The core of any great collection of pattern designs is a great story and the key to a great story is research.
Finding inspiration for your pattern designs and collections is a really important step that you shouldn’t skip over. This stage is where you’re going to spend some time coming up with the ideas that you’re going to base your designs or your collections on. I know you may feel really reluctant to do this process you may feel like you just want to skip over it and get straight to the designing part but what happens, when you’re creating a collection of designs is that it is harder to make your collection cohesive and ensure all of your designs relate to one and other. You need to be able to keep yourself accountable so you stay on track and don’t stray from your initial idea.
Taking the time at the very beginning to go out and to research and develop lots of different ideas and then formulate those ideas into an inspirational mood board that you can use when you’re designing will help ensure that your designs are cohesive and that your collection goes together really well.
There are lots of different ways and places for you to start collecting inspirational ideas. I’m constantly taking photos and it’s super, super easy these days with the ability to take photos on your phone camera. When I’m out and about I’m always looking taking photos of things that catch my eye that I can use as potential ideas within my pattern designs.
I highly encourage you to be constantly collecting inspirational images and ideas, jotting things down that you find that your ideas that you’d like to further explore. That way you constantly have an array of ideas that you can start developing. I know many times when I’ve got half an hour of time free and decide that I’m going to use that time to sit down and start creating that sometimes if you don’t have a plan already in place, that I can feel really lost and not knowing where to start. And before I know, 10 minutes have passed and I haven’t achieved anything and end up feeling really frantic. So, having a bank of inspirational ideas always gives me a good solid base to start developing my ideas.
I would strongly recommend that you create yourself some sort of inspirational library that you’re continually adding your images and ideas so that you can create a visual library that you can refer to for years to come. This can also help when designing for clients as well or when you’re starting to research a new project.
As you collect all of these inspirational ideas, you want to make sure that you file them in such a way that you can find them later. Don’t fall into the trap of saving them untitled onto your desktop because you’re never going to find them later. You want to label them in such a way that’s going to be easy for you to find later and you’re going to do that by creating a system for filing your images. For example, you might have a folder called flowers and then you may subdivide that into different types of flowers.
This is also relevant if you’re collecting objects. When you’re collecting your inspirational ideas, don’t discount collecting objects as well. For example, you may find pods out on a walk or postcards that you like. You should do the same process of filing your ideas whether that’s in physical folders of taking photos of your objects and digitally filing them
One of the things I love to do is to create folders full of colour inspiration. So if I’m really stuck, I can go through them to help me develop my colour palettes for projects I’m working on.
Once you’ve collected all of this wonderful inspiration, the next step is to develop a mood board that you’ll use to refer to when you’re designing. So make sure that you are constantly thinking and keeping your eye open for anything interesting that you could use for your potential designs so you’ll have a bank of ideas for next time you’re feeling stuck.