RaFa-kids is the brainchild of two architects Agata and Arek. In addition to making stunning children’s beds the duo creates the most gorgeous wool blankets! The designs are subtle and sweet and lend a sophisticated and calming element to the blankets. One of these cozy throws would certainly spruce up any room – adult or child’s!
Natalia Alaverdian has been playing with print for A.W.A.K.E. since 2013. It’s always playful and a little unconventional. (I love the print from her Spring 2014 line shown here.) This season her “angry squirrell” had a Pokéman vibe, but I would say cutesie animé if you want to be less specific. I love the faded pastels mixed into these prints.
When you’re starting out as a print designer, it’s a great idea to make a list of your dream clients and study the print styles that they’ve bought in the past. Once you’ve gotten a good feel for what they’re all about, you’ll also have a better idea of how your own style can evolve to fit the market sector you’d like to reach.
And then that fateful day comes when you get your first job as a print designer, land a great freelance gig with a company you’re excited about, or get invited to contribute to the collection of a print studio you admire. You’re nervous and excited and you can’t wait to get started. Then you receive your first brief (also called a concept, mood, or inspiration board) in an email. First off, what is a brief or “board?” Generally it is a collection of images with notes about those images– what the client likes about them and what kinds of elements he/she wants to you to use in your design. Sometimes a client sends a PDF, other times images are attached into an email, and more and more often, these can be Pinterest boards as well. You may also be invited to a meeting where there are in real life boards with images and samples attached to the board. A client can then explain his/her vision in person. Even with email/online boards it usually helps to talk to the client as you’ll gain a better understanding of his/her vision.
Now that you’ve gotten a grasp about your client’s vision, you’re ready for design. In addition to their vision, the client also wants to see your hand, expertise and vision in the print, or they wouldn’t have chosen you as the designer. How do you balance the two?
Most designers will do some of their own research and or brainstorming to come up with an idea about how to take the look into a unique direction. Others rely on their own process for innovation to happen. In our Jungle Print Tutorial, we used the images above as our inspiration and let the creative process dictate direction of the print from there. The resulting pattern is shown below.
We stuck to the concept of photo-based leaves and used some overlay effects to achieve a familiar but unique look.
What has your process been like in working with briefs from clients? Do you have some specific challenges that come your way each time or does it vary each time? Let us know by commenting here!
I have a confession to make. I love plants. From oversized vines to spiny succulents, the more chlorophyll in my life the better. However, when your house starts to feel like a jungle, it’s time to channel this obsession into another form and what better way to do it than via clothes. We’ve mentioned the Australian label, Rouda, before, but had to comment again as the AW15 collection titled, Fiesta, features a few quirky cacti prints that are swoon-worthy. You may have noticed the print below in our Pattern Mix book, but to see it on clothing makes it that much better. Designed by Pattern People contributor, Megan McNeill, Rouda mixes simple styles with clever prints. If I have my way, these hand painted creations will be added to my closet shortly. Which is your favorite?
One of our long time collaborators Andee Hess of Osmose, has orchestrated the transformation of a bank branch in Miami into a tea shop. Small Tea focuses on the many varieties of tea – with a 9 page menu of delicious options. The 4,000-square-foot interior exudes a peaceful vibe, covered with oak paneling, polished concrete flooring, and cozy seating. Hess threw herself into the project, building a canopy from 1,250 boxes wrapped in woven abaca, a natural fiber typical of the baskets used to harvest tea leaves. (ps-check out some of the work we’ve done with her here.)
Balmain spin-off Faith Connexion started showing a few seasons ago and has already gained a following. In their manifesto they say, “Just like the only obligation of an artist is to be free, Fashion needs to be free. Freed from Fall/Winter, Spring/Summer seasons, freed from multimillion-dollar shows, freed from flagship stores, and freed from star designers.” Style.com says that without the benefit of runway shows and all the rest, the brand has been quick to pick up retailers: Maxfield, Saks Fifth Avenue, Net-a-Porter, and Luisa Via Roma, for starters, and more coming soon. Shown here, the brand used graffiti to do one of a kind tags on jackets, tees, and tiny dresses. They seem to be setting the stage for art/fashion collaborations and making a bigger statement about the industry. Go them!
We all love to be engaged in our creative process. Here in our studio our favorite days are spent staring at flowers and carefully painting up some watercolors. But how do you make your designs sellable and appealing to print buyers, retail customers, your online audience, etc? Of course your personal touch and vision are the most important ingredient but it also helps to understand trends and directions that are happening in the marketplace constantly. This can be tricky if you’re not directly interacting with clients on a regular basis or if you don’t live in a big hub city like New York, London etc.
Time is also a big help in developing your understanding of marketplace needs. That is, you need to observe for a few seasons or years to develop a real sense of how to be current. When we first started out, our prints were too forward but as time went on, we learned how to be right in the moment. In other words, consumers are looking for something new and fresh, something that stands out to them. But, they also gravitate towards what is comfortable and familiar. We, as designers, must ride that fine line.
We’re thinking a lot about trends right now as we just wrapped up our Autumn/Winter 2016 Print and Color guide. So if you’re struggling with getting just that right feel with your prints, our overview will be a big help. When doing your own research, it’s important to know your target audience. Are you going for high end women’s wear, paper goods, or interiors? Having a niche helps as then you can hone in and research that market in an in-depth way. Our career guide Pattern Design & Beyond provides a more in-depth look at all the markets you can potentially target.
While you scour the internet, magazines, trade shows, art shows, etc. for images, at first glance many directions will look exciting and new. After a few seasons or years of this, you will start to spot the fresh and emerging directions. They will catch your eye and make you stop, think, and get your imagination going. If you begin to see more of what got you excited, that’s a trend! Even if you don’t, you could start one by designing in a direction that stirred your creativity.
To get a perspective from the sales side of things, we spoke to print rep. D. Matt Smith.
You’ll be showing the work of several print studios at Indigo Premiere Vision this week and you’re constantly meeting with print buying clients. What types of prints are clients asking for right now?
We are seeing a lot more hand drawn and painted designs coming through. Botanicals have been strong, textured stripes and plaids have continued to be super strong, and the mainstay ethnics are almost heritage for lots of brands now.
I think it has to do with the hand of a designer or studio. If it has a unique sensibility that is accessible to multiple clients, they tend to be the most successful. Also, if the design is a great concept and is ready as is with color etc, these typically are our strongest sellers.
Thanks Matt! What he is referring to, in terms of “ready as is in terms of color etc…” is that the print uses key colors so the client doesn’t have to think about how the pattern might work in a different color-way, and any other changes are minimal so the design is basically ready to fit into the client’s collection. In other words, it’s a print that has been developed thoroughly, with research done in terms of color and trend readiness.
– Claudia Brown
We’re always excited to see what Finnish designer, Kustaa Saksi, is up to. His latest collaboration with Ferragamo for the launch of its updated buckle collection features exotic creatures which move through hypnotic environments of playful color. Celebrating the connection between art and fashion, Saksi uses his graphic storytelling to bring the collection to life in vivid moving images and impactful layouts. Watch the full video below and be mesmerized.