Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Five cutting-edge women you need to know about in the world of design

diane hill.jpg

Design is a deeply personal process, imbued with the expression and commentary of its creator.

From the hand-print artist bringing a fresh touch to interiors, to the entrepreneur using design as a tool for social change, meet five passionate women setting the design agenda of tomorrow.

1. Diane Hill

Diane Hill

Decorative artist Diane Hill draws on Far Eastern art and ancient techniques to craft beautiful hand-painted designs for modern interiors.

Her eye-catching approach combines flamboyance with finesse.

"I think Diane Hill is going to be a really big name in the world of interiors and design,” says freelance illustrator Claire Spake. “In the short time since she launched her business just over a year ago, she has already achieved so much and pushed the boundaries of what people can do with their living and working spaces.

"What makes her work so special is the way she combines contemporary and classic design. She uses a bold style and colour combinations and yet her work always looks neat, elegant and striking."

Diane studied textile design at Manchester Metropolitan University and trained in China, where she was able to fine-tune her interest in oriental art.

“The reason I apply my paintings to interiors is because I love that impact it can have on a whole room,” Diane tells Stylist. “It changes the whole feeling and atmosphere of a space and can have a really positive impact on people. I love it when people’s instant reaction is 'wow'. If that is not their first word, then I know something is wrong!”

See more of Diane’s work on dianehill.co.uk

Design: Diane Hill

Design: Diane Hill


2. Malika Favre

Malika

Malika Favre is a French artist based in London, who uses “a bit of humour, a touch of sexiness and a re-imagination of the ordinary” to provoke the mind’s eye and infuse her arresting illustrations with character.

“I discovered Malika’s work in an art car sale in Shoreditch, and I stood up in front of her designs for a while,” says graphic designer Otilia Martin. “I have always said visual design is like sculpting – you need to carve out everything that is not essential. Malika’s work not only has this quality, but the extraordinary capacity to create visual games with the fewest possible elements. Her designs are stylish, timeless, refreshing and witty.”

Part of the appeal of Malika’s work is the way it overlays a strong narrative core with a veneer of minimalism. “Using the ‘less is more’ approach, we see so much more in her work,” says Otilia. 

Designer Jessica Kumah agrees. “I love Malika’s colourful, bold prints. Although they look so simple, I really admire the craft and use of vivid colour across all of her pieces.”

Malika studied art in Paris, before moving to the UK. She set up as a freelance illustrator in 2011 and her signature panache has seen her evolve into one of Britain’s most sought-after graphic artists.

See more of Malika’s work on malikafavre.com

Design: Malika Favre

Design: Malika Favre


3. Mona Chalabi

Mona Chalabi

Mona Chalabi is a data journalist who creates award-winning drawings that are designed to make numbers more relatable in the context of storytelling and social commentary. 

“I think Mona Chalabi is very exciting,” says graphic designer Sinem Erkas. “She illustrates info-graphics using felt-tip pens, making academic information and statistics about difficult topics very friendly and accessible in a visually fun way. 

“Her background is in journalism and editorial, so I think that’s what makes her approach to design so refreshing.”

Mona studied at the University of Edinburgh before moving to New York, where she became data editor of The Guardian US. She won an award in 2016 from the Royal Statistical Society, who hailed her use of evocative visual representation to illustrate complex data.

“I think the drawings are a great way to show data to people who think they're not interested in data,” Mona tells Stylist. “By drawing things like prison cell size or menopausal hot flushes, it makes numbers feel more real and relevant to people's lives. And because the sketches are imprecise and drawn by hand, it starts a really important conversation about just how accurate data really is.”

See more of Mona’s work on monachalabi.com

Design: Mona Chalabi

Design: Mona Chalabi


4. Rachita Saraogi 

Rachita

A self-styled “design-prenuer”, Rachita Saraogi uses her creative skills to bridge the gap between design and the complex social issues that we face today. She is the co-founder of Sisterhood, an organisation that is focused on helping and inspiring young women via the medium of design.

“Rachita is shaking up the design industry through a social enterprise which delivers design-focused workshops to young girls to build confidence,” says fellow graphic designer and Sisterhood partner Rebecca Thomson. “She is rewriting the rules of what it means to be a designer in the 21st century.”

Rachita says the idea for Sisterhood came about when she and her friends were studying at Central Saint Martins in London.

“We were discussing our experiences of being female creatives in this exciting and competitive industry,” she explains on her blog. “Our discoveries led us to a hypothesis that women are stronger, better and more confident when we support each other; however, our collective experiences were more often than not opposite. So how could we change this?”

Sisterhood was the answer. The project involves a podcast and lecture series, as well as school workshops for girls aged 11 to 17 that address issues such as body image, self-esteem and peer pressure. 

“We hope that through these workshops, young girls are equipped and encouraged to be supportive towards themselves and each other,” says Rachita.

See more of Rachita’s work on rachita-saraogi.com

Rachita Saraogi

Design: Rachita Saraogi


5. Sara Andreasson

Sara Andreasson

Gender equality is a potent theme in the work of Swedish illustrator Sara Andreasson, whose exuberant approach draws its punch from sensual portraits and buoyant hues of oranges, burgundies and pinks. 

“I love Sara Andreasson,” says London-based fashion illustrator Katie Edmunds. “All her work is about empowering women, no matter what their size, race or sexuality.

“Her aesthetics really pop as they’re loud, in-your-face and colourful. She’s so diverse and also has a sense of humour about her work. She’s part of the movement that inspires me, too  – that women should always support women!”

Sara is currently based in London, where she edits independent feminist magazine BBY. She always has an eye to subverting gender stereotypes in her work, as she tells Danish design site idoart.dk: “Pictures of men and women tend to be very stereotypical, and therefore I try to use photos of men when I’m drawing women and vice versa.”

One of Sara’s most distinguished exhibitions came about as an ode to the cult hit film Clueless, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2015 (the image below is from this show). Sara explored what she described as the “unapologetic girlieness” of the movie, which – despite being a rom com – managed to give “a portrayal of female friendship that still feels progressive”.

Her resulting work she describes as “a full-on femmage to girl culture”.

See more of Sara’s work on saraandreasson.se/

x
x

Capturing a crisp, clean taste

For healthy hydration on the go, smartwater sparkling offers a light carbonated kick. Vapour distilled from British spring water, electrolytes are added to create a distinctly crisp, clean taste. smartwater, living up to its name, comes in a super sleek 100% recyclable bottle. 

For more refreshing content, follow @glaceau_sw on Instagram

x

Related

Amelie.jpg

Charming on-screen apartments we wish were real

hero-2.jpg

Creative home office designs for freelance inspiration

gallery-at-Sketch.jpg

Dream designs: step inside Britain’s most striking restaurants

graphic designer.PNG

Graphic designers share their top tips for a standout CV

design.jpg

The most beautiful buildings in the world, as chosen by architects

food art.PNG

Inside the world of Instagram's most spectacular food art

More

“Why I opted out of reconstruction after my double mastectomy”

Breast cancer survivor Jeanne Paul says many don’t understand her choice

by Amy Swales
21 Aug 2017

Carpool Karaoke gets a Game of Thrones makeover

The Starks are in town

by Amy Swales
21 Aug 2017

How the solar eclipse could completely transform your life

An astrologer tells us how to tap into the ‘magical powers’ of tonight’s eclipse

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Aug 2017

Lidl is selling £3.33 bottles of prosecco – but there’s a catch

Bring on the bubbles

by Megan Murray
21 Aug 2017

Singer stops concert to expertly shame man for sexual assault

“It is not your f**king body and you do not f**king grab at someone!”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
21 Aug 2017

Why that Game of Thrones infertility storyline is so very important

This article contains spoilers, obviously

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Aug 2017

“I’m child-free, not childless – why the difference matters”

One writer on how our language shames women who choose not to procreate

21 Aug 2017

High school boys support female students against sexist dress code

And this is how it’s done

by Megan Murray
21 Aug 2017

Why people are posting cat photos in response to the Barcelona attacks

There’s a reason behind the influx of felines online

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Aug 2017

The deadly secret hidden within that creepy Game of Thrones hug

Spoilers are coming…

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Aug 2017