In The Spotlight with Happy Jackson28/02/18
We’re catching up with Heather Flynn and Giles Andrae on the inspiration behind the new-look and what’s next for the brand.
The veritable King and Queen of Stationery, Happy Jackson founders Giles Andreae and Heather Flynn, have been creating beautifully bright designs together since 2011. The Happy Jackson empire is undeniably huge, with their relatable, playful quotes splashed across stationery, beauty products, greetings cards and more recently, mobile phone accessories. With an ever-expanding variety of successful products, we can’t wait to see what’s in the future for Happy Jackson. We’ve been working with Happy Jackson since the beginnings of the brand in 2012, and we’re still so proud of the collaboration, so we thought it was about time we had a chat about their new look.
You’ve launched the new exciting colour palette with Wild & Wolf as a more contemporary style. What inspired this change?
Put really simply – we love colour! It’s at the heart of the brand and a huge part of our success to date. We’d worked with a tight set of colours, patterns and materials since launch in early 2012, so we were itching to start playing with new colour combos and explore where the brand could go next. It was important to us that this didn’t feel like ‘old’ and ‘new’ Happy Jackson. We wanted pretty, vibrant colours that would work both alongside our existing lines and displayed solo. The answer for us was to go electric – zingy sherbet pastels and super-bright fluoros! New favourites include an electric coral tone and perfectly pretty lilac. We were over the moon when the first samples came in – so fresh and tactile coupled with some gorgeous new soft-touch materials. You just want to pick them up and stroke them. The interplay of matt and gloss, bright and pastel feels so right – we’re very excited!
How do you think hardcore Happy Jackson fans will respond to the change to pastel and fluoro tones?
Well, if the recent trade shows have been anything to go by, the buyers love it, so we hope that our fans will too. The core of what makes the brand attractive is still there – upbeat captions, bold patterns and a bright, confident look. It’s just that everything has been turned up a couple of notches, which makes it even fresher and more contemporary.
Happy Jackson is also famous for the brilliantly relatable phrases on everything you do – what would you say is your favourite quote from a product?
I think we’d have to go with the ‘Pen Orgy’ Pencil Case. It’s not for everyone but it seems to have forged a life of its own on Instagram which is always a nice thing. We also like ‘Note to Self: Foreign Money is Not Pretend Money’ on our new Travel Purse.
If you had to choose your favourite product from the Wild & Wolf spring/summer 2018 collaboration, what would it be and why?
We love the new Glasses Case with the caption ‘Nerd Glasses for Disguising Otherwise Total Awesomeness!’. It’s in our super-bright, new yellow with that lovely soft touch substrate. It’s very hard to miss – it kind of just screams at you from the shelves.
Going back to the beginning, what’s the story of ‘Happy Jackson’, and where did the name come from?
We worked together many years ago and had been talking about designing a new brand of our own for a while. When we both found ourselves with a bit of time to spare, we sat down to discuss some ideas. We knew we wanted to create something that was upbeat, positive, iconic, colourful and, perhaps most importantly, to have an identity that people would relate to, which is where the editorial captions came in. I guess we wanted to take everyday products and kind of super-charge them with character.
The multi-coloured pug logo set the tone for brand, and we took things from there, really.
As far as the name is concerned, Jackson is the name of Giles’s son – and “happy” probably doesn’t really need explaining in the context of the brand! The two words sounded good together, and so the name stuck.
What’s in the future for Happy Jackson?
We’ve only ever intended to work with a small, elite group of licensees and manufacturers – but we work with them all very closely to make sure that everything we create is completely relevant to the brand. Once this new look has been fully integrated across all categories, we’ll probably concentrate a bit more on overseas opportunities.
Having said that, we are both designers at heart, so nothing gives us more pleasure than sitting down together with a blank screen and trying to come up with new captions and formats that really make us smile. Long may that last!