Spencer Harrison · Rhythm + Repeat

Today we chat to Melbourne based graphic designer and illustrator Spencer Harrison about his latest brilliant side project,  Rhythm and Repeat.  Through this project he has created two repeating patterns every week for the past year, and has now amassed an incredible library of unique patterns which you can buy on merchandise via Society6 and on clothing via Print All Over Me!  Very cool.  We do LOVE a Gen Y creative entrepreneur around here.

Lucy Feagins

Melbourne graphic design Spencer Harrison at work on his ‘Rhythm and Repeat‘ project.  Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

‘Sequence 52 – Brunch‘, one of Spencer’s many original ‘Rhythm and Repeat‘ patterns, available to license or to buy as an iPhone case / tote / mug etc via Society6!

Details and patterns in progress in Spencer’s studio. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

‘Sequence 51 – Palettes‘, another of Spencer Harrison’s  ‘Rhythm and Repeat‘ patterns, available to license or to buy as an iPhone case / tote / mug etc via Society6.

Hard drawn illustrations and pattern ideas in Spencer’s studio. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

‘Sequence 49 – Donuts‘, another of Spencer Harrison’s  ‘Rhythm and Repeat‘ patterns, available to license or to buy as an iPhone case / tote / mug etc via Society6.

Studio details.  Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
6th of October 2014

You might recall many moons ago we introduced a young Melbourne based graphic designer by the namer of Spencer Harrison, who at the time had set up his own design studio with the assistance of the government funded NEIS scheme, and was also working on a sweet personal illustration project called MNML Thing.

Well, Spencer doesn’t appear to sit still for very long! It’s been around 18 months since we last chatted, and in that time, a new self initiatived creative project has thrown Spencer’s career trajectory in a new and exciting direction. Rhythm and Repeat started as another of Spencer’s inspired creative side projects, but just recently, it’s become a full time job!

‘The idea for Rhythm and Repeat started percolating a year or so ago’ explains Spencer. ‘While running the studio I would spend all my time after work drawing, pattern making and dabbling in a variety of creative endeavours. Getting lost in these side-projects for hours on end, I realised how much I loved doing more artistic, illustrative work, so I decided last month to make the leap into doing it full time. Now I have moved into my ultimate dream studio setup, where I spend my days working on patterns, ceramics, screen prints, drawings and all sorts of fun things!’

We asked Spencer a few questions about his affection for all-consuming side projects (!), and what he has in the pipeline –

What motivated you to start Rhythm and Repeat?

Let’s just say… I’m a little bit obsessed with side projects. I often have at least one main side project on the go and then several other bits and pieces I’m experimenting with at any one time.

I don’t know where my obsession with patterns started, but it was mainly from wanting to learn how to make a repeat pattern, and to build a folio in the hopes of one day designing textiles and homewares prints. Like my previous side-project, MNML, I try and stick to a regular scheduled output of work, producing 2 patterns a week and sharing them online.

For all my side projects the key is more on quantity than quality, pushing past the initial generic ideas and trying to reach the gold that comes through producing a large amount of work. My goal for Rhythm and Repeat is to produce 100 patterns that I can use in my own products and hopefully license to any interested companies. The dreeeeeeam client would have to be Marimekko as we all know they are the pattern masters and I just can’t get enough of everything they make!

What are you are currently working on?

Aside from the patterns I’m working on the design of a craft book with Thames and Hudson, a line of scarves with Kish and Evie, a bunch of personal illustrations, some screen prints and line of patterny ceramic planters. I’m also working on a solo exhibition for later in the year which will be an explosion of colour, patterns and fun!

What are you looking forward to? 

I’m looking forward to spending every day this summer drawing, creating, going on adventures with friends and having fun! I’m especially looking forward to summer as my studio is right near Edinburgh gardens so I also predict many afternoon ciders in the sunshine.


‘Sequence 54 – Jungle Fever‘, another of Spencer Harrison’s  ‘Rhythm and Repeat‘ patterns, available to license or to buy as an iPhone case / tote / mug etc via Society6.

Spencer Harrison at work in his Fitzroy studio.  Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

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