Member Focus – Claire Elsworth Design

Claire Elsworth is a UK surface pattern designer based in Derbyshire. She creates surface pattern designs available for license and purchase for a variety of markets and products. Claire loves to draw and her process always starts with detailed hand-drawn motifs which she works up into beautiful designs in Illustrator.  From her eclectic inspiration of nature, fabulous ornamentation and visual trend forecasts she strives to produce an elegant feminine aesthetic staying true to her own unique, opulent and intense style.

When and why did you first start creating your products/designs?

My career background was in finance and prior to having my children I’d taken an Access course at Adult Education which enabled me to build a portfolio that got me to Art School as a mature student. After that I set up handmaking home decor textile products and bags and tried to make the jump to production with my own fabric designs.  However, the recession hit and I ended up winding that up. That coincided with having children and my focus shifted to my family.

Fast forward 8 years and although I was being creative with my children I wasn’t being creative in a way that satisfied me and I was thinking ahead to relaunching my career. I’d looked into taking a degree but after weighing up the cost and time I realised that wasn’t going to work for me with a young family. I had been reading about Make It In Design’s (MIID) Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design courses and I decided that route would suit me better. From those incredible courses that I started in 2016, I learnt digital design from scratch.  I also learnt a lot about the industry, gained exposure, achieved a few accolades with various design competitions and sold my first design to Swedish fashion brand KappAhl.

Earlier this year I won the MIID Ultimate Portfolio Builder Trade Show competition and I am now about to exhibit at my debut trade show in New York, with Artabella Collective, where I will be selling and licensing my surface pattern designs.

Did you have any knowledge of intellectual property when you started your business?

Yes, in the past I had completed various Business Link courses about protecting your IP. Over the last two years, I have taken all MIID’s The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design courses which are packed with valuable information on IP (which ACID have contributed to) so I was in a good position for taking steps to protect my designs.

Which ACID Membership services have you used and how have you benefited from being a Member?

I use the ACID IP Databank regularly and the Member of ACID logo.  When I sold my first design ACID were brilliant at helping me navigate this. I spoke to a legal adviser who gave me advice and explained things in plain English rather than legal speak.

Have you brought anything new to the marketplace recently that you would like to share?

Yes, I am exhibiting at Blueprint Show 2 in NYC this May and I would love to meet & connect with buyers, art directors and prospective clients. I will be showing a diverse range of on-trend designs in floral, geometric, abstract, conversational and Christmas categories that are available to buy and license in a wide variety of markets. I am particularly interested in attracting clients from home decor markets, wallpaper, bolt fabric and fashion but also open to all opportunities.

What is the best aspect of ACID Membership for your business?

It’s all good!  The ACID IP Databank for third-party evidence is great and I really appreciate being able to use the Member of ACID logo. It acts as a deterrent and it’s an added level of reassurance that I have the substantial back up should I need it.

What advice would you offer to a new designer?

Join ACID! Educate yourself on IP & Copyright. There are many small steps you can take as a designer to protect your designs such as always adding your file info metadata, copyright & watermark logo. Never share images without these as you never know where an image could end up. Sign and date your original drawings & keep them filed so you also have a paper trail. Keep your digital design files tidy & devise a portfolio filing system that works for you, so you can access your work easily.

ACID values the support of its members to enable it to campaign for design law reform. Do you have any messages for Government/Policy Makers on IP issues?

Help UK designers to get the protection they need whether it’s from infringement or changes in design law that will affect us after Brexit, we are a valuable UK industry.