When and why did you first start creating your products/designs?
I first started creating my own brand of wallpapers after I graduated from University in 2005 where I studied Textile Designs and Surface Decoration. ATADesigns was launched in 2006 when my first designs went on show at News Designers; One Year On at the Business Design Centre.
Did you have any knowledge of intellectual property when you started your business?
Unfortunately, I didn’t really know much about intellectual property, so I learnt as I went along.
Which ACID Membership services have you used and how have you benefited from being a Member?
I’m currently using the ACID Copyright & Design Databank to upload my designs and any new work. I have on a couple of occasions used your free legal advice service which has been very helpful. I have bought and downloaded legal documents to present to my clients i.e. Contracts etc.
Have you brought anything new to the marketplace recently that you would like to share?
Yes indeed! I have just launched “All Things British 3” wallpapers and murals collection at the Independent Hotel Show, Olympia. Every two years we launch an All Things British range, so I’m very excited about this new collection, inspired by Kew Gardens botanical gardens. I’ve also collaborated with a talented Illustrator called Arka Chergui to create “General Bulldog” wallpaper/murals, the second in our dog wallpaper range. And, there is always a bowler hat design within the collection, so I have created “Bowler Phone” wallpaper. There’s lots of colour in the collection, and I can’t wait to present them.
What is the best aspect of ACID Membership for your business?
The best aspect is knowing that being a member of an organisation like ACID, I can get help and advice whenever I need it. I feel that my designs are safer, especially when displaying the ACID logo on my website, my business cards etc., because the deterrent message is so strong. I often weave my membership of ACID into conversations with potential clients as a subliminal warning shot, some of whom may think about copying my work. Sadly this has happened in the past!
I also value the fact that whenever I’m exhibiting at trade shows or even visiting, the minute I see an ACID sign on someone’s stand, I think yeah, there’s an ACID member and this makes me feel very much part of a positive community all working together to speak with one, united voice against design theft.
What advice would you offer to a new designer?
Around 2 or 3 years ago, I received an angry email from a designer who accused me of copying her work (that I would never do). To cut a long story short, I emailed and called the designer, and talked to her calmly. I asked her what year she had created this particular design. I can’t remember her exact words, but she said a few years ago. I told her that I created my design when I first started the business, this would have been around 6 years before she created her design. I also told her that I had proof, as at that time my work was featured in magazines. When I first started ATADesigns I wasn’t a member of ACID, I didn’t know about it then, but I had proof that I didn’t copy her work. In fact I could say that she copied me, but I didn’t go down that route. I think she was a little embarrassed accusing me of copying. Just goes to prove that evidence of when a design is created is critical in any sort of IP disputes.
My advice to any new designer is one of the first things to do before presenting your work anywhere, whether it is on the Internet or working with new clients, is to protect your work whenever you can. Record and date it, because guaranteed, there will always be someone one out there ready to copy your work. And if you are a member of ACID, lodge design files on the ACID Copyright & Design Databank to secure and provide uniquely numbered certificates of lodgment, endorsed by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit; you can’t get better than that!