Ruby graduated from BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design & Surface Pattern at Arts University Plymouth in 2019
Arts University Plymouth graduate Ruby Francis has established herself as a talented Interior Design Co-Worker at Scandinavian furniture and homewares company IKEA.
25-year-old Ruby graduated from BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design and Surface Pattern (since renamed as BA (Hons) Textile Design) in 2019, and on graduating landed herself a role at the renowned home furnishing company.
Originally from Oxfordshire and now residing in Hammersmith, London, Ruby said of her role’s responsibilities, “My job involves inspiring and surprising visitors by presenting and communicating IKEA’s home furnishing range through in-store room settings. I develop vignettes with strong visual impressions to strengthen the IKEA brand and convert visitors to customers. Interior designs research, plan and implement room settings from initial concept through to final design.”
“I’ve gained several crucial skills and experiences through the role such as project management, time management, budgeting and briefing clients. I had the opportunity to participate in the set design of two national IKEA TV advertisements as well as two food styling national social media campaigns.”
Ruby’s journey into the interior design industry started with her decision to study at Arts University Plymouth, where she was captivated by the exceptional print studio facilities. The university’s vibrant environment, coupled with its proximity to the sea, made it a perfect fit for Ruby’s creative pursuits.
Ruby said, “Studying at Arts University Plymouth was such a great experience, especially with the fantastic studio facilities. It also provided me with several opportunities to participate in live projects, design and presenting to real world clients was such great practice for us as students. I secured one of my proudest achievements while studying there, which was the internship with Zandra Rhodes during my second year, which taught me so much about the creative industry.”
Describing herself as a multi-disciplinary artist, Ruby often draws on her strengths and experiences to create unique and compelling designs. She frequently utilises her knowledge of printed textiles within the realm of home furnishings.
Ruby said, “I often find myself using the knowledge and experiences I learned during my degree within home furnishings. I adore anything printed or patterned. I find myself naturally being drawn to fabrics and wallpapers. In my spare time, I enjoy hand drawing and printmaking with found objects, as well as photography in and around London.”
Looking ahead, Ruby is excited about the upcoming opportunities at IKEA. She recently completed two inspiring projects, including a shop window design project and the implementation of an LGBTQ+ room set for Pride Month, which garnered positive responses from customers and co-workers alike. Ruby is eagerly anticipating the seasonal launches within the roomsets and several exciting collaborations with external companies and charities.
Emma Gribble, Senior Lecturer and Course Leader for BA (Hons) Textile Design said,
“It’s brilliant to see Ruby utilising the knowledge and skills she gained at Arts University Plymouth to develop a successful career at IKEA. Throughout her time with us Ruby’s love of colour and passion for design were always visible, we are proud to see her using her diverse skill set with a company renowned for its commitment to aesthetic excellence and functionality. We are really proud of Ruby and of our dedication to showing our textiles students the variety of career prospects available to them both while pursuing their degree and after graduation.”
When asked about advice for aspiring students looking to enter the interiors industry, Ruby emphasised, “Don’t doubt your abilities. Even without an interior design degree, you can thrive in this industry. By designing prints for home furnishings during my third-year project, I built a strong portfolio that caught IKEA’s attention. My advice is to develop proficiency in industry-standard software, think outside the box, push the boundaries of design, and most importantly, never compare your journey to others.”
Incorporating cultural and social contexts of textile practice is fundamental to the BA (Hons) Textile Design course at Arts University Plymouth, with first-hand opportunities as real-world experience working with prestigious designers and makers, study trips overseas and sponsored industrial projects with brands and studios.