A few weeks ago, on my facebook page, I challenged the designers to knock my socks off with their first submission, and I wasn’t disappointed! It was evident that you worked incredibly hard. Having completed 6 challenges last round, I can understand and appreciate what actually goes into each one of these submissions! You definitely paid attention to what worked last time and crafted your submissions accordingly.
I really enjoy reading about how you arrived at your final designs, so thank you for sharing your thought processes. It helps me understand where you were coming from and allows me to offer suggestions for improvement. While I definitely don’t have all the answers, I hope that the feedback that you receive throughout this competition is something that you can use and apply moving forward.
As a contestant, I always wondered what the judges were saying about the other designers’ work, so I’m going to share some of the key pieces of advice that I offered each designer. Hopefully the other designers can benefit from them, as well:
Rebecca – When your eye moves across your print, it’s stopped by the vertical elements, while the rest of the elements are very free flowing. Think about ways to disguise the repeat a little more.
Janel – What else about Quatar makes it wanderlust-worthy? Roads are everywhere…Give us a glimpse into why we should want to go there, why Quatar is an amazing place.
Nicky – I would not have guessed your inspiration by looking at your print…and I love that. Initially, I was seeing 1960’s op-art, peace & love, and was delighted when the inspiration was something entirely different. You did a wonderful job of weaving imagery and motifs from your inspiration into your print.
Majo – Novelty prints are really tough! There’s a limited audience for them, since they are so specific. Not everyone is going to be into the specific things depicted. Although this print isn’t something I would personally buy on fabric, I can see other people really liking it.
Alice – I loved that you got out of your studio, away from your computer and explored. This really captures the spirit of the challenge… It’s OK to step away from your inspiration and inject color that you feel captures something about your inspiration. It could simply be a feeling or an emotion. Look at the way Vincent Van Gogh used color…it’s very emotive and expressive, detached from realism.
Holly – I like the striping in the rolling hills. I think that was a good move and it makes your print much more successful. The monochromatic color scheme is a little tough for me…The castles are a bit lost, like they didn’t get the color-love that the background did.
Kim – Very lovely design. The subject matter is on trend, but I haven’t seen this sort of interpretation of it, so I love that you put your own spin on it. The print is going to cut up wonderfully for quilt-making and it would translate very well to whole-cloth applications like curtains.
Jessica – Bottom line for me is: I want to know more. Let us step inside your head for a while to see how you make this sort of magic happen! … I can see why the farmlands of China are interesting…but why do you connect with them?
Kate – In general, make sure you’re varying the intensity and value of the colors in your scheme enough to be interesting…If they’re all bright or all dark, or too similar in any other way, it just feels “blah”. Color work is hard. I will be the first to admit. I like to give myself plenty of time to sweat through it.
Taylour – I love the inspiration for your print, and it really fits the spirit of Wanderlust…Not everyone knows about Chinese illustration and painting, so give us some examples.
I want to end with a couple of quotes:
“Everywhere you look, you’ll find patterns and motifs surrounding you; you just have to ‘see’ them” – Lotta Jansdotter, Lotta Prints
“Developing a creative eye means first of all learning to look. It means discovering what you like, what shapes, colours, moods and themes say most to you and spark your imagination. In a sense, it is also a question of developing confidence in your own preferences so that you can make visual and critical judgments. In other words, so that you can edit and select.” – Orla Kiely, Pattern
Designers, take some pressure off of yourself by viewing this competition as a gift and an opportunity to grow as a designer. You already have your unique point of view…celebrate that. Let us know who you are as a designer and share your creative eye with the world!
Most of all, don’t forget to HAVE FUN!!