Unlimited Love of Design with Sara Morrissey
My never-ending quest to adorn the walls of my house with design that takes your breath away means that I am always on the lookout for the aesthetic dream. So, whenever I’m in Brighton I am drawn as magnetically to one of my favourite design shops – Unlimited. Run by husband and wife team Patrick and Sara Morrissey; Unlimited is the spark of their love with design and typography. This week sees a unique pop up exhibition called FOUR PLAY at Boxpark Shoreditch ahead of a month-long exhibition at their shop as part of Brighton Fringe Festival. In preparation Sara joins me as part of the Celebrating Creativity series to talk design, inspirations, moving from the Big Smoke to the sea and getting distracted by a sausage dog named Honey.
Hi Sara, welcome to the Up Coaching blog. Why not start by telling us a little more about you and your work:
I graduated from Central Saint Martins with a first class BA Hons in illustration, and went on to work freelance in the industry, winning a number of awards for my illustration work including a silver D&AD in 1997. Alongside this I taught for 8 years in design at a number of great colleges including London College of Communication where I also gained my Distinction on the MA Typo/Graphics course. I then did a year as in-house graphic designer at the Lyric Hammersmith before joining Patrick in starting our own creative studio.
What is the ethos of the shop?
Having started by taking part in 3 years of Open House studios, holding our own exhibitions and then evolving into a regular weekend pop up shop in the front of our old design studio space, the current gallery and shop has really come about very organically as a reaction to feedback over these last few years which has been amazingly positive. As such we hope it feels more ‘honest’ than engineered – filling a need rather than foisting another venture onto the market! We aim to keep forging new connections with other skilled creatives, showcasing exciting new work we admire and keep evolving as a business and be inspired by everything going on around us. The shop allows us to be a more visible and pro-active part of the Brighton creative and retail scene. Our main drive at Unlimited as a gallery and shop is to continue to source, provide and promote a great selection of concept-led, unique, affordable and innovative work.
How does the business partnership work with your husband? What are your roles in the business?
Patrick and I met when we were 18 years old whilst on our Art Foundation course. We’ve been together 25 years this year…!
Patrick has always worked as a graphic designer since college – upon graduating from the London College of Printing he joined design group Why Not Associates. During his ten years there, Patrick worked for numerous prestigious creative clients such as the Royal Academy of Arts, BBC, Natural History Museum, Nike, Royal Mail, Barbican, Virgin and First Direct.
He’s been there at my side throughout my more ‘changeable’ career path and we’ve continued to support and inspire each other creatively. We finally decided to pool our experience and knowledge in 2008, and started Unlimited design studio together with the aim of producing intelligent, engaging and inspiring design for clients both big and small.
Our current shop and gallery space opened its doors in the Summer 2013, and we’re going from strength to strength together finding our feet in the world of retail and consolidating the two strands to the business to strengthen Unlimited as a creative brand – the more established design studio which he continues to run, and the gallery and shop which I curate and oversee.
There’s obviously a deep connection to your ethos and the designers you feature in the shop – why do you think this is?
Our collective is continually evolving and growing… We have many great friends, colleagues and peers involved, some we have known for years, others we have discovered as our business has grown… I think our connection (and strength in what we offer) lies in the fact we’re all very like-minded in our work. Both in our practice and outcome – concept driven, strength of communication, visually engaging, a love of colour, attention to detail and quality of craft.
We moved to Brighton 10 years ago now and haven’t looked back!… Both Central Londoners born and bred (living just off Tottenham Court Road) we were used to being very much a part of the city’s buzz… We were ready for a change, but still wanted to be part of a place with a lively and creative heart and soul! It feels very much our true home now!
What collaborations have you been working on?
Unlimited worked on a big self-initiated project in 2015 called FOUR PLAY. It’s a collaboration between our own design studio and a curated collective of 40 fantastic illustrators, artists and designers. We’ve set all 40 involved a brief where, having chosen a FOUR letter word from a list provided, they are then to illustrate that word in their own distinctive visual style using a fixed palette of FOUR colours. Unlimited studio are then incorporating their word into each artwork (the only brief being to place the word centrally), creating a unique typographic response for each and an exciting collaborative final piece.
As a collection of prints they can then playfully create narrative/dialogue of the audience’s choosing – working as both stand-alone individual artworks, interchangeable pairs or more elaborate stories. So much can be said with just one word and image, or many arranged together can create interesting narratives, interpretations and juxtapositions.
The breadth of creatives on board is refreshing and diverse – some are established names in the industry, others newer to the scene. Some participants are more used to working within the spheres of fine art, textile design and moving image. All are highly talented, excited to collaborate with us on this and the end result is definitely going to be a dynamic and exciting mix of visual responses!
What inspires you so much it makes you cry / laugh / your heart quicken?
Apart from Patrick you mean?! ;-D
Cry: Definitely love a good movie!…
Laugh: Our gorgeous mini Dachshund Honey!
Heart quicken: Discovering new talent, travel, fantastic food and a great glass of wine!
What does being creative mean to you?
Being open minded and engaged/responsive to what’s going on around you. Having a desire to keep evolving, growing… trying new things and setting yourself new challenges…
When are you at your happiest?
When I’m busy and work is going well, getting great feedback from clients and customers… When I’m giving Honey her tummy tickles… When I’m enjoying rare time off with Patrick having great chats, food and wine! (often when we come up with our best ideas!)