I’ve gone back to school in a manner of speaking and am (Re)Discovering Personal Style in Design! I signed up last year to take the Ultimate Guide to Repeat’s over at Pattern Observer. I’ve followed Michelle and her blog and business for the past few years. She began the site in 2010 right around the time that I left the Carpet and Textile design industry full time. I will always keep an eye on what’s happening in textiles regardless of whether it’s a part of my business or not. That being the case I’ve gotten a bit rusty here and there with my design skills and I’ve had to switch from a very expensive industry software package to the more commonly used Illustrator and Photoshop…neither of which I am quite the master of…yet!
Pattern Observer to the rescue! The e-course “The Ultimate Guide to Repeats” shows you how to use and master Illustrator as a textile design tool! This year she has launched a private membership site that allows you access and interact with a variety of e-courses and the other members taking them. I’m trying it out and so far I LOVE it! I decided to investigate my own personal design style as I continue to slowly get back into the world of textiles as a consultant and perhaps as a designer.
In “The Sellable Sketch” course one of the first lessons is all about investigating what and who inspires you and why. I took the time to really think about the designers I really love and have loved for many years. They are not trendy although their designs may come and go, they have a certain staying power. The four designers I chose as my “Hero’s” are textile design icon and legend, Jack Lenor Larsen, Bauhaus artist and textile designer Sonia Delaunay, modern day design legend Amy Butler and European rug designer Jan Kath.
By investigating these inspiring designers I was able to see common characteristics such as the use of cheerful, funky and playful colors in a sophisticated way. Geometrics are balanced with bold organic shapes, subtle texture layers used in contrast with clean flat color. I found the root of what I love in these design styles and most of them have a midcentury feel. As a weaver at heart I love structure but I also love to break it up so it is not purely geometric. There are not a lot of details, they are not needed in these styles. The colors, line work and bold graphics are what appeal to me.
After investigating these influences I took a look at some of my own art and surroundings. I was able to see some similarities with some of my influences and by just noticing these elements I hope to be able to better understand and develop my own design style. Other people may be able to look at my style and easily see a common thread but I’m too close to it and I spend so many years designing for clients specific needs that I feel I sort of “lost” my own personal style. This year, with the help of Pattern Observer and other artistic PLAY I hope I will find what I thought I’d lost.