Unlimited

We recently caught up with the lovely Sara Morrissey of design shop Unlimited. We hear about her first few jobs out of University, — including her time store window displays for Ted Baker! — we discuss the creative community in Brighton and their spread of clients across the Southeast; plus Sara shares their plans for the future now that their beautiful shop of 8 years has closed it's doors.

Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?

I did my Art & Design Foundation Diploma at Wimbledon School of Art (where I met Patrick, my husband/business partner of 28 years!). From there I went on and did my BA Hons degree in Illustration at Central St Martins, graduating with First Class Honours. I started working straight away as a freelance illustrator with a specialism in 3D model making.

My first jobs were for Ted Baker producing models and sets for their UK store window displays. I remember our front room and bedroom being filled with loads of tools, chicken wire, and Polyfilla - making such things as 12 life-size footballers or 24 partying turkeys or 18 enormous sheep wearing jumpers! Crazy hard work but fun times!…

I also spent a lot of time taking my folio around to advertising agencies, which paid off as I got commissioned to do a number of illustrated campaigns for clients such as Rollerblade and Murphys Stout (which won me a number of awards including a D&AD silver).

I also got into teaching, which worked well with the freelance life. My main job for 8 years was working at London College of Printing (now London College of Communication) on the Graphics Foundation course. Alongside that I did a part-time MA course there in Typo/graphics. This then led to a career change for me - becoming partners with my husband and running our own design studio - which we still continue to do!

How did you name your practice and what does the name represent to you?

We are Unlimited - a name we love as everything we do, our attitude/ethos, reflects the open-ended-ness of it! No restraints or limitations! We have always been very positive and pro-active in the way our company and thinking has evolved - embracing studio, shop, and gallery, plus new projects online TBA - whilst also affirming our attitude/creative thinking in our design work.

Design work by Unlimited The Design Kids interviews Unlimited work-2

How does the local culture of where you live affect your design work and getting clients?

Brighton has a great reputation for being a liberal openminded city, which naturally draws independent thinkers and creatives. There is a genuine excitement and support for creative ingenuity and entrepreneurship - an attitude/belief that anything is possible, just give it a go!

Our Unlimited design studio has some really great London based clients such as Royal Academy of Arts and Bartlett School of Architecture who have been coming back to us year after year to work on various branding, exhibition and book design projects. But it’s also been a positive factor being a practice close to our coastal clients - Creative Foundation in Folkestone, the Jerwood Gallery and the Turner Contemporary - as it underlines their role in building on local creative links and not simply going straight to London agencies.

Our Brighton shop and gallery which we ran for 8 years in the North Laine gave us a fantastic opportunity to showcase and exhibit a huge array of amazing design talent - including established names in the industry as well as new emerging makers. It really helped put Unlimited firmly on the local map! (We have just closed our gallery this May to focus on new exciting projects in the pipeline alongside continuing our design studio and growing our online shop).

Who are your top five design crushes globally right now?

From a shop perspective, I have always relished being able to exhibit and sell the work of designers I love personally and I’m a huge fan of UK designers Supermundane, Emily Forgot and also PrintMakingMoneyGang from Antwerp, Belgium - all of whom had amazing solo shows at our Unlimited gallery. In regards to other design work we admire, we do really have an affinity with Dutch design and have been longtime fans of Studio Dumbar, and also really like the work coming out of Thonik in Amsterdam. Quim Marin Studio in Barcelona is another great one to watch!

Design work by Unlimited The Design Kids interviews Unlimited work-4
Design work by Unlimited The Design Kids interviews Unlimited work-4

A winning combination is always a balance between uniqueness of ideas, playfulness and a willingness to experiment, combined with careful consideration and craftsmanship.

What qualities and skills do you look for in a graduate?

I would say a winning combination is always a balance between uniqueness of ideas, playfulness and a willingness to experiment, combined with careful consideration and craftsmanship.

2019 for you in a sentence

This year we have closed the doors on one Unlimited space, but are excited about unlimited doors opening on new ideas, opportunities, and projects!

Design work by Unlimited The Design Kids interviews Unlimited work-6
Design work by Unlimited The Design Kids interviews Unlimited work-6

Where to find Unlimited online.

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