founded her company, Object Cor ltd, inspired by nature and motivated by tactility. In 2020, Florence intrigued our selection panel and was chosen to be a OYI exhibitor as they were fascinated with this designer’s passion to capture the mundane interactions of the everyday and create a collection which is influenced by the sensory inputs which arise from spending time within nature. 

within the nostalgic elements of the outside world, creating a collection which holds the joys and brings a mindful presence to designing with the tactility of nature in mind.