An Interview With Designer ‘Happy Jackson’

We are delighted to bring you a new Blog Series – Interviews with Featured Designers on SE10 Gallery. The first designers to be interviewed are Giles and Heather from Happy Jackson.

1.    When did you start out in business and were there any major challenges you faced?

Giles: We started developing Happy Jackson at the end of 2011, but I’ve been in licensing since 1987 when I created my first brand  – Purple Ronnie. For me, the greatest challenges haven’t changed much in this time and often involve persuading a company to be the first to apply your designs to products. That’s quite a leap of faith for them to make when a design style or branded look doesn’t exist yet in the public consciousness. You only need one company, sometimes only one product to “break” a look – but for them to have faith in the first place… that’s the hardest part. 

Happy Jackson Designer Interview

2.    Where does your inspiration come from and is there a designer that resonates with you?

Heather: I don’t think we could narrow it down to one designer or artist. We both take reference from many sources – books, writers, fashion, interiors, textiles among others. Observing people, their characteristics, behaviour and relationships is also fun and often the inspiration for a new product. It’s this variety combined with a shared love of upbeat, playful design that really set up the look of Happy Jackson. Big colours, simple ideas, tactile finishes and silly stuff – YEAH!

3.    Writers have writers block from time to time, do designers suffer designers block?

Heather: I certainly have periods where ideas come quickly and easily and times when they really don’t! I used to get quite uptight about it, but I do just see it as part of the creative process now. Sometimes you’re on it, and sometimes you’re not. I definitely need time to recharge to stay inspired and try to make the time to do this across the year.

Giles: Different for me – I don’t really understand writers block. Or maybe I just don’t have the time to afford myself the luxury of getting it! I think the more of any creative discipline you do, the more you understand the process behind it, which, in turn, makes it easier to understand how to think and what to do when you want to create. 

4.    Your favourite part of the design process is?

Giles: Without question, it’s getting together to work up new ideas and marry my words with Heather’s design. We start the day with nothing, and we end with loads of visuals of products that we didn’t know we were going to do, and that have never existed before. Very often, the best ideas come from that spark of being together – ideas that we’d never have had individually, working on our own. Collaboration is really exciting for both of us.

Happy Jackson Gifts

5.    One word that describes you?

Giles: Playful

Heather: Impatient!

6.    If any, which of your products are you most proud of and why?

We both love the Pen Orgy pencil case. It’s shiny, it’s yellow and it says Orgy on it. What’s not to like?!

Designer Bio

Bright ideas for a beautiful world! Happy Jackson is the brand name for designers Giles and Heather. When Giles isn’t doodling, he writes children’s books, which can be found across the world in homes, libraries and doctors’ waiting rooms (with most of the pages torn out) and Heather makes cards, patterns and other nice things for publishers and retailers in the UK and overseas.