Featured Designer: Happy Cactus Designs


The Happy Cactus spring collection is full of nature-inspired designs, hand drawn and painted in vibrant colours. Designer Brannon Addison creates pretty patterns with sweet greetings. Inspired by her travels and outdoor explorations in her new hometown of Durango, Colorado, Brannon sketches from memory and photos. I had the pleasure of asking Brannon a few questions about her design process.


Q: Please tell me how your travels and the outdoors have inspired your latest designs. 

This latest collection was heavily inspired by three distinct trips I had the good fortune of taking over the past year. First, we drove out to the Texas Hill Country (near my old home of Austin, Texas) during peak wildflower season, where bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes were in full bloom. It’s just overwhelmingly beautiful. I was just dying to capture the beauty in my work, especially since I knew I would be leaving Texas for Colorado. I was also able to take an amazing trip to the island of Kauai – you see some of the tropical foliage and island colors coming into my work. And then some time spent hiking across Colorado last summer – again, more flowers!

Q: What does your design process look like?

In my early days I used to work in spurts where I’d hunker down for a few days straight and only focus on creative work. So much of running my business now means not being able to spend as much time of the creative side – I have so much else to focus on that it gets trickier to just have time to draw. These days I try to spend at least an hour every day on something creative – whether it’s just doodling in a sketchbook or finishing a painting. I’ve realized it’s important to schedule that time into my day and make it a regular practice. Once I build up a collection of doodles and sketches I then piece together how to place them into a cohesive collection.


Q: What drew you to experimenting with gouache?

In the past, I really just stuck with pen – drawing in a sketchbooks, scanning those drawings, and then laying out and coloring them using Illustrator and Photoshop. As I began envisioning this latest collection, I realized that a lot of the look that I was going for would really look best in a more painterly style with the ability to play around with tone and layers in a way that can’t be achieved using my other methods. So I began experimenting with gouache and really loved the end result. It’s definitely something I will continue doing and I like the balance of working in both mediums.

Q: What does your creative space look like?

I work out of a room in my home here in Durango that is dedicated to Happy Cactus. I lucked out in that it has large windows making it the most light-filled room in the house. I have a few desks (that are usually quite messy) and house a lot of inventory in my studio office as well. It’s a constant struggle to keep the space tidy!


Q: Please complete this sentence: Snail mail is….

Snail mail is one of the most meaningful ways to stay connected with loved ones as it provides a tangible reminder of your connection.

So, get our your stationery and send a loved one some mail!

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