BEHIND THE DESIGNS: Cath Kidston X Mr Men Little Miss
Mr Men, and the whole, happy world created by Roger Hargreaves in 1971, is a classic British icon and a landmark of the nation’s childhood. For us at Cath, we grew up with Little Miss Sunshine’s purple car and Mr Tickle’s arms (they’re 20 bananas long, you know?). The simple illustrations, so full of character, leap with joy and colour, igniting the imaginations of our in-house print designers.
Carefully paired with some of our oldest heritage florals, “Flowers” and “Garden Ditsy” both recoloured to enter the world of Happyland, our design team created a concise, collaborative range that is bright, bold and fresh to brighten up the darker days of winter and be perfectly giftable – just in time for Christmas.
To celebrate the artistry of the collection, we caught up with Emma, our Senior Print Designer, to take a peek behind the scenes of the designs.
Having been with Cath for a whopping ten years, Emma now works closely with our Creative and Design directors to build our collections of distinctive prints. She particularly loves the first seeds of inspiration, where the team share memories and ideas, and do lots of drawing and painting. Plus, there’s nothing quite like seeing their work on the finished product (and hearing what our customers think of it) when it launches more than a year later. In her spare time, Emma loves cooking and yoga.
When it comes to collaborations between two famous brands, where do you start? And how do you get the balance right?
We start by reading up and researching the other brand, we usually do this as a whole team, which is fun.
We love looking into the history of the other brand and start pulling together inspiring imagery. Mr Men, in particular, has such a strong heritage to dive into. We loved that this whole world started so simply, when Roger Hargreaves put pen to paper to describe what a tickle would look like to his son, Adam. Who actually still draws the characters and creates the books with Sanrio today. Amazing, right?
How do the personalities of the Mr Men Little Miss Characters inspire the prints?
We loved reading the Mr Men & Little Miss books, each character has such a strong personality. We looked at the three most popular characters … Little Miss Sunshine, Little Miss Chatterbox & Little Miss Naughty. Each of these characters were really fun with lots to say for themselves, which definitely inspired the prints.
The print features florals from way back in our archive, what made you go for those?
We love to look into our archive when we start a collaboration, it really helps us ground new ideas in Cath. We came across “flowers’” which is one of our oldest floral prints. We loved the boldness, naivety and playfulness of this print. And the Little Miss characters sat beautifully with it.
When you think of Mr Men Little Miss, the colours are so bright and playful, how did this influence the palette for our prints?
We had a lot of fun with this colour palette, we wanted to use some of the key Little Miss colours like the yellow, purple, pink and green but balanced these out with some softer neutrals so that it feels bright but still really wearable. But ultimately, we wanted to make sure the colour palette was first and foremost playful and uplifting.
What techniques were used to design the print?
We experimented with layering the characters over the design and making them interact with the floral. We also repainted the flowers by hand to help develop the colour palette.
What is your favourite part about creating prints to collaborate Cath Kidston with such an iconic series of characters?
We love seeing the collaboration come to life- it’s so exciting seeing all the product (and reading what our customers think of them).
Which Mr Men or Little Miss character are you most like?
Oooh, tricky- maybe Little Miss Giggles!
What product is at the top of your wishlist once the collection has launched?
I would love the Foldaway Overnight Bag in the flowers print, it’s so practical and you get so much of the print on it. I love it.
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