Royal Armouries

AH + Royal Armouries – The Tournament Collection

Introducing a striking new bold and colourful collection designed by Alison in collaboration with the Royal Armouries museum in Leeds.

A brand new range of cards inspired by the display and heraldry of the medieval tournament, supported by the design and patterns of objects found in the Tournament Gallery and around the museum.

The cards feature rich, primary and regal colours and strong statements of defiance and solidarity very much suited to the current times.


I was approached by the museum at the end of 2019 to design a range aimed at developing the museum’s retail collection to incorporate something inspired by the collection but with a contemporary edge. Very keen to steer clear of the greys and muted tones of armour the museum were keen for me to ‘have some fun with it.’ So, relishing a design challenge that’s exactly what I tried to do. Lockdown intervened and the museum closed on 18th March 2020 but between myself and the museum licensing staff we’ve worked incredibly hard to keep the project going and give the museum exhibits a new contemporary lease of life through cards! The resultant range seems even more relevant and poignant than ever in messages of solidarity and steadfastness.

The range takes inspiration from the striking and strong repeat patterns evident in the armour, patterns and general armour embellishment alongside strong motifs of battles tents, heraldic shields and regal colours and imagery within the tournament gallery.

Specific objects were selected for their graphic potential as well as the ability to form text about, around or within the image. The collection is a graphic interpretation of certain areas and exhibits of the Royal Armouries coupled with rich bright and bold primary key colours. Hopefully they conjure up a modern day interpretation of the riot of fun and colour at the Field of Cloth of Gold in June 1520!


As with all my external projects I focused first and foremost on immersing myself in the Royal Armouries content, exhibits and reference material. Two days spent photographing, researching and writing within the museum provided me with an enormous amount of material to select and edit. Concentrating on the stand-out exhibits, imagery and shapes and patterns I drew up various options as well as brainstorming text options to go with these. Even though the Tudor Power & Glory exhibition which the card launch was to coincide with is yet to happen due to Coronavirus, the cards will still be available from the museum shop and across our wholesale and retail platforms.

Written by Alison on 16 September 2020