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Should you reuse design elements in your collections?

When you’re creating pattern collections one of the decisions you need to make is whether or not you should reuse the same elements more than once within your collection. Now there are two completely different schools of thought here and it depends on what you’re using your designs for as to which road you’re going to go down.

Option 1: Creating a design range for a client

So let’s start with the first option, which is creating a design range for one particular client. Now, I recently was working with some students of mine and a client who was from a big retail store. The brief that was given was to create a coordinating range of designs.

It was specific in the brief and specific in the way that this particular company worked that they wanted one show stopper hero design (which is the best way to start your collection) and then they wanted elements from that show stopper hero design to create the rest of the design range by using those elements in new and more interesting ways. Obviously, one of the things they didn’t want to see was designs that had resused elements without much thought but they wanted to see designs that reused the elements from the hero in an interesting and different way. So an example of how you can do this is by grabbing a small motif that you’ve used in the main design and then creating a stripe design out of it.

My experience of working within the textile design industry for one company where all of the designs are going to be sold for that company under their brand name is that this is a common way to create a collection. The reason retailers often like to work this way is because they are going to have their designs on their products, on their shop floor, and they want all of their products to look consistent and they want it to have a cohesive look to their range of designs, product ranges as this makes it easier for the shop floor to look cohesive.

Option 2: Selling designs to different clients/customers

The second way we’re going to look at is if you are creating a whole range of designs, but you’re going to be selling the designs separately. So if you are creating a range of designs that you’re going to be selling to different customers and clients then you want to make sure that you aren’t using the same design elements within each of the designs. Two different retailers are not going to want to have the same design or a design with the same elements in their stores. They’re going to want different designs that are new and fresh. So if you’re going to be presenting your collections at design fairs or to sell to different customers then while you want your designs in your collection to go together cohesively, you want to ensure that you are creating new elements and not reusing the same ones.

In conclusion

So basically there are two schools of thought depending on who you’re designing for or what you’re designing that you do need to think about when you are creating your ranges of coordinating designs. If you are designing for one client then make sure you clarify their expectations before you begin e.g.whether it’s okay to use elements from the main design or not and if you are going to designs fairs such as Surtex, Blueprint etc. and you are creating collections of designs then you want to make sure you aren’t using the same design elements so that your customers can buy unique designs.

Should you reuse design elements in your collections?

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