Design and Enterprise

My dissertation for my Design and Enterprise module is due in at the start of January next year. The module started last year and was formally known as design in the market. The module introduces design students to the prospect of starting a creative business once they leave university through workshops and planning advice. Last semester we were given a range of interesting talks from previous students who have since ventured into creating their own business and also from organisations that provide guidance and advice. Now that the worksheets have been completed and the fundamental aspects of business have been loosely explained we must now decide whats our own great idea? Whats the business idea that will provide a good source for research and reveal important findings?

My Idea 

As a textile print designer I would like to base my idea around the start-up of a branded textile print studio that helps promote newly emerging print designers within Scotland.

Why? Once a print designer leave the comfort of the university facilities it can be difficult to find a studio space that can cater to the equipment needed for the printing processes. The funds for the equipment is also a negative, printing requires a lot of space and a range of pricey tools such as; print table, screens, pigments, dyes, squeegees, tape, heat press, wash out bay as well as other essentials. For a newly graduated student, or a freelance designer it a studio is essential in the making process.  The suggested studio would be rented out to local designers and makers who can use its facilities. My business proposal would also look into the idea of setting up an online maybe in-house boutique which would sell and promote the work of the printers using the studio.

An example of a similar existing business model


A similar existing business that relates to my idea is Glasgow based Print designers Timorous Beasties. Timorous Beasties is based in Glasgow’s west end.

Noted for surreal and provocative textiles and wallpapers, the design studio, Timorous Beasties, was founded in Glasgow in 1990 by Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons, who met studying textile design at Glasgow School of Art.

Their work could be seen as a wayward take on the often “twee” world of textiles, with heavily illustrative insects, ‘triffid’-like plants, birds and other animals. They are also known for their contemporary take on the ‘Toile de Jouy’ fabrics of Napoleonic France, and have designed a number of toiles based on different cities around the world. The original ‘Toile’ designs are viewed today as very traditional but in fact depict scenes of drinking and womanizing that reflected the society of the day. Similarly, Timorous Beasties’ toiles reflect the under-belly of urban social realism against a back drop of familiar, landmark buildings.

One of their strengths is the ability to provide a bespoke service from custom colours to original artwork. All design work takes place at their Glasgow Studio, where they continue to hand-print many of their fabrics and wallpapers. In addition, their experimental approach and their investment in new design and manufacturing techniques have allowed them to move into other product areas including lace, jacquards, lighting, rugs and ceramics. Their work can be viewed in both residential and commercial settings and they often undertake projects out with their normal parameters. This is evident in their engraved stone cladding for Cabot Circus Shopping Centre in Bristol, granite over slabs for the Burns Museum in Ayr, bespoke gravestones and an aluminium installation on the exterior of Princes Square Shopping Centre in Glasgow.

Some examples of Timorous Beasties Prints

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Timorous Beasties print all of their wallpapers and fabrics in the print studio located on site. They have a shop front in which they sell their products. I would like to adopt this sense of promoting new designs and allowing designers to have to opportunity to have a selling platform for their designs. I would also like my studio to be Glasgow based in order to help Scottish print graduates. To begin my research I will look into existing studios based around Glasgow and see what they can offer a print designer or freelancer. What would my print studio offer that is different from the existing competition? Let the research continue…

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