It’s hard to believe that Unlimited Editions have only been going for a couple of years; their collective of contemporary illustrators, designers and printmakers make for a very impressive line-up indeed! Unlimited Editions launched in early 2010 by husband and wife team Patrick and Sara Morrissey as an expansion to their design studio business Unlimited – a creative design studio in the heart of Brighton’s North Laine. Their Unlimited Editions shop offers a wide variety of stunning prints and design products from a fantastic stable of artists and designers – available to the public via both their Brighton shop and their online store.
Unlimited Editions shop, Brighton:
Patrick graduated from the London College of Printing before joining design group Why Not Associates, working for numerous prestigious clients such as the BBC, Natural History Museum, Nike, Royal Mail, Barbican, Virgin and First Direct. Graduating from Central Saint Martins, Sara combined a successful career as an award-winning illustrator with design teaching, before graduating from the MA Typo/Graphics at the London College of Printing. Together they formed Unlimited and opened for business in May 2008 with the aim of producing intelligent, engaging and inspiring art and design for clients both big and small.
Being such admirers of their work and their wonderful collective, we are thrilled to say that Patrick and Sara were kind enough to allow us to ask them a few questions about how it all began, and where they go from here!..
Q. What was the incentive behind setting up Unlimited Editions, and how did it all start?
Sara: It’s all been quite a natural progression really… Starting 3 years ago with our decision to take part in the Artist’s Open House (AOH) Festival here in Brighton. We’d already produced various print designs for external exhibitions we’d been involved in, and having seen the growing audience for contemporary design work we thought we’d throw open our studio doors and invite a few of our friends who are also designers to participate too. In regards to the online shop, we were already in the process of developing a shop side to our own design studio website to sell our own prints – but decided to take this a step further and create a stand alone site that could sell our designs alongside the curated work from the collective of designers we had gathered together for AOH. ‘Unlimited Editions’ as a name playfully tied in to our studio and the sale of printed matter.
A huge incentive to keep UE going has been the wonderful opportunity to curate and represent such a strong collective of local contemporary creatives. I think my years of being a design tutor came in to play and find it very motivational to discover new talent, represent them at UE and promote their work.
Julia Trigg prints:
Q. You create your own wonderful prints as part of the collective – under the studio name Unlimited. How much time do you get to devote to your own creative work… And how do you balance this side of things with the running of Unlimited Editions?
Sara: Not as much time as we’d like!… Though we are very lucky that our studio work is mainly for renowned arts and cultural clients such as Royal Academy of Arts, Design Museum and University of the Arts London, which gives us the opportunity to let loose our creativity on a daily basis!… The shop I see as my ‘baby’, whilst Patrick my husband/partner takes the reins running the design studio. The running of the shop, both online and out of our studio, is a real commitment in itself, but when we can we both try and create something new for UE!
Q. How do you collaborate together on a piece of work? Do you compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses, creatively?
Sara: As a husband and wife team, we’ve been living and working together for 22 years now!… Having met on our Art Foundation course, we’ve spent our entire adult life together and are just very comfortably in tune with one another! But with a tricky project we’ve found the best way to collaborate is over a drink in the pub. It’s definitely the best place to brainstorm away from the desk!
Q. Brighton is such a creative hotbed of illustration and design talent… How much of a role has the location played in establishing Unlimited Editions, and the success it has achieved?
Sara: I think Brighton life has definitely played a positive role in starting UE… There is a fantastic creative network which is really accessible and friendly – a pleasure to be a part of!… We had our first studio space in New England House, where we met a great group of varied creatives including graphic designers, illustrators, web developers, photographers, ceramicists… even lingerie designers! Now based in the heart of the North Laine, we are surrounded by small independent boutique shops and a real diversity of people which makes for an interesting and inspirational environment.
Paul Farrell prints:
Q. You have such a fantastic collection of artists and designers available in your collective… Can you give us a little bit of background as to who came on board first, and how it gained momentum?
Sara: Our earliest UE members were immediate friends such as With Relish, Transmission, Martin O’Neill and DOT amongst others who exhibited with us for the first AOH festival. And through the success of that and the positive feedback we received, we quickly had people coming to us!… But saying that, we’ve also been very active in approaching people we like the work of and who we feel compliment our UE philosophy, and we’ve grown from the original few to the current collective of over 40!… We see UE as Unlimited’s ‘Studio Shop’, and as such we want the quality and creativity of all the work we exhibit and sell to reflect the same standards as our own.
With Relish prints:
Martin O’Neill prints:
Q. Can you tell us about any specific high points in Unlimited Editions journey to date?
Sara: The daily high point is looking at the artists and work we’ve gathered together as part of the UE collective.. When we look at the UE site and shop we feel incredibly proud. Gathering artists on board who we both admire and respect gives us a real sense of satisfaction!… Also the constant positive feedback and ever growing following spurs us on too!
Q…and any low-points when things have been a real struggle?
Sara: Not low points, more of a huge learning curve at times!… The growth of UE has all happened very organically and as a response to our audience feedback, but this has meant tackling the world of retail and I suppose PR/marketing in a sense… Alongside managing our own design practice, we are now managing a shop/gallery and all that entails, working to promote and support our artists the best we can!… But we are as passionate about it as the day we started and feel very fortunate to be in a position to do what we love for a living! So no complaints!
Kay Vincent prints:
Q. You host regular exhibitions at your Brighton design studio – both individual shows and group exhibitions. These are no doubt really fun events, the culmination of much hard work from the artists and yourselves! Do you find many of your artists come together at these events to discuss the work and catch-up?
Sara: Yes, we’ve done three years of Open House exhibitions, both in May and December, and we have recently started to hold solo shows featuring the work of individual artists – our first being ‘Ghostal Express’ by local illustrator extraordinaire Will Scobie. Yes, they are both fun and hard work!… But as well as having the opportunity to exhibit great work and impress our audience, I love the social aspect and the coming together of our creatives and the opportunity to meet new ones too! Where possible I try and encourage group meets so we can all have a catchup, chat, relax and a drink together!
Will Scobie – ‘Ghostal Express’:
Q. What exciting plans / events have you got coming up this year? Anything we need to get into our diary?
Sara: Yes, we’re really excited planning our next solo show, ‘Head to Toe’ by Imeus Design, which will be running from 25 October to 17 November. Imeus AKA Anthony Peters, is fascinated by work that reduces a concept or image to its most basically communicated form. For this show Anthony’s love of minimal graphics, old school book diagrams and hands-on printing methods will be coming together to create a series of brand new works based loosely on the human body and the mundane everyday appendages we apply to it. ‘Head to Toe’ will be a show containing graphic renditions of human biology… In Anthony’s own words “Like a Damien Hirst vitrine made by Hanna Barbera!”…
We’ll also begin planning soon for the Christmas AOH Festival where we will have an amazing array of design gifts and goodies from all our collective at the studio shop!
Imeus / Anthony Peters prints:
Q. You have just had a refurbishment in your gallery and studio space..How is it all looking??
Sara: We had a bit of a refit back in April to try and make our small space work more successfully as both a studio and a shop!… Up till then we were existing as a kind of pop-up shop where we’d have to pack away our studio equipment every weekend to set up our shop wares, and then back to studio on a Monday morning, which was all rather exhausting!… Our friend Mark Lane of Square One design collaborated with us on the layout designs and built us some great bespoke dividers and storage to help us streamline and define the spaces in style! It is definitely more workable on a daily basis and we are pleased with how it all looks!
Jessie Ford prints:
Q. What is a typical day for you like – is there such a thing as a ‘typical’ day?
Sara: Not really, but most days start with a very slow walk into town with our sausage dog Honey (very short legs, not much speed) followed by the best cup of coffee in Brighton at Coffee@33. Then it’s into work and straight into answering emails, dealing with on-line shop orders, managing ongoing and future gallery projects and meetings, whilst also working on all our current design briefs.
Q. As designers yourselves, what tool or medium could you not live without?
Sara: Very sad to say, but we are in love with all things Apple. We’ve grown up with them (starting off with a black and white Mac Classic!) and can’t imagine life without them. The kettle is a necessity too!
Q. And finally, do you have any specific aspirations in mind for Unlimited Editions?
Sara: To find that perfect space in the North Laine that can house both our rapidly growing shop and studio!… and to become a real destination point within Brighton and beyond for what we do!… We’ve had amazingly positive feedback from people visiting the shop and the word is spreading! It’s grown very organically as a reaction to this, and as such I hope it feels more honest than engineered, and means we are filling a need rather than foisting another venture onto the market! We just aim to keep forging new connections with other skilled creatives, to keep evolving as a business and be inspired by everything going on around us.
Thank you SO MUCH!! x
Sara, Patrick and Honey!:
facebook: Unlimited Editions
studio website: www.weareunlimited.co.uk
shop website: www.unlimitededitions.co.uk