SUPER HERO?

I cannot tell you have frustrated I had become at not being able to create a HERO design up to my usual high standards; nearly all previous attempts had failed in one area or another. However, after two 1-2-1 tutorials with Matt Leighfield (A Programme/Digital Genius), I finally got to grips with the technicalities that would allow me to amalgamate my ideas, concept and designs into the beginnings of a collection.

I had been having a difficult time fathoming out how to cut out elements such as motifs and juxtapose them into a new document but can now undertake the task with ease!!

The process is really simple now that I know how:

Select the LASSO Tool > ‘Draw’ round the specific element required (making sure that the marching ants are on the move) > Drag chosen image (once opened in Photoshop) tab down a few cms > Select MOVE TOOL > Select the area within the marching ants and hold down mouse and drag into/onto the prepared document > To remove the unwanted background surrounding the chosen motif I utilised the MAGIC ERASER TOOL.

My HERO design was extremely complex to create, not only did I colour all the individual motifs by hand but I also scanned them all at 720dpi, ‘cleaned’ them all digitally which could take up to an hour or two each, and then had to measure each to create enough room and aesthetic to look mathematically accurate.

These are some of the elements I combined to create my HERO:

After 5 hours on Photoshop, I was able to create this!!! I am so incredibly proud of my design.

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The background colour is #a0bfbd and the Cyanotype motifs were changed to a Hue of -25 and -70, which changed the colour from a dark blue to a rich teal and green. I may toy around the idea of putting an embossment or shadow/glow around the motifs but will ultimately decide if it adds or detracts from the design.

I wanted my HERO design to describe the story of MY CHILDHOOD GARDEN; to describe the wonderful lines, shapes, patterns, and colours of the most abundant flowers I could remember as a child.

Again, I made sure to include:

Top 3 Colours chosen to describe FEMININITY = YELLOW, PINK & PURPLE

Top 3 Colours to describe MASCULINITY = BLUE, BLACK & GREEN

I also made sure that I kept the design SIMPLISTIC and using RICH, yet SUBDUED Colours. One of the key focuses of the Busy Bloom trend was evidence of lush blooming floral corollas, which I believe I have nailed. I believe that I have poured my visual identity all over this design, whilst staying true to the core values of the brief.

BRIEF RECAP & CUSTOMER PROFILE

It’s so easy to verge off from the initial brief, especially when the creative juices flow. However, throughout this brief, I have made sure to stop and take stock of what has been produced and make sure that the brief has been adhered to; for me, this has been an invaluable method to grow as a creative, designer, and a professional. Throughout the brief, I have always understood my client (John Lewis) and customer request, which got me thinking of one of the first sessions I had as a group with Sian and Helen.

We threw ‘buzz words’ around to delve into the world of the customer, and tried to create a profile:

CLIENT: JOHN LEWIS – ‘Create a coordinating collection of 6 patterns to be digitally printed for the female 25-40 age range for Spring/Summer ‘19

CHOSEN TREND: BUSY BLOOMS 

KEY FOCUS: FULL-BLOOM, COLOUR, FORM, TEXTURE, BOLD ALL-OVER DESIGN, MIXED TEXTURES, LUSH LARGE COROLLAS

DEMOGRAPHIC: 25-40 YEAR-OLD FEMALE

BUZZ WORDS (For My Collection): QUALITY, SOPHISTICATED, REFINED LIFESTYLE,  DESIGN-FOCUSED, COMMERCIALLY AWARE, PROFESSIONAL, HOUSE PROUD, CONTEMPORARY, CLASSIC, RICH YET SUBDUED, FRESH, CHIC

By revisiting the ideas and concepts at the early stages of the design process I am now able to create a few customer profiles:

CUSTOMER 1

GENDER: Female

AGE: 26

OCCUPATION: Retail Manager

DRIVES: No Car/ Employment within walking distance

LEVEL OF EDUCATION: College

RELATIONSHIP STATUS: Single

LIVES: Trendy Loft apartment within the city centre. A bustling area within the city. Great High Street. Plenty of Department Stores.

HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION: No children. One Cat.

HOBBIES/INTERESTS: Drawing. Design Focused Magazine Subscription. Travel. Animals.

SHOPPING PREFERENCE: Oliver Bonas. Gap. Mango. Tesco

BUDGET: £50-£100

INDIVIDUAL STYLE: Trendy, Well groomed, Fashion Forward

 

CUSTOMER 2

GENDER: Female

AGE: 33

OCCUPATION: ASSOCIATE EDITOR

DRIVES: Mini Cooper S

LEVEL OF EDUCATION: Undergraduate/Degree

RELATIONSHIP STATUS: Engaged

LIVES: City suburb. A mix of independent and outlet village shops.

HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION: Fiance. No children. 2 Dogs.

HOBBIES/INTERESTS: Fashion. Travel. History. Design. Food

SHOPPING PREFERENCE: Vivienne Westwood. Zara. John Lewis. Sainsbury’s

BUDGET: £150-£300

INDIVIDUAL STYLE: Sophisticated. Fashion-Forward. Classic. Fresh.

 

CUSTOMER 3

GENDER: Female

AGE: 40

OCCUPATION: HEADMISTRESS

DRIVES: Audi A5

LEVEL OF EDUCATION: Postgraduate/Degree

RELATIONSHIP STATUS: Married

LIVES: Country. An affluent area outside the city but close enough to commute. Plenty of Arts and Craft and independent stores. Beautifully landscaped gardens.

HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION: Husband. Two children. 2 Dogs. 1 Cat

HOBBIES/INTERESTS: Travel. Reading. Food & Wine. Socialising at Dinner Parties.

SHOPPING PREFERENCE: Monsoon. Harvey Nichols. Dolce & Gabanna. Waitrose

BUDGET: £350-£500

INDIVIDUAL STYLE: Professional, Simple, Classic, Timeless

Looking back to look forward is my life mantra; it helps me amalgamate ideas, concepts and thoughts into one cohesive principle. The 3 customer profiles above have given me an even greater understanding of who my customer base would be, which will allow me to fine-tune my designs and collection even further. Not only that, I am able to use this market research to build a range of future collections for specific budgets etc.

 

 

 

 

IS DIGITAL​ TECHNOLOGY MY KRYPTONITE?

Although I have really tried my best to learn the core structure of Photoshop, I have hit a brick wall. The anxiety at not having created any Collection Moodboards is creating a type of fog that I am finding nigh on impossible to break through. Seeing all of my classmates produce board after board of progressive collections has almost made me retreat inside myself; feelings of failure and inadequacy are now commonplace throughout my day. Is Digital Technology my Kryptonite?

I have decided to go back to some of the SKILLSHARE tutorials and try to learn from the ground up again. The first tutorial I am undertaking is ‘DIGITIZE YOUR WATERCOLOURS: Getting Started With Photoshop’ by Anne Butera.

Anne recommends the DPI to be set to 720, not 300. By scanning at a higher resolution the image can be scaled up without losing any of its integrity.

I also discovered the benefit of using the MARQUEE TOOL to crop the chosen scanned image. Previously I have had issues removing more than one type of background when manipulating the image in Photoshop but can now see the advantage of cropping down the design.

The LASSO Tool is also an invaluable tool in a Designers’ arsenal; its a great way to ‘cut out’ individual areas of a design/image.

The MAGIC WAND Tool is also a fantastic way to remove unwanted areas and keep specific elements of design. The ERASER TOOL can then be employed to remove all the small little discrepancies that the MAGIC WAND Tool had failed to remove. A fantastic way to make sure that there are no discrepancies left is to create a NEW FILL LAYER with SOLID COLOUR, ideally choosing Black. This new layer needs to go behind the design/motif to expose any marks etc that have been left. I then used the ERASER TOOL in Black to remove these elements. The NEW FILL LAYER can then be deleted!!!

Firstly I worked my way through Anne’s ‘How to Create A Repeat Pattern’, which simplified the process of creating a ‘perfect’ repeat tile. This tile could then be duplicated to create a perfect repeat. Yes, my repeat is rather simple, but I now understand the core ingredients of this wondrous technique.

 

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I then followed Annes’s instructions to scan other designs/motifs through the scanner @ 720dpi, used the MOVE TOOL to arrange in my desired location, and the FREE TRANSFORM TOOL to alter and set the scale.

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This was the result of incorporating some of my favourite elements from different designs and amalgamating them together. I am so proud of this design!!! I absolutely love the contrast of the B+W against the subtle yellow, orange, gold and green. Does it need a colour in the background? I did try to add a colour background, but unfortunately, there are gaps in the lines of the larger rose, meaning the background fill leaks into the rose. Going forward, I will endeavour to use the pen/brush tool to link up these open lines.

Thanks to the additional tutorial by Anne I was able to spend the day both learning and practising on Photoshop simultaneously. I won’t lie, the time it takes to properly edit and manipulate the images to my standard took hours!!! However, through trial and error, I was able to edit all my designs/motifs and create one document layered with each individual element.

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This was my first attempt at a preliminary idea for my HERY Design, albeit not quite finished, and I will admit I am rather proud of it. I will add many other motifs and design elements to this idea but first wanted to see if I actually could create a digital design.

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Next, I applied a little colour, which I think has brought the design to life!! This design has been completed on an A3 Print Document in Photoshop and will allow a perfect repeat as a tile. The results of my Market Research Survey have played a massive role in my design process, staying true to what my demographic wanted. The colours are specific to what my client base wants and the DESIGN and COLOUR have been purposefully chosen to create a SIMPLISTIC and GENDER NEUTRAL design.

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A half-drop pattern was added to the design, and I absolutely love it. I also have made a note of the colour of the background, specifically the numerical value. Making a note of the colour is extremely important, not only will it allow me to remember the specific colour, but will also allow me to create a colour bank for future projects. Watch this space to find out how the design progresses………

 

TIMOROUS BEASTIES INFLUENCE

If I were to choose my current favourite design company it would have to be TIMOROUS BEASTIES. How did I find out about this company? It was actually my Damask bedspread that led me to TB. I have always been fascinated by the symmetrical and repeat patterns of Damask wallpaper/fabric, so a quick search on the internet for Damask and Textile Design came up with the goldmine that is this innovative and forward-thinking design company.

Why do I love this company so much? Here are a few reasons why……

(Clockwise) Beasties, T. (2017) Damsel Damask, Omni Splat, Butterfly Blurr & Grand Blotch Damask. Available at: http://www.timorousbeasties.com/shop/wallcoverings/ (Accessed: 14 May 2018)

The contemporary use of design and colour is spectacular!!! Whilst undertaking this current project at Uni, I have begun to comprehend the subtle complexities of creating a repeat pattern for the Interiors market; something I am 100% sure I would want my own designs to be available for.

‘Our Product is highly crafted and designed. It’s always quality first’ Timorous Beasties

The sheer attention to detail resonates so strongly with my own core values as a designer. I think that having OCD has actually been both a help and hindrance within my creative practice; a help in being meticulous about what I include as part of my creative output, and hindrance due to my procrastinating and always trying to make sure everything is perfect.

The designs of Timorous Beasties have allowed me to accept that I am not perfect and that these imperfections can be utilised as a strength within my designs.

Having struggled with the repeat element and to incorporate all of my ideas I decided to undertake a back-to-to basics approach in creating ideas within my sketchbook, which will ultimately be transferred to Photoshop and manipulated digitally.

I am really proud of my ideas and will spend the next couple of days really honing the concept.

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A natural progression from a more traditional style of a hand-drawn collage bouquet to that of a reflected contemporary design, influenced by Timorous Beasties.

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Utilising my strengths, specifically observational studies fused with collage, painting and drawing, I began to expand my idea of using specific elements to amalgamate into a cohesive and fully rounded design. Yes, there are still areas I need to work into and complete, but I now have a strong concept of what my final collection will look like.

WATCH THIS SPACE…….

COULD YOU REPEAT THAT PLEASE?

I thought that before I tackle my 50ft wall (a.k.a Photoshop) I would try to create some repeat ideas for a Hero and Secondary design using the old school paper, cut, reposition and rejoin technique.

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This was the natural progression of this repeat pattern design; firstly using my hand to eye coordination to arrange an aesthetically pleasing repeat of one of my Rose drawings (photocopying the same image over and over and ‘ripping’ the image by hand and juxtaposing it onto the paper) within my sketchbook.

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Secondly I used Coloured Sharpie Felt-tip Pens to add colour to my initial observational study of a Rose. I specifically chose only 4-5 colours as incorporating too many for my theme would muddy the concept; a subtle gender neutral purple was used as a bridge between the masculine blues and feminine pink at the centre.

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Finally I took my finished observational drawing and incorporated the old school paper cut and reposition repeat method. Photocopying over an dover again and repositioning allowed me to ascertain a deeper knowledge of how a pattern can be successful. There are pros and cons within this specific design….the pros being how descriptive and fluid the design of flower is and the cons being how the flower looks strange just floating in the air. The moral of this story? Motifs are an integral part of the overall design and need to be worked into said design, which in turn will create a cohesive and symbiotic pattern.

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My study of leaves were chosen as a motif to include as part of the greater design.

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Although I didn’t choose this surface pattern exactly within my next design, I included it’s essence; a background of leaves (described to look out of focus) was created by collage. This collage was created by the use of torn Mulberry Paper….again, choosing only 4-5 colours. Once the background collage was created I juxtaposed my Rose observational studies, both linear and coloured and then added the leaves to create a more fully realised floral design.

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I really love the interplay between the Black & White and Colour, but think the collage background may be a little too busy. This is something I will endeavour to make work better on a high end design level.

RESULTS ARE IN……DRUMROLL PLEASE

What is the best way to understand a demographic? I decided to create my own survey, asking poignant and specific questions that would enable me to further expand my research, both visual and market.

7 questions were put forward via Survey Monkey, which was available to my Facebook friends and the friends of friends. The information collated will be broken down into the most popular answers, which in turn could influence my final designs. What were these questions you may ask……well, here they are:

  1. WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOUR FAVOURITE FLOWER TO BE? Daffodil, Rose & Tulip

 

  1. WHICH 3 FLOWERS WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO HAVE IN YOUR GARDEN? Daffodil, Rose & Lily

 

  1. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COLOUR FLOWER? Yellow, Purple & Blue

 

  1. WHICH 3 COLOURS WOULD YOU ASSOCIATE WITH FEMININITY? Pink, Purple & Yellow

 

  1. WHICH 3 COLOURS WOULD YOU ASSOCIATE WITH MASCULINITY? Blue, Black & Green

 

  1. WHICH 3 ELEMENTS ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU IF YOU WERE TO CHOOSE A FLORAL FABRIC/WALLPAPER? Colour, Design & Simplicity
  2. WOULD BE MORE INCLINED TO PURCHASE FLORAL FABRIC/WALLPAPER IF IT WAS MORE GENDER NEUTRAL? Neither Agree or Disagree, Agree, Strongly Agree

60 people took my survey and I am absolutely fascinated with the results!!! I knew exactly how some of the questions would be answered, but was blown away by some of the results!!! For example……PINK would always be the most obvious answer when asking what people thought was the most predominant colour of FEMININITY, and BLUE being the most obvious for MASCULINITY. The 3 favourite colours of flowers were quite surprising…..YELLOW coming top, followed by PURPLE & BLUE. BLACK & GREEN surprisingly were the second and third highest chosen colours!!! I couldn’t have asked for better results; my chosen colour palette has so far incorporated most of the colours picked by my survey demographic. I will however incorporate some metallics within my designs, which will lift and inform the buyer of it’s quality and luxurious design.

The information I have gathered so far from this survey has been invaluable; one of the core ingredients/themes of my chosen trend, BUSY BLOOMS, is to inform the viewer/buyer of the importance of GENDER NEUTRALITY when looking at the design of Floral Wallpaper/Fabric for the Interior. I was really pleased to learn that the overall consensus of my survey favoured the idea that more people would buy Floral Wallpaper/Fabric if it was GENDER NEUTRAL, specifically looking at the Top 3 elements when choosing Florals………..COLOUR, DESIGN & SIMPLICITY.

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My next step will be to continue my visual and market research combining elements from the survey results and allowing me the opportunity to create something fresh, unique and with broad appeal.