From inspiration to screen, the evolution of a new design

A peek behind the scenes this week.

Last week I printed up a new design. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you may have seen it. I want to share the steps this design took along its way to the fabric – and finally into a product.

This design was conceived, as many of them are, on our summer break away at the beach house. I have so much more time when we are away just to dream, doodle, draw and design at my leisure. The weeks when we are home and working, I seem to have less time for actually designing than when I am on holiday. In actual fact, designing is maybe my favourite part of the whole process but there are, of course, a whole lot of other things I need to do in my one woman show!

Anyway, back to that afternoon on the deck at the beach house. I was alternately doodling/sketching and flipping through the latest House & Garden magazine I had bought to bring with me (another thing I don’t seem to have much time for at home – flipping through my home/interior design mags). I came across this photo of a bedroom rug.

Inspiration image for flower tile design
Inspiration for the design from House & Garden January 2016 page 116-7

Something about the graphic quality and shape caught my attention and I started to doodle again. I didn’t draw much – you can see the page here – and what I drew wasn’t exactly what I saw in the picture but it was the kernel of an idea that I filed away for later.

Early sketches for Flower Tile design
Initial sketches for the design, just doodles generated from the inspiring image.

Later came just a week or two later when I was thinking I would like a new print to coordinate with this Trefoil design (which, you guessed it, was conceived in the same location a year earlier!)

My Trefoil design
My Trefoil design

I really like this design and had a lot of positive comments about it but I wasn’t as keen on the print I had created to complement it (the Scandi Flower – seen in the picture on a handbag).

My Scandi Flower design
My Scandi Flower design

That shape came back to me and I opened up Adobe Illustrator to start playing with it.

I played with some of the ‘icons’ I had sketched but they all felt too heavy for the Trefoil design. So I reflected the Trefoil leaf (or petal) shape in the new design as a ‘quadfoil’ which began to look a lot like a flower. Then I took the small dot idea of Trefoil and incorporated it into the new shape. There was a lot of playing around with size and the positioning of the dots at this point until I settled on something that I found pleasing. This became my Flower Tile.

Developing my ideas in Illustrator
Playing with ideas in Illustrator with the final tile on the right

Flower Tile then needed to be put into repeat. A simple repeat of the tile was pretty bland but the stretched out corners lent themselves to a group of four, as I had sketched that the beach, so I played around with different ways to put them together and with how far from each other the tiles would be. This stage is largely trial and error and ‘eye-balling’ what I think looks balanced and harmonious.

Flower Tile design put into repeat in Illustrator
The Flower Tile in repeat

The result of this playing around in Illustrator was the Flower Tile repeat shown here which I printed out and used as my image positive to expose onto my screen (a process I have described in this post). Once the image was on my screen, I was ready to print and this is the result of its first run.

Test print of Flower Tile design by Blue Radish
The test print – Flower Tile’s first run

I have to say I’m pretty pleased with how it has turned out. I just had a customer on Etsy order a laptop sleeve in this design in red so I hope that is a sign that this is a design that people will like. What do you think?

Custom laptop sleeve in Flower Tile print by Blue Radish
The final product, a custom laptop sleeve made in Flower Tile in white on red

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