Emma Britton Decorative Glass Designer
Emma graduated from Loughborough with a degree in Printed Textiles in 2008. She has her own decorative glass design business, where she designs bespoke glass splashbacks with matching glassware, trays and tea towels.
Because it was the best course I visited! The print room facilities are amazing, and since finishing I realised that no-one else who studied Printed Textiles at other universities had facilities like we had, in fact they don’t exist in the real world. I wanted to go further from home, being from Nottingham but the course was so good in the end I’m really glad I went to Loughborough.
The standard of work by women on my course was really high. Designers Zoe Murphy, Lorna Syson and Grace Du Prez were all in my year group. We all pushed each other to work harder and our lecturer Tina Frank instilled discipline in us and encouraged us to explore materials. It was in my 2nd year that I started to print onto glass - an exploration which was the birth of my career, although I didn’t know that at the time. The way I learnt to think about repeat structures and printing in layers onto fabric helps me now when I design. I use that training to think about the practical elements of laminating glass, how to apply pattern to it and how the design will work across a large area in someone’s home - this was all born out of lining up screens into registration!
Would there be one piece of advice that you would give to current or prospective students looking to study the same course that you did?
Work hard, push yourself and enjoy learning with your contemporaries. University gives you access to cutting edge technology that is much harder to access afterwards - explore it while it’s on your doorstep, you never know what you may discover.
Social media has changed since I was at university, and so has the way we as designers access inspiration. I would encourage students in this saturated world to find their own style and identity whilst at university, whatever and for whomever they may go on to design for.
Did you take part in any extra-curricular activities during your studies? If so, how did this impact upon your Loughborough experience?
I was degree show chair with my friend and designer Ellen Calvert.
I graduated in the summer of 2008 when the recession hit and it was very difficult to find employment - I just assumed I would be a textile designer, but very few places were recruiting. I went sideways and worked for a glass company in Surrey and learnt a lot about glass. I then saw a gap in the market for patterned glass and the business idea was born.
Loughborough was instrumental in how I came to be running a business today - I spent a long time writing a business plan and researching. I successfully applied for an Enterprise Grant and came 2nd in the Universities Business Plan Competition which provided me with much needed capital to design and fund my debut glass splashback collection.
I love the fact that I get paid to spend my days drawing and painting. I love that people trust me to design for them, that they connect with my designs in different ways. I love seeing my work in lots of different homes, bringing joy to people’s everyday lives. To me that is success.
The future feels very bright right now - I am making money, expanding and working with high profile brands and designing for them. I have so many ideas, that I can’t wait to come to fruition.
It has to be installing seven metres of my best selling glass splashback pattern ‘Watercolour in Grey’ into the office at London’s 20 Air Street for Telefonica. Also, designing tea towels for Breast Cancer Care last year was amazing too, I felt like my designs had a purpose to raise money for charity which felt nice.