I took a chance and signed up to a 5 week online course entitled "Designing for the Activewear Market" run by the Textile Design Lab at Pattern Observer. Any doubts about going for this course soon evaporated as I realised that this market was just perfect for me. As a new designer starting out it can be very difficult to figure out your style, let alone what market you're going to design for! So it was a great feeling to know I could focus on something I would enjoy because it suited me.
And how do you know this, you might ask? Well, even if your signature style too obvious yet, you probably have an inkling about how you enjoy playing around in Photoshop or Illustrator. In fact, even your preference for either program says a lot about you as a designer in my opinion. For me it's Photoshop hands down. With Photoshop I feel like I have a canvas in front of me and I get to work straight away. Even if I don't like the end result of any "experiment" I still feel quite free during the process. With Illustrator, on the other hand, you need to find out some basic rules about the program before you can even start or just won't even start. Maybe I'm biased on this topic because I've used PS the longest?
Anyhow, without going off-topic too much...One thing to bear in mind is that there are no shortcuts and you need to take risks to find new things. There is beauty in the unknown destination - not knowing exactly how it's going to end. Well that says a lot about my style of working so there I was faced with having to pick one customer paired with a particular trend report (created by WGSN) for Spring/Summer 2018. I was so exited but terrified at the same time!
I picked the H&M brief because the colour palette appealed to me the most and also the artistic style proposed in the brief which for me meant coming up with abstract compositions.
So here is how I got on:
I ended up producing 12 design options which I narrowed down to 3 which is the ideal number to show a client. In the process, I also experimented with producing colour-ways..
Take-aways from this project:
Take risks and challenge yourself even if you don't feel ready to embark into something new
Stay true to yourself but listen to feedback
Finding your design niche is key so when you do, try to find out everything about it within the textile/surface pattern design industry
It really helps to imagine the "end customer" who'd be buying your design; if you know them, the many decisions you have to take during the design process will be easier
Joining a community such as the Textile Design Lab is priceless, not only because you can post your designs in the community forums and get feedback within hours but also because it's important to feel "accountable" especially when working by yourself and you're not at school.