Design process: in search of a method

After the trauma of Top Drawer, I have thrown myself into design with the online course: Make It In Design Winter School 2018. The first creative brief is to design a ‘bright and bold bloom pattern.’ Key words to help prompt and inspire the design process include:

Bright,  Blooms,  Ditsy,  Retro,  Bold,  Intense,  Overcrowded,  Graphic,  Stylised,  Layered.

Bright, bold and graphic I think I can manage. Distsy, retro and overcrowded? Hmmm. But hey, it’s all about stepping out of your comfort zone (or so they say), so off I went ….

Now it’s recently come to my attention that I’m becoming decidedly more confident in the way I put pen to paper; I’m less precious about drawing and mark-making; I’m going with the flow. As a result, the process has become altogether more fluid.



Translating my drawings into actual patterns through layout and colour though … that, I find quite the challenge. Even when I’ve decided on a colour palette, and have all my motifs ready to go …. well, nothing seems to go together; there’s no cohesion. Sometimes I don’t even know where to start. That’s just what happened here:

Screen Shot 2018-01-24 at 12.51.04


So I thought I’d try another tack: layering. After all, that’s how we apply paint to a canvas, makeup to a face … why not patterns to an Adobe Illustrator file? These inexcusably bad quality screenshots illustrate what happened next (you get the gist):


It’s not a method I’ve used before, but it did make the whole process more manageable and less daunting. The outcome is interesting, and not like anything I’ve designed to date. (Stepping outside comfort zone: tick) I’m yet to figure out if it’s ‘my style’, or the start of a new ‘my style’ (??!), but I think at least it’s ticked the Bright Blooms brief:


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