From Paper to Production – How We Design Our Products

June 04, 2016

Originally Published on 19. 01. 2015

original-sketch-birds 2

This is the original sketch that I made for our new Hoobynoo World Love Bird necklace. I always think it’s interesting to look at how something was taken from concept to finished design. When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a concept artist for someone like Disney or a Henson, and I spent hours looking at the ‘Making of’ books for films like A Bug’s Life and Toy Story: I was completely fascinated. I suppose that I now get to do that for a living, but in my own way; creating original products always gives me a great feeling of satisfaction, especially when I get to the finished article. Terry Pratchett always says that he doesn’t like writing, but that he likes ‘having written’: it’s the same with me and my artwork!

This necklace is something I’m particularly proud of, as it’s the next level of jewellery design for me: a much more complicated and involved process than many of our previous designs. It has taken quite a few months to get it just perfect, but I have loved every minute of it.

After the initial idea (pictured above), I then take my sketch to the computer to draw it up properly.

onto-the-computer 2

I usually spend about an hour drawing the design on the computer: tweaking, adding shading and manipulating the image until I am 100% happy with it. Once the artwork is perfect I then conduct a little market research on my Facebook page to figure out how big the charms should be. I’m usually wrong! For the lovebird design, my initial thought was to have larger birds, smaller heart. However, the Hoobynoo World Facebook fans advised against this, unanimously decided that the heart should be bigger and the birds smaller. Unlike many of BBC1’s Apprentice candidates, I always listen to my market research!

Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 22.42.07

The next stage is to manufacture the acrylic and all the corresponding components. This is always a process of trial and error, and the perfectionist in me makes this part of the task a lengthy process! Here is the first ‘draft’ we produced:


I don’t know about you, but for me that doesn’t look quite right: the birds were in too much of a ‘diving’ position and simply didn’t look like an integrated part of the design. This firmly in mind, the next part of the process was a lot more complicated than I expected it to be, and almost drove me to despair! We had to choose a place for the holes in order to thread the chain and pinpoint the natural ‘placing’ of the necklace on our models. No matter what we tried, the end result wasn’t sitting quite right…and certainly not for a lack of trying. We ended up drilling six holes in each, offering twelve different position combinations!


Eventually, I managed to narrow it down to a couple of alternative positions. At this point, I usually set up a photo-shoot with a few different models (pictured below) to see how the necklace looks, how it is received on first sight by the folks who are going to be wearing it and what the general impressions are of the design up close and personal!


After emerging from the photoshoot with a definite idea about how the piece is going to look, we settle on a final design and set the necklace in the position that we believe conveys the message we’re trying to get across (love, Valentine’s Day, hearts entwined, finding your soul-mate).


All that remains is for me to take a few final shots of the piece as worn (below) before submitting the finished product to our website and the various stockists that carry our products. Here is what we end up with:


Thanks for reading: I hope you enjoyed a look inside the process! To view the piece on our official website in all its various aspects, please click HERE. If you want to place an order for the necklace, you can do so on the same page.

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