Graham & Brown, the U.K.’s leading wallpaper manufacturer, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. The family-run business in Lancashire, Blackburn was founded by two friends – Harold Graham and Henry Brown – in 1946. The company’s expanded its collection to include paint and wall murals, which are now available in the U.S. A+A recently interviewed Paula Taylor, the firm’s color and trends specialist, via email:
So what’s the secret of your products’ appeal? Customization and personalization have become quite an important factor in giving people choice. Bespoke murals allow the customer to select a design and choose not only the right size to fit their wall, but also the opportunity to scale, crop or place the key feature of the design how and where they want it. They can also select from four finishes to the mural and also four complementary paint colors for trim finishes and for the other walls and doors in the room.
The design intent? It’s crucial when designing murals to create either a large format design, or if this isn’t possible, a very high resolution design. When we select designs from our archives, we have to scan them in very carefully at a very high resolution so that when we upscale the design, no detail is lost or pixilated. If a design is hand drawn or painted, meticulous preparation is taken to erase any initial sketch marks that would probably not be visible at normal scale but may detract from the artwork at mural scale. Color is also key and can appear different in different lighting conditions, so we take great care to match the murals to the designers original color schemes.
The source of inspiration? As I was just mentioning, we delve into our vast archive to unearth beautifully hand-painted and drawn designs that can be reworked into a mural format. We also look to the trends for inspiration each season as with mural design you can be more adventurous and trend led.
The color palette? We love to work with the latest color trend palettes, but we’re also aware that certain neutral palettes will have a greater appeal to more consumers so we try to accommodate all tastes by offering a choice of colorways in most of our murals.
What are the trends in murals? “Bringing the outside in” is a key trend that we’ve seen in murals, botanical natural imagery relates to our love of biophilic design. Biophilia is increasingly important to our health and well being in urban society. We’ve looked at research that has shown that even indirect elements of nature help reduce stress, blood pressure and heart rates, and promotes well being. Another trend we are seeing in murals that can also help reduce stress is balance and geometry – people are feeling a need to create order in these uncertain times. Simplified structures and architectural references are also a key trend with the faux interior creating a grand backdrop for those all important zoom meetings.
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