Designer Sessions: Josephine Ford

Designer Sessions: Josephine Ford

Josephine's two designs for her FLOOR_STORY capsule collection are inspired by the tradition of using rugs to tell stories through symbology and pattern. Naturally, we were curious to find out more, so posed the illustrator questions in our Designer:Sessions series.

Illustrator and creative director, Josephine Ford is famed for her work with fashion houses, musicians and record labels such as Island Records, Polydor and Universal Music. Her unique output has also caught the eye of global tech brands Google and Twitter. With a style that is clean and reductive, stripping out unnecessary detail for work of exceptional clarity, Josephine’s designs come from a place of intention, or bear spiritual meaning.

How would you describe your style and what has influenced your design?

I’m always thinking, drawing, making, cutting, pasting, painting or weaving; I conceptualise and work in a very analogue way. Primarily I’m an illustrator, but I love to explore different mediums and ways of working, but always with the ambition to remove unnecessary detail. Reduce, reduce, reduce until you’re left with a clean, simple and fresh perspective.

I like to take something old, museums are a great muse for me, and invite it to the future where it becomes something new. My work must always start with an intention or have some sort of spiritual meaning; often there will be two completely irrelevant things that come together, such as a spiritual story combined with an art deco aesthetic.

Can you tell us a little more about your designs for FLOOR_STORY and exactly what inspired them?

Initially I was drawn to the idea that rugs used to tell a story and that they often carried family motifs and meaning. I took this idea with two designs that see animals that meet in the middle, as if they are in love or permanently connected.

Snakes carry different meanings from the past – a positive symbology in Indian culture and an evil one in Christianity – so they have a double meaning. Moth was a natural transition from my intention to create a motif that can be seen as something else and I love the way some people see a bird; again, a rug with a story to tell.

What attracted you to working with us and more importantly, the process of rug making?

The relationship with the maker is really important to me, I don’t just want to press ‘send’ without any connection to the product or how it will be made. That’s just another lost relationship, an irresponsible consumer. FLOOR_STORY is a positive movement, I was engaged from the very start and delighted with the level of involvement in the making process.

Can you describe your new rugs?

It’s so hard to describe one’s work. I see Moth as an Art Deco double vision meets Chinese rug. Snake, I can only recount as an Aztec Gemini snake. I think it is the meaning behind that is more important than how the designs can be explained, they have a story to tell and it’s up to you how you read it. I wanted rugs that didn’t intrude, but rather that lifted and supported the room.

How do the rugs make you feel?

For me, it’s the perfect transition from my studio work to make a high-quality product for the home. They feel a little romantic, but are tough too and is this double meaning that is at the heart of my collection for FLOOR_STORY.