How to Use S/S2015 Design Trends in Product … Get Inspired!

Today I Love… Bohemian Brights

The summer may be nearly over for us here in Europe but we are still inspired by this vibrant colour palette moving us towards Spring/Summer 2015. This fusion of digital and handcrafted elements creates a tribal, cultural aesthetic, with basket weaved, woven, tufted, fringed and beaded features.

These colours evoke creativity, passion and personalisation with the turquoise blue, vivid red and vibrant yellow used as accent colours though-out product and materials.

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1. Rianne ten Haken by Petrovsky and Ramone Image courtesy of fashionfaves Blog 2. Superheros Series by Glimpt Studio 3. Image courtesy of weheartit blog 4. Invitations by Alejandra Suite available on Etsy 5. Textile by Amy Leigh Green  6. Accessorize printed cushions available at Very.com 7. Image courtesy of Aow Dusdee 8. Image courtesy of My Decorative Blog  9. PET bottle lamps by alvaro catalan de ocon 10. Scarlet Opus image

Pattern Design

Here are a few ideas of how to work the bohemian inspired designs into your surface pattern design including ideas for interior wallpaper, flooring design, fashion &, stationary products. This ‘clashing of culture’ look creates a wonderfully detailed mix of pattern inspired by travel.

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1. Kerala Tapestry by Urban Outfitters 2. Soho Collection by Camp David 3. Flowers in the Mix Wallpaper by PiP Studio

Kitchen

How can you work this look into kitchenware products?

These colours look great when teamed up with bold patterns for dining and tableware. A collection of unique culture inspired bowls, plates and cups will brighten up any kitchen!

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1. Origo Patterned Tableware by Alfredo Häberli 2. Bohemian Dinnerware 3. Image courtesy of iwoman.com

Lighting

Lighting is a great way of subtly creating the perfect mood, you might consider these designs which would brighten up any interior setting, the bold colours and strong patterns are perfect for spring/summer 2015!

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1. Lampshade by Rachael Taylor 2. PET bottle lamps by Alvaro Catalan de Ocon 3. Beaded Hanging Light available at Living Exclusive

Outdoors

And of course we don’t just want to see this look inside… why not take it outdoors as well. This is a perfect setting for summer outdoor dining, the bohemian brights create a relaxing yet vibrant party atmosphere where traditionalism takes on a new form in culture inspired colours, shapes and surface designs.

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1. Image courtesy of Justina Blakeney 2. Le Versha Chair available at Anthropologie 3. World Travels Fast Lantern available at ModCloth

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Find out what Scarlet Opus can do for your business. Get in touch!

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How to Do Your Own Search Engine Optimisation

How many conversations have you had about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)? And how many emails from how many companies have you received effectively saying something like this:

“We’ve visited your website and quite frankly it’s pants, if we hadn’t spent the last month specifically looking for it we’d had never come across it. You need to know that it doesn’t even feature on Google until the millionth page. But, don’t worry, don’t lose any sleep because we’re here now and for a mere several hundreds of £/$’s per month we can sort out the crappy job you’ve done so far on your website SEO”!

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Speed up page and rankingProbably, like me, you delete the email shortly after having designated the sender as ‘junk mail’. But, then you periodically for the rest of the day wonder if they were just 10% right? You probably find one of the myriad of SEO consultants in your locality and ask a couple of pertinent questions.

 

Well, after many such events, you’ve probably concluded that SEO is a complex, dark art known only to the millions of SEO experts that seem to have come into being over the past few years. I did the same. Then I decided I wasn’t willing to spend the requested sums of money on something that I simply couldn’t get my head around and nor could I find an ‘expert’ able to explain it to me in such a way that I finally understood the value of imparting my cash to them.

One day, I was chatting to a lovely fella who I now consider a friend, we’ll call him David Abbott (mainly because that’s his name!), about how he’d established a very successful online retail business in the interiors sector. I was interested because I knew David to be a marketing expert and speaker – what the heck did he know about interiors and more to the point to get his unknown ‘shop’ found on the internet. He replied simply and straightforwardly “I taught myself some very simple sel-help SEO principles and it’s just gone from there”. “What!?” I asked.

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Turns out that for a small & micro businesses, SEO doesn’t have to be a dark art, complex, or expensive. In fact, you can do-it-yourself and make your website/blog/online shop quite discoverable. My old mate (he is indeed older than me), David immediately shared with me his ‘Top Ten Tips for DIY SEO’ for the price of a cup of tea and cut’n paste access to the Scarlet Opus ‘Trend Blog Library’. And, at that price, we can both now share it with you FOR FREE that’s right, YOU can now go get yourself found easily and increase visitor/reader/customer numbers by following, practising and getting better with what now follows:

Untitled-1SEO tip #1 – There’s no need to be an SEO expert to get your website onto page 1 of Google. All you need is great site which is easy to navigate, helps your customers resolve their problems (finding somewhere to buy something, finding some information, etc), has fantastic original content, and is quick to load.

 

seo-powersuite-videoSEO tip #2 – When you’ve got a great site, you can help Google understand your site which will help you in the rankings. Start with page titles that describe each page using keywords that people search for. Only use a maximum of 70 characters, including spaces.

 

Clear page descriptionSEO tip #3 – Also have an excellent page description. This doesn’t influence rankings, but when your site does appear in search results there’s a compelling reason to click. Only use a maximum of 155 characters, including spaces.

SEO tip #4 – Make sure that each page URL (web address) uses keywords, not just a database generated string of meaningless characters. For example, www.mysite.com/brown-widgets, not www.mysite.com/productID=3387.

SEO tip #5 – Nothing succeeds like great content on a page; write the content for your users to resolve their problems, not because you think it will help you rank with Google.

SEO tip #6 – Keep your site fresh. Update pages, add events, include news, keep a blog. Add customer reviews.

seoSEO tip #7 – Keep your images small (if the website is going to display 400×300 pixels, make the image that size, don’t rely on the user’s browser to resize it; save it as a medium quality jpg file) so your pages load quickly, Google likes fast sites.

 

SEO tip #8 – Rename your images from the camera name (like IMG100449.jpg) to a meaningful name (like ‘Purple-product-small-tub.jpg’).

SEO tip #9 – Make sure your images have ALT text, such as ‘Blue denim skirt, small size'; Google can’t ‘see’ what an image really is so this helps it understand the page, and importantly it helps partially sighted people use your site.

Alt text example 1

Alt Text Example

Alt Text Example

 

 

 

 

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SEO tip #10 – This is a big one. Google likes links to your site, so get them from PR, other bloggers, social media, industry experts, directories, trade press, happy customers, etc. DON’T buy them.

So, off you go, have fun and see what all the fuss isn’t about! Oh, one last thing, could you please tell all of your friends, colleagues & contacts about this blog posting so that they too can share in the ‘free love’ that is DIY SEO……..

Cheers to my good friend David who’s rival marketing company (hold on seems a bit more expensive now!) is to be found here  www.insight-bp.co.uk

If you have shared this posting tell us, if you have questions burning your brain let us have them….. phil@scarletopus.com

 

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How Window Displays become Story Tellers: London

Lisa Le PeurianHi! I’m Lisa and I’m Guest Blogging for Scarlet Opus. I moved to London in January, where I’ve been inspired by the culture, fashion, design, and fast pace of life, but most of all by the shopping! A trip down Oxford Street is now a daily (very expensive) route to work for me… so come along and have a look at the shopping temptations I face…

Walking down Oxford Street through the hustle & bustle of people – tourists, workers and street performers – with the noise of the buses, traffic and jibber-jabber of voices, there is nowhere to escape, nowhere to hide, nowhere to find peace and quiet other than the silent stillness of a shop window. I’m drawn in by the tranquility of the untouchable beauty juxtaposed against the heavily crowded streets of London.

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During a days shopping on Oxford street you pass many window displays but at the height of luxury in the West End, no one does it quite as well as Selfridges & Co, with its gilded gold, Art Deco surrounding, and ornate columns beautifully framing the windows below.

selfridgesSelfridges London East Corner by Andrew Meredith

‘Bug’s Diner’ is definitely my favorite window at Selfridges this season, with pastel colours, neon signs, jukebox and bugs!? This strange and fun mix of classic 50s, brought together with large plastic bugs, is very disconcerting in a diner setting but is interesting and eye-catching, and adds an intriguing shock factor. The full swing skirts, matching twin sets and pastel rinse wigs really create a strong retro vibe. The mono colour blocks on the mannequins work well against the checkerboard tile effect background and chrome finishes:

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Alongside the diner window is the ‘Meet the Mixologist‘ window.  It’s part of the “Meet the Makers” promotion that Selfridges are hosting this season, enabling you to go along and meet the different personalities behind the making of the products, bars and restaurants that are within Selfridges. There are “live demonstrations, tours and tastings”. The ‘Meet the Mixologist’ window includes diffused pastel backdrops and neon lighting, with rotating ombres of liquor bottles screaming summer city party time:

mix-for-WEBIn complete contrast to these flirty and fun pastel tones and vibrant electric lights is the ‘Meet the Bakers‘ window display. The use of muted tones, bare wood and deep mint green bring a real feeling of comfort and authenticity, with freshly baked bread displayed in the window. Evocative touches are created by the left behind remnants of a customer – an umbrella, newspaper, coat, coffee cup and half eaten roll, reminding us of the simpler things in life:

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Meet the Distillery‘ is the story behind the making of gin, which is of course a big part of the summer party scene.  But this window is presented in a stripped back style – a gentlemen’s library, among which the distillery equipment is displayed in the middle along with the home comforts of an armchair, book cases and dog bed (which actually represents Darcy the Labrador’s bed, who belongs to the founders of Cambridge Distillery, Will Lowe and his wife Lucy). It’s a very personal scene that tells a story behind the product you’re buying into, and it’s very comforting and draws you in.

Gin-for-WEBAnother department store that has taken a look at “The Makers” is Harrods.  Their windows are currently dressed to show unfinished garments and accessories, showing the pattern work and construction which tells the story behind how and where the pieces are made:

undressed-for-WEBSome of the ‘Maker’ themed Harrods windows have a big focus on handbags, and there are also handbags that are showcased with graffiti scrawled across them and the mannequins:

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This graffiti theme is seen in lower end retail shops such as Topshop too, where splashes of colour decorate the surrounding surfaces of the window display. This look actually reminds me of Holi fest – the festival of colour, which was lots of fun this summer in London, throwing coloured chalk at one another!

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Our thanks to Lisa Le Peurian for sharing her store window story finds with us.

If you’re attending TISE East at Miami Beach and you’re interested in learning more about creating store window displays based around storytelling and trend themes, then join Phil & Victoria on their exciting 2 part Workshop on October 20th More details here HERE

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Top 5 Garden Design Trend Tips

It’s August, the weather is glorious (mostly) and right now life is all about being outdoors as much as possible.  And that means that magazine pages are crammed full of this season’s ‘must have’ outdoor products and warn of your total humiliation if you don’t have a huge water feature in your garden by the end of the week!  Thankfully, I’m here with 5 top tips to cut through the codswallop and ensure you make sensible and sensational al fresco decisions this summer.

1. Furniture & Textiles

Garden furniture is not an impulse purchase.  Don’t get caught up in bargain priced tables & chairs in ‘fun’ colours made from bits of plastic, tubular metal, and wood that’s one grade up from balsa.  Simply steer clear of ‘special offer’ furniture on display outside supermarkets and DIY stores, because if you do buy it you’re 1 season away from owning a pile of sun-faded, fraying, rusting, rotting, cracked, creaking, wobbly, wonky junk!  Buy the best quality furniture you can afford and you’ll stand a chance of being able to use it again next year.  Want to stay on-trend? Think low Moroccan corner sofa or chaise lounge, cushions, cushions, cushions … plus an outdoor rug!  Yes, an outdoor rug!

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ABOVE: Ikat cushions from Etsy seller CoupleHome in the UK; Treviso outdoor area rug from U.S-based CoolBackYards.

2. Lights

Unless you actually want your outdoor space to look like a bar, you might do best to avoid multi-coloured lights.  A warm 1 colour glow is the way to go (Think Bruce Munro’s work as pictured below).  Alternatively a subtle cold white shimmering light can also look magical. Don’t overdo it – you’re not looking to create enough light to land a plane – simply aim to create pockets of illumination that highlight seating areas and features such as trees, larger plants, pathways and sculptures.

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ABOVE: Adjustable pathway lights from Florida-based Interior Deluxe; Halley curved LED floor lights designed by Jordi Vilardell & Meritxell Vidal for Vibia available from OLighting; Field Of Light by Bruce Munro.

3. Sculptures & Water Features

Big is beautiful when it comes to garden sculptures and water features … so don’t be buying tinkling little fountains and collections of random little ornaments.  In fact ornaments have no place being in your garden unless you’re going for a purposely kitsch thing!  Be brave enough to make a big, bold, simple, singular statement or display a cluster of smaller, but nevertheless striking, cloned pieces together as a grouping (like Neil Wilkins’ ‘Raindrops’ pictured below).  Top Tip: Rounded, curvaceous shapes will likely turn out to be easier to live with in the long run than sharp, thin, spiky shapes.

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ABOVE: Mirror-polished stainless steel Water Wall by UK-based David Harber; Polished stainless steel Torus sculpture by UK-based David Harber; Glass Raindrops by            UK-based Neil Wilkin.

4.Tabletop

I’m sure you’ll be very familiar with the trend for bringing the outdoors, indoors.  But I’m a big fan of taking the indoors, outdoors – essentially creating outdoor living rooms and dining rooms with the same level of quality and decorative values that you’d look to achieve inside your home.  In fact outdoor dining areas are the perfect place to be even bolder with pattern and colour that you might be inside your home.  So experiment with mix & mismatched patterns and clashing colours.  Dare yourself to try something outside of your normal style.

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ABOVE: Coral & Wilde’s Seaside patterned tableware from Brooklyn-based designer Jill Fenichell of Bongenre (the Queen of melamine!); Chainlink table runner from U.S-based etsy seller The Preppy Owl Boutique; Teal cookware & serveware by Le Creuset  (perfectly suitable for use on an outdoor gas grill).

5. Heaters

Yes, outdoor heaters are a practical purchase, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be gorgeous!  If you think of them as statement design features, almost sculptural, then you’ll be on the right track.  So whether you go for a natural fire pit or gas flames, seek out a heater with some serious personality or you’ll have missed an opportunity to add some serious style to your outdoor space.

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ABOVE: Allison Kindle Heater by California-based Kindle Living; Roberta Linear Fire Pit from Toronto-based Paloform;  Fire Table by UK-based David Harber.

js1600_scarlet opus editBuy the very best quality you can afford & be brave enough to make a bold style statement.

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Today I Love… Marshmallow Pastels

Over the past couple of weeks we have seen lots of emerging designers and architects experimenting with foam as a material. Its soft, touchable qualities draw us in, offering comfort in exaggerated forms. Foam is an essential building material used for many different applications around the world and the experimentation of this material is being pushed to the boundaries.

We’ve seen architects use it for installations designed for child friendly exhibitions such as Sungsin Eo, product designers that are experimenting with tactile installations and fashion designers that combine a range of different materials to create inspiring shaped garments on the body.

I love the use of the pastel colours, they offer a quiet calmness that has a clean, pure impression rather than it being a feminine palette, it promotes a more experimental concept with tactile qualities in the materials, shapes and textures.

It’s fun, experimental and begging to be touched, sat on, and even worn!

The use of pastel colours are very on trend right now, check out how you can work these colours into your wardrobe and home here!

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ABOVE:

1. Form follows foam by Therese Granlund

2. Neoplasticism in foam by Katja Windau

3. Valeska Jasso Colladoby

4. Foam and Glass by Roos Gomperts Studio

5. Form follows foam by Therese Granlund

6. Foam and Glass by Roos Gomperts Studio

7.Stefanie Högl and Matthias Borowski for kollektiv plus zwei

8. Valeska Jasso Collado

9. Neoplasticism in foam by Katja Windau

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