4 steps for designing unique home textile patterns

Published: 05/05/2020

To design a production-ready pattern is not as quick and simple as you think. To create a unique pattern in repeat takes at least several hours for any designer. However, the process may take much longer because the sketches need often some time to develop to patterns in repeat. Here we explain 4 steps for designing unique home textile patterns. This flow has been in active use at Patternsfrom Agency since 2017 when we introduced our three pattern concepts.

1. Forecasting trends

We do check the trend halls at various trade fairs, however, we design not for those trends but for trends at least one year ahead. That work requires constant, active notification of weak signals that we collect from the world around us. At some point, we have a great amount which we then divide for our three pattern concepts.

2. Creating mood boards, concept stories, and color charts

When each concept has enough signals, it is time to create a mood board for the concept. We use colors, structures, and images to define each concept. However, each concept needs also verbal clarification for its content to make sure it has been understood correctly. Each one of the three concepts has a color chart with 20+ colors to keep the concept harmonized.

Our designers receive the new trends usually in January so that they can begin their work finally. At the same time we share also a sneak peek of the trends with our newsletter subscribers.

3. Pattern designing

As we work with freelance designers, they get to know the provided materials at their own pace. They use different techniques in making patterns, such as paper cutting, drawing with pencils, markers, or computers, painting, etc. At this point, sketchbooks are in active use, as there might be some old treasures in those books!

Defining the size of the pattern is essential. Most of the patterns are designed for rotation printing, as it is the printing technique for most of our customers still. Also, most of them are vectorized so that it is possible to scale them both up and down.

As we sell unique, handmade patterns, all designs have a white paper or screen in the starting point. The process may include scanning sketches, playing around with them, etc. Little by little the pattern has all the elements and layers it is supposed to have. The final adjustments make the design repeat nicely on any surface.

We design patterns in the sets of three. Those make appealing pattern families there three patterns are matching but not too similar or competing with each other. We provide 1-3 color variations for one pattern design to our customers. This means, that the designers need to play with the colors for quite some time before having enough variation in the colorways.

4. Creating marketing materials

If those above steps are more or less general for any designers, this step is specific for Patternsfrom Agency.

We publish new patterns four times a year. The original pattern repeat needs to be adjusted to be suitable for our online portfolio. At trade fairs, we need to show those patterns in prints. A3-sized version of the pattern in its original size, as well as a shrunk version where the repeat and color versions are visible, is required. Some of our customers wish to see the pattern in mockup images before the purchase decision, so now most of our patterns are available in mockups too.

As our approach for designing unique home textile patterns has elements of storytelling in it, the designers write a couple of sentences about each pattern.