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5 Top Tips to Create Surface Pattern Designs That Sell

In order to make a career as a successful surface pattern designer, you need to be able to create designs that sell. Why do some designs sell and others not? What is it that makes a design successful? By having a look at 5 top tips to create surface pattern designs that sell, you’ll be able to start answering those questions.

5 Tops Tips To Create Surface Pattern Designs That Sell

1. Know Who You’re Designing For

There’s no point in creating beautiful designs that no one wants to buy (unless of course, you’re creating them for your own pleasure). So, it’s really important to have a detailed understanding of who your customer is.

If you’re designing for a client then you should start by researching who they are. This would involve looking at their website and doing some digging around so you have a good understanding of who they are and what sort of designs would fit their brand.

When creating a range of designs for your own brand it’s still really important to know who your target market is. Even though you get to make the decisions, you still need to take into consideration who your customer actually is.

Creating a customer profile will really help you stay on track when you’re designing.

2. Know What You’re Designing

Once you have a clear idea of who you’re designing for, you need to establish a firm understanding of what you’re designing. This is where you work out the nitty-gritty. 

Questions you should ask at this stage include:

What sector are you designing for e.g. homeware, childrenswear, womenswear etc?

Which part of that sector are you designing for e.g. girls aged 1-5 years etc?

Is there a specific colour palette you should use or are there a set number of colours?

What is the pattern repeat e.g. full drop, half drop, tossed etc?

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3. Know Your Competitors

Although you need to make sure that your designs are authentic and unique, you also need to be aware of what your competitors are creating. You need to figure out where you sit in the marketplace. How are your designs different/unique? What’s your unique selling point?

You can start by firstly researching who your main competitors are and then start looking at what designs are working well for them. What can you learn from them? What can you do better than them?

4. Research Trends

Before you start designing you should also research upcoming trends so that your designs are current and fit in with the marketplace. Important things to think about are motif and colour direction. 

It’s also important to remember that what is in a store right now will be an old trend by the time you create your design and it gets produced onto an item, so be wary of using current trends to design from.

Here are a few free resources for trend forecasting:

WGSN Blog: https://www.wgsn.com/blogs/

Notey: http://www.notey.com/blogs/trend-forecast

Fashion Vignette: https://fashionvignette.blogspot.com.au/p/fv-projects.html

Trend Bible: https://www.trendbible.com/blog/

5. Create interesting pattern repeats

One of the most important jobs of a surface pattern designer is to make beautiful repeating patterns. Make sure that you take your designs to next level by really refining your skills so that you create designs that work. Think about how your motifs work together and make sure you create depth, interest and seamless designs.

You can find out more about the different types of pattern repeats in my blog post here and more about seamless repeats here.

Some things to consider are:

  • Experiment with different types of repeats e.g. tossed, half drop etc.
  • Make sure the colours in your palette work together well
  • Create a repeat that is seamless so there are no unwanted gaps in the design
  • Think about adding textural elements or layering your design elements
5 Top Tips to Create Surface Pattern Designs That Sell

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