I’m not sure there’s much written about this topic so here’s my view on giving/receiving feedback, when it’s needed and what type of feedback can really benefit you.
I’m a big fan of following online webinars offering artwork critiques for up and coming designers on platforms I’m a member of and on Facebook Groups where they’re offered for free.
There’s certainly a demand for this and plenty of budding designers who supply artwork for review. The format tends to be quite loose and that has its advantages so you have people of different abilities, artwork ranging in genre and the atmosphere is quite relaxed so anyone can participate and input their own feedback too. This is great and I think there’s much to learn from this for everyone.
But I also think that sometimes these sessions are not as helpful as they could be to the designer and I think that’s because the person doing the critiquing doesn’t want to be “too critical” and “hurt” the artist’s feelings/ego?? Or it might just be that they’re not picking up the things that could be raised in regards to the artwork or the concerns raised by the designer.
For this reason I think that the best type of feedback one can get is a paid for devlivered by a professional, perhaps in the form of a private portfolio review. I am contemplating going down this route and making the £100-200 investment. In exchange, you get a 1-2 hours one-to-one professional review of everything you have done to date and specific industry related questions answered. This could be something along the lines of what niche is my work best suited for? Writing a plan of action to get representation, whom to contact and how, tips of adapting your handwriting to suit a specific market or simply what to do next.
I have a growing list of established professionals that offer these services, each coming from a different part of the Surface Design industry, so message me via the Contacts page if you’d like me to share it with you.
So am I saying that I wish that the free art critiques out there were more professionally focused? I guess I am but from the point of view of the person offering their free time and expertise to an open call of designers of all levels, perhaps this is too much to ask.
As I progress in this field of work and gain more expertise myself, I think I’d like to be on the other side of the art critique giving my own honest feedback to designers starting out. I seem to get a lot of satisfaction helping people out so this could be a great new avenue at some point in the future perhaps offered in conjunction with a fellow designer. But first I need to be mentored myself and I’m very much looking forward to that! Stay tuned for a review on this experience in the near future...
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This blog post is something more personal than the others...not for lack of something to write about but because actually, I’ve put my fingers in so many pies recently without really achieving one great result so I feel like I’ve almost lost a bit of my focus this month...I’ll partly blame it on going away for 2 weeks on holiday to Italy as well and turning an age which I can’t get my head around yet!
So lots of distractions, deadlines to get things done before vacation time and not much time to readjust after the holidays...so I’m hoping for a more “predictable” and routine month in August although knowing what my schedule looks like for next month, it’ll be anything but predictable!
Besides doing the usual studio briefs (which are anything but usual and that’s OK with me), I’m going to tackle driving lessons again after a 4 month gap and try to pass a test by the end of the month in August. On top of that, there’s a new Skillshare class to create and the end of my Weebly portfolio site subscription which I won’t renew as I’ve decided to switch to Squarespace...I’ll be blogging more on that in future. This involves learning a totally new way of setting up a website which I’ll have to study...not to mention, decide what new work to show in there.
All these things together present more challenges than I normally face in any given month and so much of what I get done in July and August will influence a great deal how I get to progress before the end of the year which will also involve more instability as I plan to leave London for the winter months and embark on a month long trip around Argentina before Christmas.
As far as my work is involved, I will have a batch of work back from a studio at the end of September which I could try to market to new markets which I haven’t tried before...daunting! I’m also considering having a portfolio/mentoring session as well to stir me in the right direction once my new website is up and running so I can stand back and see what an expert sees in the 350 plus commercial designs I’ve produced so far which are very varied in style.
There’s also a Youtube channel to create plus an additional website and Instagram account to host more lifestyle content as I continue to travel and work on a freelance basis...essentially a bit of digital nomad perspective on what I’m up to when I’m not sat behind a laptop screen at home. I’ve got lots of ideas running around my head at the moment with this new possible venture but no time to put anything to fruition just yet.
There’s also the Merch by Amazon gig which happened for me end of April but I haven’t developed much besides uploading a few designs online...I’ve done a lot of research on this and felt very optimistic at first but it’s not something you can expect to work overnight and without much input. Most people start seeing results once they’re in tier 500 or higher and after putting in lots of hours over 6 months or so.
I think it’s best I park this aside for now and keep focusing on producing Skillshare classes instead which I feel have a higher revenue potential in the long run as a passive income stream. So far I’ve worked pretty hard on this but already there’s a few things I’d like to change from what I’ve produced up to now, not to mention all the additional marketing effort that’s needed to get new students coming in and taking the classes.
So this blog post has been more of a loose update on what I’ve got on my plate than any concrete plans or results to report on but this is what being your own boss is like...some highs some lows, nothing too predictable, staying curious, always looking ahead to what’s next.
On my second Skillshare class, I picked Gmail as a topic to focus on because well, who doesn’t have a Gmail account these days? And it just coincided with the release of an updated version release by Google. This gave me the chance to highlight the new features that now come as standard with Gmail which definitely lend themselves to working smarter.
Productivity is such a buzz word these days but the reality is that especially as Creatives who maybe hold a part time job to bring in an income, we never seem to have enough time to first, create art and secondly, to market our work. I should also add a third thing which is very important; and that is to find time to keep learning and upskilling or refining our technique or trying out new things which could be learning how to create mock ups or using Pinterest for marketing or setting up a You Tube channel...there’s just so much out there to learn to not only be good at your creative pursuit but also at telling the world what you’re doing.
I also wanted to make my new Skillshare classes shorter as realise that for certain topics people don’t have an hour to spend on learning and with the huge number of classes available online, the shorter classes probably become trend better as we all try to cram in as much as possible in our day.
What I love about teaching on Skillshare is the fact that as I’m researching and putting together the content of my classes, I get to learn as I go along so I get to teach as I’m learning along - things which I didn’t even know I knew nothing about before I started preparing the class!
Skillshare also run a program whereby you can refer a friend to teach and if the class gets published within 30 days you and your friend get a $50 bonus each...sweet isn’t it? Here’s the link for how it works.
So now I’m exploring new ways of promoting my class. Didn’t realise how much work goes into this part of the puzzle. New platforms for me on which to market (besides Instagram, Facebook, Linked In and Pinterest) are Reddit, Youtube and possibly Twitter and Vimeo. Never been on any of these, but you soon come to the conclusion that you have to find new platforms if the promotional work needs to go on and on way after publishing your class.
In fact, something I learnt recently is that doing pre-launch marketing is also a good idea. The key is being creative on how you release this info out. I don’t currently have a newsletter on my website and might add this just for the purposes of my Skillshare class promotions.
Other than that, I want to learn Adobe Spark to create fun promo presentations to upload onto Instagram Stories which I haven’t tried yet (my bad!) and obviously to teach that as well. Post my new class link in the Skillshare Teacher’s Forum as many people do and interact with the community there. I’ve posted a few questions there already and learnt quite a lot already from other people’s posts.
Facebook groups where your niche target audience hangs out are great for promoting my class and were my first port of call when I released my first class on Adobe Bridge. Same for the groups that allow you to post free links to your class so you gain your first 25 students fast and so become eligible to start receiving royalty payments from Skillshare on minutes watched.
There’s so much to marketing a Skillshare class which I’m not covering here which deserves a full blog post of its on. Let me know if this would be of interest to you and I’ll get onto it!
I’m in the Merch by Amazon progam! Didn’t think much about it since I heard there was a waiting list to join but had nothing to lose so went ahead and to my surprise got the approval email within 2 days!
The program is structured in tiers. Starting with Tier 10 which means you can submit up to 10 designs (one per day upload limit) and then progressing to Tier 25, 100, 500, 1k, 2k with more daily uploads increasing accordingly.
There are challenges with being based outside of the US, namely I can’t purchase my shirts directly to get out of Tier 10 (one common strategy people adopt), I’m designing for a market I’m not so familiar with (US only) and lastly, I don’t have previous experience of designing for T-shirts!!
This hasn’t stopped me from trying and researching everything I can about Merch and what strategies people use to get tiered up and in the process I have learnt a lot! It’s made me reconsider the whole POD (print on demand) model of working and realised there is much scope there outside of the traditional Society 6 or Redbuble stores.
For example, I’ve learnt things about Shopify integration with various POD providers, Etsy integration with POD, even Amazon marketplace integration with some POD via your own domain store.
Didn’t realise how many companies out there offer POD with dropshipping (Printful, Gooten just to name a couple) and how attractive this model is for someone like me who wants to explore selling something online with my own creative input.
It does require a lot of work and experimentation though...sampling the products is very important too as well as taking account logistics such as shipping and customs costs and the implications of working with a POD company is based outside of your own country.
Merch Collab is also something I mean to look further into...this is where big brands offer Merch by Amazon designers the chance to licence their artwork to sell on the Merch apparel categories (t-shirts/hoodies etc.) directly on Amazon.
I feel the POD industry is really hotting up atm and will continue to grow massively, offering an ever expanding range of products to print designs on. It’s very exciting and definitely an area that opens up so many possibilities with low upstart costs/risks.
The thing with Merch is what niche to pick, what keywords to focus on, how to list effectively and ultimately, how to get traffic to your Amazon store to start selling. I’m not going to go into detail here about the workings of this but say it’s not a quick or easy way to make money. Everyone seems to be of the same opinion that it’s a long term numbers game so you’ve got to put in the hours to learn the ropes and it will take time and effort.
I hope I can devote more time to Merch and see if I can succeed. It’s a real effort atm with all the other going ons I have with completely different projects I have on the go at once but will report back as I go.
View my class here.
Skillshare is an amazing site that I wished I had discovered much earlier in my Pattern Design journey. I had heard of it but didn’t pay it serious attention till after I had signed up to do other much more expensive online courses which by comparison were not as useful.
The thing with Skillshare is how vast the site is these days. With 17,000 plus courses to choose from, you can really learn just about any skill you set your mind to. Their pricing is also very competitive and unbeatable as I got a full year’s premium membership for just £50 during one of their promo offers.
Now, becoming a teacher on Skillshare is a totally different ball game. I didn’t realise how much work was involved until I seriously got started in April 2018 and made this project my main focus for the month.
So I learnt how to screencast record with OBS which is an easy and a free open source program. I then had to find a good video editor that wouldn’t take ages to master. After much searching, I decided on Shotcut. As I’d never played around with any other video editing software before, the learning curve was steeper but I was reassured by all the reviews and video tutorials I found on Youtube that this was one of the easiest ones out there for beginners like me and it’s also 100% free!
Next, another invaluable piece of software that helped a lot was Handbrake. It’s free and basically compresses all your video files without compromising on quality so you can upload them much faster and they won’t take as much drive space in your computer.
I also went with Skillshare’s recommendation of working with a good quality microphone and got the Blue Snowball microphone which has definitely made a big improvement in the recording process and was the easiest thing to set up.
Now regarding the class topic I chose for my first class; Initially back in December 2017 when I wanted to give this a crack, there wasn’t a single dedicated class my chosen subject area so I felt good at the prospect of being the first one. However due to other commitments getting in the way, I only got the chance to work and publish my class in April, by which time someone else had released a class on the very same topic. Not a big deal as it proved useful to see what gaps of knowledge I could fill and how their class was structured.
So here is a link to see my class for yourself. If you don’t have a Skillshare premium membership, leave me a comment and I’ll gladly share free access link (if I still have any spare ones). I will report back on how things go with this new venture in future blogs as there’s so much to talk about! For now, I already have a list of ideas for other classes I could create, all under the same topic which is “Productivity Tools for Creatives” as I have a strong interest in improving workflow and maximasing time to undertake creative projects as much as I can.
Hope you can join me in this journey and learn something new along the way!! Also, if you have any suggestions for class topics, message or email me and I’ll give it a think.
Last month I had an amazing opportunity to attend Premiere Vision in Paris for the first time thanks to a studio I’m freelancing with. I have experience of going to the London Print Fair for a couple of years now but nothing could prepare me for the vastness of a show like PV which is probably the most important calendar event for the textiles industry.
It takes place twice a year over three days to showcase two seasons in the calendar that every textile related business works on: Spring/Summer & Autumn/Winter.
The number and range of businesses attending was impressive, from fabric manufacturers to print studios, accessories, leather, denim, shirting, new textiles tech and everything in between serving the global fashion industry.
If planning a visit for research, I’d recommend walking the show for at least two days. Most of the fabric manufacturers have their own in-house design team but some are open to working with freelancers so it’s a matter of approaching them, introducing yourself and having something to show them, such a trade book (get one done on blurb.com for not much money) and of course a business card (moon.com offers great quality).
In regards, to print studios, the foothall wasn’t great this year, is what I was, so for a new studio starting out, this is quite a big financial commitment as the minimum cost of securing a booth starts at 4,000 Euros. However, the buyers attending are from the best stores/brands and many do come with the intention to buy. So even if the end result doesn’t translate into sales you do expect to come back with a handful of contacts to follow up after the show and this makes it arguably worth the fee.
The Print studio part of the show is growing by the year so the competition is increasing whilst attendance has been steadily declining from what I’ve been told. So I’d say PV probably isn’t ideal for a new print studio start-up. However, I’ve loved the experience of being part of it and hope to return in the future.
I’m a firm believer that competitions are a great idea as they offer designers in the making opportunities to be seen and found that they wouldn’t otherwise have. It’s a win-win scenario as the competition organisers get free artwork for their website and products whilst the designer gains exposure which can lead to greater things down the road. I’ve only entered two competitions so far and will definitely look at doing more in the future.
My very first one was the PAOM Endowment competition and I was very lucky to win it too!
I wrote a short blog post about it back in February with details about the theme and how well it fitted with what I was interested in at the time (street art).
When I was notified of being one of the winners I was very happy indeed and being sent $2000 worth of PAOM clothing of my choice with the designs I had entered for the competition was amazing. There was one thing to do next and that was to execute the project proposal which at the time of entering the competition was a photoshoot of the garments.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do this due to time and lack of resources as I was extremely busy with my own design work so instead of putting it off week after week I decided to create a digital collage of the clothing to fit with the style of the brief. I must add the team at PAOM were great as they were flexible about this from the start telling me I could produce anything I wanted. I’ve posted the results in my case study page so take a look!
If you’re considering entering a competition I would be mindful of the possible outcomes of winning as you need to ensure you can find the time and are able to put in the effort in executing whatever you set out to do.
I’d also advise being clear about the copyrights to the work you’re submitting; ultimately you want to know if it’s still your property after submission or winning in case you want to sell the rights or licence the design in the future.
Lastly, schedule time in your diary to promote it! I feel this is a bit tricky now for me as twelve months on my design aesthetic has improved and changed a lot so I’m not sure whether showcasing this work now makes a lot of sense but ultimately we have to take pride in what we do and achieve so I’m happy to share it!!!
I've looked at the following I've seriously considered to enter competitions:
It’s the time of the year approaching Christmas when we start to reflect on the previous 11 months or so and wonder how we fared it...draft new resolutions, panic and realise we’re again one year older than we’d ever imagined possible :) etc. etc. So I’m going to briefly outline my year and draw some conclusions about what’s been good and what can be improved in 2018.
First off, it’s fair to say that 2017 has been a pivotal year for me...it’s the year when I decided to get “serious” about working as a designer in surface pattern and devote a full time effort in doing so. I had contemplated different career options through the years and made steps to get started on them but in hindsight I now see that I never really felt too motivated to succeed?
Getting this website and blog going was the first commitment towards the cause and long overdue when I started it in January 2017. The website looked totally different and I didn’t have a logo either. I decided to approach this by full-time “incubating” myself in a flat in Spain for the winter and tackling a very long to do list on my way to becoming ready to design and find freelance work in this new field.
First I came up with a name for my design practice and bought a domain for it as I couldn’t (or wanted to for that matter) go by my own name plus “design” which is what people do. The next big step for me was getting familiar with a Wacom tablet, getting into Instagram, setting up a Facebook page, completing all the courses I wanted to at the Textile Design Lab plus I signed up for two more at MIID which in hindsight was a bit of a waste of money for me but have actually proven to be a good network opportunity to interact with some very lovely people who are on a similar journey to mine.
So let’s just jump into the highlights and the “failures” for 2017 from a design career point of view:
The Yay Moments:
1- Getting the attention of 6 different studios and signing to four of them to design for women’s apparel...never worked for more than 2 at a time so I’ve got 2 on the go as I write this...2 didn’t work out as expected which is fine and 2 didn’t feel right from the start so I never signed the contracts.
2- Entering the PAOM endowment competition and being one of the winners giving me $2k worth of clothing printed with my designs! Will write about this in the future as need to do some follow up promo work for it too.
3 - Starting a Bullet Journal - this has really helped me focus my scattered brain on a daily basis as I’ve tracked everything under the sun on it relating to what I do etc.
4 - Getting into Instagram - though I haven’t achieved the number of followers I set out, I have to say it’s been an incredible tool and platform to see the work of studios (and find work), other designers and find like minded people...some of which I got to meet in person too.
Other biggies for me this year are registering self-employed (long ambition of mine!) and starting driving lessons…
The Nay Moments:
1- Not getting fit as I wanted to
2 - Not paying enough time to some friendships and putting work always first
3 - Not reading all the books I set out to read
4- Not getting into Patternbank despite 3 attempts so far!!
As I look at 2018, I have some important life decisions to make...some personal and difficult but feel more optimistic than ever that things will work out and I’ll keep making progress. So what tangible goals for next year? These are just some:
1- Explore new passive income streams e.g. teaching on Skillshare, selling digital products on Creative Market etc.
2- Networking plus investing more time and energy into worthwhile relationships
3 - Develop my social media presence more on LinkedIN and Facebook which have been largely ignored this year and possibly migrating my website to Squarespace.
4 - Explore new exciting ventures such as developing an art licensing portfolio, setting up a Christmas stall to sell some products and possibly approach clients directly to sell my designs.
There is so much to learn and do that I know I’m just scratching the surface here but feels good being on a journey and look forward to the next 5-10 years of further development!
There comes a point in a budding freelance designer’s career when a decision is made to approach potential studios to work with. With this post I’m going to share what I’ve learnt from working with a number of studios who contract freelancers from around the world to design prints for women’s fashion. Studios work differently and offer different rates of artist commission which vary between 30-60% for each piece of sold artwork. The studios I’ve worked with have been based in London, New York and LA although I’ve noticed there are quite a few also operating from Australia and Brazil.
The process of finding the right studio involves a fair amount of web research to find companies whose aesthetic closely match your design handwriting. This is a very important step to get right to avoid wasting your time along the line. It’s easy to just contact anyone who remotely shows work that you like or aspire to do but doesn’t resemble your current work output...or to contact studios who actively encourage applications from designers on their contact page just to see how it goes. I wouldn’t recommend applying for the sake of it as my experience of this is that if it’s not a good match from the beginning you’ll soon end up frustrated with the work they expect you to produce.
When researching a studio it’s important to know the following:
It’s also good to check their social media feeds to see how engaged they are and how actively they are promoting new work. Instagram is the main means by which I’ve found studios to work with as they tend to post there every time they are recruiting freelancers. I have also used LinkedIN to research studios and contact some of the artists they work with to ask them questions about working with the studio. Both Instagram and LinkedIN are definitely good channels to be on as some studios directly look for designers to recruit via these channels. Do bear in mind that it’s a big no-no to show in social media any original motifs you are creating as part of the work you’ll submit to a studio. This is mostly the case for apparel where the studio sells the artwork’s copyright outright and not on a license agreement.
Once you’re signed by one or more studios, you’ll receive design briefs on a weekly or monthly basis. The scope of direction given by the studio varies immensely from company to company. You may be asked to submit anything from 3 to an unspecified number of designs (you decide) or there might not even be a submission deadline at all which makes it very flexible for you. For women’s fashion, you’ll generally submit a group of designs fitting a chosen theme with 6 individual and unique motifs. For other markets such as stationary or quilting you may be asked to produce a collection group instead which consists of say 2 “hero” prints, 2 complimentary prints (less detailed work) and 2 filler prints (e.g. dots/stripes/one small repeated motif from one of the main prints).
Some studios like to have more control than others sending you moodboards or individual picture files to reference for the theme of the brief they’ll want you to complete. Some include a colour swatch to work from as well. Some also require you to send initial work completed for approval first (say the first 2-3 designs) so they can give you feedback along the way and know that what you’re working on is in line with the overall brief aesthetic.
Once the work is completed you’ll be asked to submit a layered (Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator) file with copies of the file in other formats and resolution as well such as JPEG or TIFF. This is for the purpose of their online catalogue and sample printing requirements. You may also be asked to place the final artwork onto a template which may also show a unique artwork file reference number. Files are usually sent via We Transfer or Dropbox.
Interested buyers will be able to see your work online after requesting a password to access the studio’s online catalogue (valid for a limited time) or at a trade fair where your work may be displayed on paper or on printed fabric. Buyers also get visited by the studio’s sales reps whose job is to travel around the world on an ongoing basis making appointments to showcase the studio’s latest collections. Depending on the market your work fits in and how detailed it is, it may sell for anything from $300-$800.
As a freelancer you’ll be asked to raise an invoice for every sold piece and may receive notification of a sale as soon as a client buys your print or you may just receive a monthly notification of sales. Clients are requested to submit payment between 10-30 days of purchase and it’s important to know this so you know how long you may need to wait to receive payment yourself.
Final points - working for a studio on a freelance basis is a great way to develop your skills as a designer completing lots of briefs which may challenge you to design themes you may not have thought of working on before. The pros of working for yourself and being location independent are great but like with any freelance work contract, there is no guaranteed salary at the end of day hence why it’s so important to find the right studio that is most likely to sell the type of work you enjoy producing. It’s important to remember that freelancing with a studio is a mutually beneficial relationship and shouldn’t be one-sided in favour of the studio. You need to be as happy and comfortable to work in collaboration with a studio and vice-versa.
Today I’m going to talk about my experience of interning with London based print studios. I interned with four studios specialising in women’s fashion print. Two weeks (full time) seems the norm although one of them preferred a minimum one month commitment and had had up to 20 interns working for them at one point - some of which worked for 3-6 months there. Compensation usually only covers your travel costs and is capped at around £10 per day.
The tasks you can be asked to do vary from studio to studio depending on whether the fabric samples are produced in-house or not. If they are, you may be cutting fabric, sewing them (over-locking the edges and/or cutting them into mock up garment patterns...but not all of them took this step) and finally mounting them. You may then also have to label and file them accordingly.
Two of the four studios I worked with processed their samples in-house and in two different ways. One used a heat press after printing the artwork onto paper with special inks...this was quick and easy as involved cutting the fabric to the appropriate size first, pinning the freshly printed artwork facing down and transferring the design onto the fabric with the heat press which took about 20 seconds to set.
The other studio had a longer process...the artwork got printed directly onto the fabric which then had to be steamed to set the artwork, then the fabric would get cut and each sample washed by hand individually in a bucket to remove any ink residues...this would take several minutes and finally the sample would get ironed before being sewn.
The only other major part of interning was drawing motifs (mainly flowers) which the designers then scanned and used in Photoshop. Obviously, as an intern you don’t benefit from any sold prints which you contributed towards creating. I think this is fair enough if your internship lasts 1-2 weeks but if I were somewhere for longer I think that’s not so good.
One of the studios also gives you the chance to join their sales reps visiting clients to present their print collection but this isn’t so common and you have to show interest first.
I think interning for a few print studios has been extremely helpful for me as I got to observe the workings and day to day management of the business, as well as talk to in-house designers about their experience. Some studios don’t even have an in-house design team so then your work tasks are more administrative and that can also be an eye-opener. Needless to say, you’ll be exposed to amazing prints and see what’s selling and in demand which can help with your work.
As I’ve described, the tasks are quite manual so there’s no need to fear that you may not be “good enough” or “too old” to apply. Having said that, be prepared to be working alongside newly graduated 20 something’s!
It’s also good to have an online presence/portfolio of work so the studio manager can quickly see that you’re serious about surface pattern design but if you don’t yet have anything, sending in a few low res Jpegs will do.
Personally, I took the plunge a year ago when visiting the London Print Fair by asking different studios one by one if they needed interns and then following up with an email a couple of days later with a link to my portfolio site. You definitely don’t need to do this...These days I regularly come across ads for internships on Instagram. Also googling fashion internships will show up a few sites you can sign up for free to get notifications of new placements. Just bear in mind that some studios book interns several months in advance so you may not be able to start working straight away.
Lastly, don’t worry too much if the style of artwork the studio sells isn’t quite your style...if that’s the case you will probably do other tasks other than drawing. I think the main benefits to interning are getting a professional review of your portfolio and lots of tips on how to improve what you’re doing. I was told for example that my artwork could work well in sportswear; something I had never even considered! Also, If you think you’ve found the ideal studio you’d absolutely love to work for, interning for an extended period of time could land you a job there...it’s rare but I’ve seen it happen!
FYI, my interning experience has been with the following studios:
I blog about what I've learnt so far in my textile/surface pattern design journey hoping to inspire any creatives out there who are trying to launch new projects or just want to get tips along the way...