An interview with designer Jo Sampson

Jo Sampson is not only the Creative Director of design agency, Blacksheep, but also runs luxury brand consultancy, Jo Sampson Studio, and has designed The London Collection for Waterford.I was keen to find out what makes this busy lady tick... Jo Sampson

What’s the most important thing to know about you?

I have high expectations.

Describe a really good day and a really bad day in the life of Jo Sampson?

A good day is designing something that you just know is going to be great, where all the elements fall into place ie it's good for the brand and embodies the ethos of the company; it's relevant for the market but it's different enough to make an impact.

A bad day is when a plate stops spinning – sometimes, something happens that you have no control over and there's a crash. Dealing with global brands is tricky, time zone differences, samples, languages... Things get lost in translation and we don't have time to waste.

Jo Sampson

What inspires your ideas?

Everyday life, fashion, gaps in the market, trade shows, blogs. Mainly I have gut feelings about things, I do a lot of staring into space visualising things in my head.

Describe the process you go through to turn your ideas into products.

I always start with the brand. What does the brand want to communicate with its consumer? What makes the brand unique? How can we push the parameters of design yet stay within the ethos and DNA of the company? I then look at shape and form and question what I'm doing and if there is a need or requirement for a product. The new contemporary home accessories range for Waterford, captures the eclectic feel of today's interiors. The objects work equally well together as well as on their own, as I want the consumer to feel they can have a 'collection' of objects.

Jo Sampson

What advice would you give to an aspiring designer?

Know your market, understand materials, visit as many hotels, restaurants and bars as you can to soak up the interiors. Good design is about understanding the whole experience: ambience, lighting, music, what the staff wear, what the drinks are served in, what type of paper the menu is printed on... It's about captivating an experience from macro to micro.

Desert island design time; which three designed items could you not live without?

Layout paper, the internet and music.

Jo Sampson

What are you most proud of?

Apart from my two gorgeous girls(!), The London Collection furniture range for Waterford. Everytime I see it in store it blows me away how it all sits so well together and the impact it has. I'm grateful to Waterford for wanting to contemporise and empowering me to push them as a brand.

What’s next for you? 

The new contemporay range for Waterford which comprises three collections. It will be ready by February 2013....not long!

And, finally, what’s your favourite colour?!

Grey - I just love it.

Jo Sampson