The Magic Behind Marmalade Lion’s 12 Signature Australian-Themed Prints: Our Creative Director Shares Her Inspiration
You know our signature hand-illustrated designs, but do you know the stories behind each print?
Creating timeless designs with whimsy, in a nod to the beauty that abounds in Australia, our borrowed home, is something that sets Marmalade Lion apart from the rest.
In this blog, our founder, Alicia, talks about her childhood memories, the environment around her and her inspirations in bringing the current collection of Marmalade Lion’s prints to life.
[Spolier alert: New prints are on the way!]
Cockatoo – Rewinding the clock to when we first started the range, we wanted something vibrant and timeless to help introduce our revolutionary baby products to the world. There were a bunch of noisy cockies in my neighbours’ backyard, and I saw them every day; their soft white bodies and yellow crests against the green eucalyptus leaves made a colour combo so pretty. So we created a brief that captured that and brought the outdoors inside, a bird that everyone knows and our #1 OG most-loved print.
Modern Native – This feminine print joined our inaugural design triptych in 2016. Proteas were all the rage then, filling vases in homes, and I found them so pretty. I wanted to see them more in homewares, and we were one of the originals to bring it to our baby products for the home. It continues to sell out and makes a beautiful addition to every home.
Cuddly Faces – Our take on native animals, bringing them to the forefront before anyone was doing this. Living out in Warrandyte and seeing them all the time, we noticed that koalas were not always represented as ‘cute’. We felt everyone was missing a beat with how they were portraying the animals and wanted to bring this personality into a timeless print for babies and kids, too. Featuring a friendly koala, cheeky echidna, and endearing platypus, it’s missing a wombat, but we’ve paid homage to these critters in our nesting dolls.
Amongst The Ferns – I played amongst the ferns as a kid, in an area behind my house, where I’d pretend I was in ‘fairyland’, getting lost in imagination. Also inspired by the native ferns close to our home in the Dandenongs, they might evoke feelings of darker and colder times when they’re thriving, but the print is anything but. I like that about this design; it’s bright, fresh and full of life!
Little Creatures – As our children grew into toddlers, we began to venture into our veggie patch often, and the insects and creepy crawly life in it inspired this design. We tried to capture the essence of outdoor play and gardening and discovering the living world around us, not to mention getting our hands dirty through sensory play! It’s fun to point out your favourite creatures together; which one is yours?
Swedish Check – We were heading to the UK to spread the ML love and wanted something minimalist and without Australiana detail to sit in any nursery anywhere in the world. We didn’t want just to do a plain check like so many other brands, so we opted for a charcoal watercolour check against a creamy background, a perfect neutral option for any home.
Power Of Positivity – A design concept that was a labour of love, with my growing daughters in mind. It started with a trip to Japan for me, where I was inspired by its design aesthetic and my love of Kawaii and pop art, going back to childhood. This sparked a desire to create a universal, timelessly cute design with meaningful messages that girls and kids everywhere will enjoy.
Rosella - An evolution from our much-loved Cockatoo print, I was again inspired by what was outside my window. This time, there was a nest of Rosellas in our backyard, sitting pretty in a red box gum; their late afternoon feeding frenzy a highlight of my day. I wanted to create similar magic that we had with Cockatoo (although not as loud and cantankerous!), again bringing the outdoors in, with subtle hints of red and rose in a gender-neutral print, a first for our brand.
On The Road – Beach holidays and road trips make the best childhood memories! We launched this fun, sunny hand-illustrated print as our beautiful country opened up again after Covid. It evokes the collective experience of Australian travels, visiting wonderful beaches and the great outdoors, where there’s so much to see! And we can’t forget a visit from the friendly hermit crab, a cute addition to this holiday-themed print.
Blue Mountains [re-launching soon] – Inspired by the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney, we wanted to create a design that leant more towards a blue colour palette for those who wanted a more masculine palette for their child; but also applicable for all kids! We loved giving the mountains personalities and have had so much fun with this. We’ve brought it back several times over the years, and we’re happy to say our mountain friends are about to join us again!
Speckled Egg [launching soon] – Our soon-to-launch new print for our luxuriously soft bassinet and cot sheets is a mixture of several elements. We see many things in this design; something complimentary that looks beautiful on a soft jersey and matches most of our prints. Speckled baby eggs, while super cute, represent new life and make us feel cosy, perfect for sweet dreams. Some might also see a night sky, like me, which reminds me of the Australian outback. I love that about this print!
Down The Yarra [launching soon] – This hand-illustrated design is a nod to the Yarra River that runs right through Melbourne, our home, and the Brown Snake. It gets such a bad rap, but it’s a native animal that really is everywhere(!). And did you know, if the sun catches their skin, they shine? This humble and misunderstood snake is an important part of our landscape, and we honour that. This print is another neutral in our collection, but very much with Australian imagery and experience behind it.
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