Zum Hauptinhalt springen


In this month’s edition of YKRA Faces, we sat down with textile pattern designer Viola Balázs, who shared with us the backstories of all the beautiful patterns she’s created for us. Viola is the co-founder of Vyf, a silk scarf brand, designs for other fashion labels like TOMCSÁNYI, and when she’s not busy creating patterns, she teaches at Budapest’s MOME university. She gave us a sneak peek into her life, creative process, as well as inside her bag. Take a look!

Hi Viola, please introduce yourself.

I’m Viola Balázs, and I’ve been featured on YKRA’s platforms a few times already. I’ve worked as a pattern designer for about 10 years now, and I also teach at MOME (Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design), which I’m very enthusiastic about because it allows me to be involved in all kinds of exciting projects. I have a silk scarf brand that we run with one of my friends, Tomi Szécsi, and we’ll be celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year. I often design patterns with the founder of Tomcsányi for their brand, and I also love working on other commissions.



Can you tell us more about these YKRA patterns in the photo? If we look at them in chronological order, the OP/420 from 2019 is the first pattern you designed for us.

Yes, I think this was the first commission I’ve ever created as an independent designer, and I was very nervous about it. Well, I always am, but this project was a milestone for me because it showed me that perhaps I’m cut out for getting by in life as an independent designer instead of working for a company.

The story of this pattern is that the theme was given; to feature the various types of boats for beginner sailors. This became the OP/420. We envisioned a very dynamic pattern that is precise with clean lines and that would recall the atmosphere of those early sailing competitions — the speed, the sunshine on the water — and we created a rhythm with YKRA’s base colors.


And then came the JETSET in 2020, right?

Yes, Jetset’s theme was inspired by a nostalgic take on traveling around the world to exotic locations, and this collection coincided with the time when global travel came to a halt. We were influenced by vintage travel posters and picked characteristic, popular travel destinations like New York, Cairo, Hawaii, and Venice for the collection. These locations intermingle on the pattern, and a common trait is that each scene includes the sun and an airplane. I used three colors, and we created a design with a paper cutout effect where even the negative spaces form recognizable patterns like small camels, surfers from Hawaii, a shark fin, and so on.



Next was the KENU collection.

Yes, this is one of my favorite patterns, not just from YKRA’s repertoire but also among my designs. I had a lot of freedom here; my brief was to use Italian Futurist painting as inspiration. I started wondering about how to create a graphic that presents movement and power in a continuous pattern and realized that kayaks and canoes were perfect choices, so I wanted to delve deeper into this. Or not so much as delve deeper, but rather I realized how power and dynamics are inherent parts of this sport. What stood out for me was the continuous and repetitive movement that could be adapted for a continuous pattern.

I created a lot of versions. We wanted some sort of a hand-drawn style, so we spent a lot of time perfecting that, and what’s technically interesting is that we created this in multiple colors, and each color has two versions; one printed with one color and another printed with two, and both versions are actually interpretable. One is more colorful while the other is more sophisticated.



What about the TRIPPY FISH pattern?

The Trippy Fish pattern is set in a psychedelic underwater world where we see koi fish among plants that aren’t aquatic in reality. One main source of inspiration was the visual world of the 70s — we looked at sunbeds and printed textiles from the time and created the Trippy Fish pattern in two colorways. One is warm, while the other is colder and has more contrast. I created these patterns with a different technique than I usually do.



What can you tell us about the SERPENTINE?

I think this is our simplest and bravest pattern yet. The inspiration behind it was the book covers of the 70s, and the result recalls the vibe of VHS tapes. I found it fascinating to create such a simple yet precise, and when it comes to repetitions, self-revolving system and finding the right scale — as the scale was quite large — which still works well on every product and lets the curves come into play.



Lastly, tell us about a day in your life.

It’s hard to generalize because every day is a little different, but I think there’s a pattern. I get up at around 7 am — sometimes a lot earlier, sometimes a bit later. I drink a glass of water and a cup of coffee, and get ready. Then, I sometimes pop down to the store or go straight to the university to teach if I have classes that day. It also varies how long I stay there, but I like being at the university even before or after my classes and sometimes work from there.

In the afternoon, I get home and carry on with my work. I like to do some sort of exercise as well, or if I don’t have time to go out, I’ll take half an hour at home to do a workout session. Depending on whether I have an ongoing project to work on or not, sometimes I work until 2 am for several days, while other times, I take it easy and we watch a movie in the evening, listen to a podcast, or do some cooking, just the usual things, really.



How do you normally get started on a project, what’s your creative process?

I like talking about what we want long before getting started and I like mulling the thought over in my head for about two weeks without actually starting work on a given project. I do some research or reading on the topic or watch videos if the theme requires. For instance, when I worked on the “OP/420” and the “Kenu” patterns, I watched a lot of videos online about how to do canoeing properly and watched sailing competitions.

So, I like to do my research, and then comes a moment, usually when I feel the pressure of time, when I sit down and start sketching. I gather the inspirations I found and get started, usually with different tools. If the visual world isn’t specified and I have freedom, I start experimenting with different tools and then I sketch a lot digitally. This way, I can create multiple versions and send them to the partner, customer, or whoever I’m working with, they send some feedback, and this is how the project evolves and unfolds.


Can we talk about what you’re working on currently?

There are some things in the plans, but what’s certain is that we’re planning some collaborations with Vyf. The brand is turning 10 this year, so we’re creating a special collection, which we’ll debut in autumn, but everything is still under wraps for now.




I think the inspiration for this pattern was also book covers, or at least Balázs sent me some photos of book covers from the 60s-70s he liked, and we took it from there. It brings VHS tapes to my mind. However simple it is, I absolutely loved working on this pattern and creating such a great rhythm that works on every product. This is more of a technical issue, but I love finding solutions.

Sketchbook - It’s a notebook or sketchbook rather. I rarely draw and collect my ideas in a notebook; I’m not that organized. I normally just draw on pieces of paper, but I always carry a notebook. There’s a lot of info in there about different aspects of my life, not just drawings.

Brush pen - I love working with brush pens. The color doesn’t even matter because I often recolor my work digitally, but I love planning with it.

Water bottle - I always have this on me, if not in my bag, then in my hands.

Candy - I like to carry candy—either mints, throat lozenges, or apple- or fruit-flavored candy.

Trinkets - Usually something from a friend. Now, it’s a bracelet from my friend, Dorka. I haven’t seen her for ages, so I was happy to stumble upon this, and now I wear it.

Tiny massager - I don’t know its specific name, but I like to massage my hands with this tool because they can be painful from drawing.

External drive - I carry this often on me because it’s what I keep my work on. I like to digitalize things and rarely keep physical sketches, so it’s difficult for me to present references or my creative process as I get rid of physical things. There was a time in the past when I got fed up with storing papers and half-finished works, so I stopped a few years ago and stuck to it.

Book - I normally read many books at the same time, not because I have a brilliant mind, but because I’m always on the move so I have one on me and another at home. This is what I’m reading now; it’s the biography of the person who created the first snake antivenom. My dad won this book in high school because he came first at an obstacle course. This is why I started reading it, but as it happens, it’s really exciting.

Vyf scarf - This is our smallest product. It’s actually a pocket square, but I sometimes wear it in my hair. It was a present for my boyfriend, but he rarely wears a suit.

MINI WALLET - This is the YKRA product I use the most because I keep changing my bags. I keep this in my side pouch; it’s what I keep my cards in.

Mini chestnut - I’m not superstitious, but apparently, it brings you luck. The rule is that the first one must be given to you, but after that, you can collect them yourself as well. I got mine from a friend, and we give each other one every year. Just a bit of fun.


photos by Botond Wertán

Ihr Warenkorb

Ihr Warenkorb ist derzeit leer.
'>Klicken Sie hier, um den Einkauf fortzusetzen .
Danke, dass sie uns kontaktiert haben! Wir werden uns so schnell wie möglich bei Ihnen melden. Danke fürs Abonnieren Danke! Wir werden Sie benachrichtigen, sobald es verfügbar ist! Die maximale Anzahl von Artikeln wurde bereits hinzugefügt Es muss nur noch ein Artikel in den Warenkorb gelegt werden Es sind nur noch [num_items] Artikel übrig, die dem Warenkorb hinzugefügt werden können