This week we are shining our HBK Spotlight on Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire – the designers behind the “very British in attitude”, Mini Moderns.
This design duo took quite different paths to where they are today. Keith has a degree in Graphic Design and experience in the fashion industry, whilst Mark is an English Literature graduate who has worked in television.
Both Keith and Mark went on to work in branding agencies, before setting up their own branding studio and voila – Mini Moderns was born!
Stories from their lives and past experiences are woven into each designs. They are often inspired by old TV programmes, travel, literature, childhood memories, music or any other of their interests. Their love for British design heritage and social history shines out in everything thing they produce. Their customers have said how Mini Modern patterns often seem familiar whilst at the same time being new and original.
So what is a typical working day like in the Mini Moderns studio? Mornings usually consist of packing and dispatching orders. After that initial rush anything can happen. From working on new designs, liaising with manufacturers or going through new samples with licensees - for the Mini Moderns duo, no day is ever the same.
We asked both Keith and Mark to tell us a bit about their most treasured item of homeware. Keith told us about his G Plan sideboard that was given to them by his mother not long before she died. Unbeknown to anyone else in the family, one of Keith’s nephews has carved his name into the sideboard – a nice family link but shh don’t tell! Mark chose his collection of Carlton Ware money boxes gifted to him by Keith as his most treasured possessions. They always put a smile on his face and the only person trusted to dust them is his mum – good old Mums!
Which of their designs are the guys most proud of? Keith picked their Whitby print. Like all their prints, Whitby tells the story behind how it came to existence. Both Mark and Keith spent a lot of time in Whitby whilst growing up and this nautical print depicts a rough North Easterly sea with working fishing boats riding the waves. Mark says they are really proud of all their prints as each one means something different to them and has a balance of fun and thoughtfulness in their design.
You can find Mini Moderns in store today – which is your favourite print?