Dyslexic Design: The Super Human Creatives


Dyslexia is a subject which has been severely overlooked and under-publicised in today’s society. The official definition of dyslexia according to the British Dyslexia Association can be defined as;

“…A specific learning difficulty that mainly affects the development of literacy and language related skills.  It is likely to be present at birth and to be life-long in its effects.  It is characterised by difficulties with phonological processing, rapid naming, working memory, processing speed, and the automatic development of skills that may not match up to an individual’s other cognitive abilities” – British Dyslexia Association (2016).

Although it has been perceived as a difficulty it is not a disability. Those who possess this ability can even be perceived as super humans (a term I’m coined from the para-Olympics) due to their asset to think laterally whilst simultaneously being highly & distinctively creative. Dyslexia comes in all shapes & sizes and is not a cut-and-dry-one-size-fits-all type of ability. Its severity will vary from person to person and is something which should be celebrated due to its abundance of benefits. Legendary Designer Jim Rokos who also has dyslexia aims to champion this asset by curating an exceptional exhibition at Design Junction this year. Opening on 22 September this exhibition will showcase over 10 designers together with talks and book signings during the event.

With designers such as Sebastian Conran, Bethan Laura Wood and Kristjana S Williams (to name but a few) I interviewed Jim to find out a bit more about the subject, the exhibition and how the design industry perceives this super power.

Q: How did the collaboration with Dyslexic Design and Design Junction come about?

A: I asked Design-Junction show director Deborah Spenser if she would give me some space for the exhibition and incredibly, she agreed. I did not know at the time that Deborah was dyslexic, which is why this is such a personal project for her. Incredible things like this have been happening all the way through this project – flamboyant environment designer Ab Rogers is now designing our exhibition interior, he is also dyslexic.

Q: How did you come up with concept for the exhibition around the subject matter?

A: I wanted to find a way to demonstrate how it is advantageous to be dyslexic.

dyslexia-in-design-knot-lamp-by-vitamin-the-happy-flat-blogQ: How did you decide which designers to include & which items to include in the exhibition?

A: I was looking for objects by dyslexic designers whose works demonstrate some of the gifts that often come with dyslexia: lateral thinking, three-dimensional thinking and visual thinking. I am also in love with the pieces on show.

dyslexic-design_bethan-laura-wood_photography-ruth-ward-the-happy-flatQ: What is your aim and/or goal during the London Design Festival?

A: This is a celebration of dyslexia. I would like dyslexics to feel encouraged and proud, and others to discover that dyslexia is a gift.

Q: At what age were you diagnosed with dyslexia and what challenges have you faced since?

A: I think I was 11 or 12. Schools have a long way to go until they implement a way of teaching that grows dyslexia’s gifts. Decades later, I am still undoing the damage to my self-confidence caused by my schooling. In fact, creating this show is helping my self-confidence recover.

dyslexic-design_kristjana-s-williams_photography-ruth-ward-the-happy-flatQ: Dyslexia has many creative benefits. But what challenges have you faced from a business perspective when running your own creative practice?

A: The biggest challenge by far was to find our manufacturer, who is reliable, and will accept our small orders and deliver the exceptional quality we need. Who knows if this relates to dyslexia? The dyslexic mind is universal – it gives a complete worldview. Having always been dyslexic, it is impossible to say which challenges come with dyslexia and which are just life.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?

A: Creativity is my passion.
Q: How does the design industry as a whole view & treat those with dyslexia in your view?

A: The design industry understands that dyslexia comes hand in hand with abilities that are advantageous. Studios in the know, seek a mix of dyslexics and non-dyslexics for a full range of talents.
dyslexic-design_sebastian-bergne_photography-ruth-ward-the-happy-flatQ: What is one thing you’d like others to know about dyslexia?

A: It is a less common brain structure and a normal part of neurodiversity. Its presence is an advantage among groups of people offering a range of attributes in a population. It is not a disability.

dyslexic-design_deborah-spencer-ab-rogers-jim-rokos_photography-ruth-ward-the-happy-flat-blogQ: If you could give one piece of advice for someone who has been assessed as dyslexic as an adult, what would it be?

A: Spend some time learning what dyslexia is. Discover that it is a processing difference and you can find your own unique way of going about things that is different to most. Learn that you have a rare perspective. As you discover your own personal way of doing things, you will enjoy your gift more and more.

Dyslexic Design

All Photography Credits: Ruth Ward


5 Must See Art & Design Events at The London Design Festival


It’s September and if you’re into design then we all know what that means – The London Design Festival officially launches today. I’m extremely excited about the event this year for so many reasons. First, there are quite a few changes and new additions to the schedule. Second I’ve been lucky to watch some of the preparations in action and third the talks & workshops schedule are insanely exceptional. Taking place between 17-25 September across London you’ll need a guide to the best places to visit. Here are my five must-see art & design events and brands during the London Design Festival.

nest-ice-cream-van-london-design-festival-the-happy-flat-blog1. The Nest Ice-cream Van

With a focus on the home, Nest will be offering ice-cream delights during the festival. Besides offering sweet treats they are also celebrating their love for reinventing unloved items. The Nest team have restored & repurposed a vintage Volkswagen split screen camper into a branded ice-cream van. They will be dishing out exciting new flavours which aim to encompass the spirit of ‘home’. The van will be located at various points & sites during the festival so make sure you check out the schedule here.

2. Design Junction

Design Junction probably needs its own blog post altogether. This huge event has seen some changes over the years. However, I’m so excited that they will be moving to the creative hub of King’s Cross this year. Collaborating the University of the Arts London at the Central Saint Martins campus, there will a tonne of things to see and do. With Houzz hosting an installation of 12 unique monopoly-style playhouses to a series of workshops from UAL as well as talks, it’s a design event not to be missed. The show will run from 22-25 September. Sign up here.

dyslexia-in-design-knot-lamp-by-vitamin-the-happy-flat-blog3. Dyslexic Design

This is a topic quite close to me and I’m extremely excited that this subject is being celebrated at such a huge event. Dyslexic Design with support from the British Dyslexia Association will create ‘Dyslexic House’ during Design-Junction. The super-human dyslexic community is such a creative and intelligent group of individuals who do not hold a disability but possess relatively super-human skills in problem-solving & creative design. There will be advisors on-hand as well as a dedicated exhibition curated by Jim Rokos, highlighting the creative talents of more than 10 leading designers. There will also be talks and book signings on Saturday 24 September. I’ll be writing future posts about the benefits of dyslexia in the design industry and more about this incredible exhibition soon. For more information click here.


4. The Smile

I’ve been lucky enough to see this in progress over the last few weeks. Working in Pimlico I’ve seen the Smile structure take shape (you may have seen updates in my Instagram Stories & Snaps). Chelsea College of Arts – University of the Arts London will be participating in the festival this year with the installation ‘The Smile’. Resembling a modern day Noah’s Ark, the smile is just one the most interactive installations I’ve seen from the festival. Want to know more, click here. #thesmile.

Made.com x TFL Collab - The Happy Flat Bog ©️5. MADE.COM x Transport for London Collaboration

This year MADE.com have collaborated with Transport for London to curate a selection of inspiring & colourful collections. From Victoria to Tufnell to Farringdon – there’s a little part of London for everyone. With iconic underground prints, furniture and textiles, the collaboration will be showcased at Design Junction from 22-25 September.

London Design Festival 2016

Image Credits from Top to Bottom: 1,3,4 – Design-Junction/Caro Communications | Image 6: MADE.com



The Camerich Collection: AW16

Camerich Trends AW16

And just like that, the season’s change and that means we can look forward to injecting a new array of colours into our homes and interior schemes. I’ve teamed up in a collaboration with Camerich to showcase the new Autumn-Winter 2016 palette whilst illustrating just how simple it is to incorporate their new collection. continue reading