Over my career i have produced close to 4000 original prints. People often ask me how i come up with new designs. Artistic block has never really been a problem to me in fact i have piles of concepts waiting to be turned into prints. Consequently in this weeks Pattern Occurring 101 i am going to teach you how to develop an original concept to produce a collection of prints and patterns from.
I learnt early in my career that the best designs come from a concept and have a authentic story. Such prints always have greater commercial success. Nonetheless conceptual prints and patterns must be on trend in order to resonate with the customer. Despite good designs being grounded in a concept, it is not always possible to take the time to create them, as some clients require a quicker to market delivery. As a freelance designer you have too be ok with this and be less precious to meet your own desires for the print.
The initial part of forming a concept is research and is always super fun for me. I can go down a rabbit hole of inspiration and emerge rather excited. My personal research takes many forms. Firstly I do a session pulling tears from magazines and blogs, oh and my most favourite Pinterest : ) I make sure i am abreast of popular music, films and books. Another of my go to places for story and inspiration are podcasts, my all time favourite being "Stuff You Missed In History Class" . Lastly I hit the stores and vintage shops to purchase a few key garments.
Once i have collected my bounty of inspiration this is where the "magic happens". I start to group them in folders of similar themes and concepts. I meticulously narrow out the weaker images that are not resonating with me any more. Dots begin to join and patterns starts to occur. I often have to have pos-it notes stuck to many of the prints to help me remember what the specific elements are that i like, is it colour, drawing style, motifs, repeat flow, etc. Then i start to form a concept that pulls all of those elements together, with the addition of my own hand and desire for the print, Ta Da! I have a concept and a vision for a collection. This is now my story, that i can authentically speak to and own. After all who needs another knock off Erdem or Mary Katrantzou print. Such prints in my opinion, always fall short because they lack the authenticity and process the designer has crafted for their collection. I encourage you to find what patterns and stories are occurring in your life and apply the filter of trend to create exciting new prints and patterns.