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Collecting inspiration for your pattern designs

The importance of finding inspiration for your pattern designs + image of girl with iphone

Collecting inspiration for your pattern designs is an important step in the design process as it will help you formulate your ideas and give yourself a direction to start developing your ideas from.

Why finding inspiration is important

Finding inspiration is really important for your surface pattern design

I’m going to ask you, have you ever sat down to start being creative and you just don’t know where to begin? You draw a complete mental blank. You don’t know where to start, and then you most likely end up feeling frustrated because you’ve allocated the time to be creative yet you’re not using that time wisely, which in turn makes you feel even more frustrated.

This is where your research and inspiration will come in. Finding inspiration is really, really important because it helps to kickstart your creative process and it gives you some really firm guidelines to use when you do start designing.  And there are a few different ways that you can go about finding inspiration for your pattern designs and some of my favorites.

Observe your surroundings

One of my most favorite ways of getting inspiration is observing my surroundings. And usually, I do that just by going for a simple walk around the neighbourhood because you can find so many amazing and beautiful things in your surroundings because of the change of seasons and the change of time of day etc.  You find some really amazing things that you could potentially use for your pattern designs. It could be a new bloom, an interesting texture or a shadow on the pavement.

Museum, galleries, exhibitions

Museums, galleries and exhibitions are a great way to be invigorated and get inspired. It doesn’t even have to be a traditional gallery, it can be any type of exhibition. Even if it’s not in a field that’s related to what you do, you may see a texture or a color combination that sparks an idea, or you just may simply feel good when you leave to inspire you.


Design blogs, websites and social media like Pinterest and Instagram can also be places to find inspiration. I do want to say, though, when you are looking at other designers, work always be really careful that you’re not being too inspired by it.

Looking to the past

Another really great thing to do is to look back at your old travel photos. I find they’re a really rich source of inspiration and might spark an idea as well.

Most importantly, I think once you start this process, and once you becoming more experienced as a designer, collecting inspiration is just something that you will naturally do and will just naturally become part of what you do in your everyday life. So when you see something interesting, you will take a photo of it. You’ll always be looking for different things that could potentially spark an idea. I think once you get into the process and you get into the habit of actually doing that, you’ll be doing it without even thinking about it.

Find out more about different ways of finding inspiration in this podcast episode.

You can download my Pattern Design Secrets eBook here


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