Allison Cole is a Rhode-Island-based illustrator and artist with an expansive catalog of thoughtful, witty cards, stickers, and wearable art. Her designs for Badge Bomb highlight her many passions, including cups of hot caffeine, feisty feminism, and depending on how you feel about it, an alarming number of cat themed cards.
When did you first start working with Badge Bomb?
I first started working with Badge Bomb over 6 years ago when we worked together on the Bric-A-Brac collection that started off as a button box, and then some of those designs evolved into magnets and later, enamel pins!
We started working together after I sent Badge Bomb a postcard mailer - they were on my mailing list over the years, and after I sent them a card back in 2013, the timing was finally right to work on a project together.
Since we're a button company, we have to ask: what’s the first button or pin you owned and where did you get it?
I’m totally a child of the 80s - the first pin I remember owning and coveting was a Care Bear enamel pin.
You've designed all kinds of products with us here, from your New York collection to this all-time bestselling Unicorn patch. What’s a Badge Bomb product you've designed that you're particularly proud of?
One of my favorite Badge Bomb products that we have worked on together is the Feminist collection. I love that we were able to transform elements from the original button box in to enamel pins, patches, sticker sheets, die cut stickers, greeting cards and magnets. I’m very happy that we can spread positive and empowering messages that people are proud to wear and that we are able to donate a portion of sales from the button box to different organizations that support women.
The Feminist collection was definitely inspired by the aftermath of the 2016 election and the Women’s March. A version of the “Grab Back” kitty was actually my poster at the R.I. Women’s Solidarity Rally that took place on the same day on the lawn of the state house in Providence, RI, where I live.
You always seem to be illustrating something new: what gets your creative juices flowing?
If I’m feeling stuck creatively, I usually take a look through old sketchbooks. I usually keep two books at a time, one for more finished painted work and another one I carry around everywhere that is more messy, filled with notes and loose sketches. I find that if I’m looking for ideas or a new direction, I’m more likely to find them in my messy book.
When you need some time offline and off work, what do you do?
When I’m not working I’m usually hanging out with my son, going on walks and playing. If I have a few hours to myself I love to paint, and a lot of the time the two things inform each other. The last series of big paintings I worked on were directly inspired by my son and the walks we go on together.
What would your 15-year-old self think about you?
I think my 15-year-old self would probably be pretty psyched that I get to draw as my job, and that I get to have two needy cats as my loyal co-workers!