Design Challenge One: MaJo Bautista V

The Tourist Guides / 10" x 10"

The Tourist Guides / 10″ x 10″

The Tourist Guides / detail

The Tourist Guides / detail

The Tourist Guides / color coordinates

The Tourist Guides / color coordinates

0.MaJoBV_profile-picsFinally… the moment we have all been waiting for: the disclosure of the design we’ve been working for the past month. I was so happy when I got the brief because the theme means a lot to me.

My years at design school (especially those back in Industrial Design in Colombia) helped me develop my own design methodology. When I design, I like telling a story or at least giving some meaning to my work. It is very hard for me to just sit down and draw if I don’t really know what I’m trying to communicate. There has to be a theme from which I then create a concept, and from it, design.

The first step then, is to decide a theme. This time it was easy because it was given to us: wanderlust. Once I have the theme I like to get to its etymological origins, so I usually grab my dictionaries (real and virtual) and start writing the meanings of each single word in the theme’s title. In this case there was only one word, so it was simpler.


I had an idea of what wanderlust meant (something about travelling), but had never really thought about it; it was time to squeeze its connotations out. Second step: brainstorming. I started with a white sheet of paper on which I wrote wanderlust in a big fluffy cloud (that’s how I always start my brainstorm maps… hihihi). Then I opened my dictionary and discovered something wonderful: wanderlust comes from two German words wandern (to hike) and Lust (desire) (I’m in my second year of German and the more I study it, the more I fall in love with it - it is just so beautifully logical - so it was a nice surprise to discover this).

wanderlust = desire to hike (literally), but in English it is intended as a strong desire to travel.

I couldn’t stop there, though… I wanted to know if there was more behind the word. I decided to google it, and found a pretty interesting article on wikipedia and a phrase that struck me immediately: crave for travel. My brainstorm cloud migrated to the word travel and what it meant to me (by the way… traveling is one of my biggest passions). For me to travel means to explore, observe, learn and meet new cultures and places. I love discovering everything that makes part of that new place: its people and their customs, its language(s), its arts & crafts, its costumes, its geography and biodiversity,  its weather, its beliefs - the list is just endlessbut there’s one thing that intrigues most travellers (including me) - its food.

The moment I wrote that 4 letter word down I knew what my design concept was going to be. Somewhere in my brainstorm there was the crave for travel phrase that had caught my attention before, and now I had just written one of my many mundane pleasures: food… in that moment, the concept became obvious to an eternal-dieter hence an eternal-craver for all things a dieter shouldn’t eat: food trips; world famous country-dish/beverage/ingredient combinations (ex. Japan + sushi or Italy + pizza).

Time for the third step: sketch possible motifs (dishes from different countries).

Time for the third step: sketch possible motifs (dishes from different countries).

There are so many places in the world and so many tasty dishes, but I had to limit my choice to some of the most common ones (sorry if I didn’t include your favorite or your country) and also some of the ones I personally know and love (to make the design my own). At the end I chose 12 countries > 12 dishes > 12 tourist guides to accompany you on your trip around the world:

  • Juan Café (Colombia): coffee (after all, we produce the best coffee in the world)
  • Captain Hamburger (USA): hamburger (there’s nothing like an old-style hamburger in a 50s diner)
  • Bruno Casanova (Italy): Nutella (one of my many italian guilty pleasures with gelato, pizza and pasta)
  • Mr. Mariachi (Mexico): tacos (love love love Mexican cousine…)
  • Herr Currywurst (Germany): currywurst (mmm… so tasty!)
  • A Garota (Brazil): feijoada (yummy black beans!)
  • Putin on the Eggs (Russia): caviar and vodka shots (don’t really my thing, but find them very chic)
  • Yoko & Ono (Japan): sushi (love shrimp nigiri)
  • Mrs. Noodlehead (China): noodles (there’s no Chinese dinner without soy noodles)
  • Ladies Macaroons (France): macaroons (so pretty)
  • Queen Teapot (UK): tea + shortbread (so regal)
  • Frites Jr. (Belgium): french fries (’cause they are actually Belgian!)
meet the guides :)

meet the guides :)

Once I had chosen the final motifs, I knew I had to visually give the overall pattern more of an obvious travel element. It then came to me: make a pois pattern using typical souvenir plates (you know, the ones at least someone in your family is likely to collect), and add the bon voyage phrase in different languages (in honor of my love for languages).

Colouring was the most difficult part because I wanted to create a coherent color palette despite the many different ingredients I had drawn. I started colouring Yoko & Ono and from there coloured the other ones (paying attention to use colours that would go nicely with the ones I’d chosen for the sushi). I ended up with a delicate pastel palette with some darker brown accents. The pattern was looking good: soft and balanced, very cute and very me all in all. I had to choose three coordinate solid colours too, so I thought… ‘this is my time to play with some brighter colours’: peach, banana and kiwi are three vivid colours that perfectly complement The Tourist Guides pattern (just see how they nicely match it on the tea towel mock-up below).


I guess I’ve already said too much… don’t want to take any more of your time (hihihi). Before I finish, I wanted you all to know I had lots of fun working on this very first challenge and its theme (hope it reflects on my work), and that it was impossible for me not to imagine crafters around the world using The Tourist Guides pattern to make useful kitchen linens and other accessories… what do you think?

Bye, bye and see you next month (hopefully!) with a brand new design :P

About MaJo BV

Fashion, Textile and Surface Pattern Designer in L♥VE with whimsical, bright, quirky, fun design, nails, dogs and fake eyelashes :)
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40 comments on “Design Challenge One: MaJo Bautista V

  1. Fantastic design, full of energy and fun!

  2. Just wonderful!Love the history behind, love the pictures and the pattern congrats and lots of luck xx!

  3. Love it Majo :-) Very bright design!

  4. You’re an artist! Love the story behind it, how you turned it into a beautiful pattern and very important: it appetizes my wanderlust! (First of all: let’s find the nutella in my cupboard!)

  5. Fun Majo, great idea and great designs, yummie :-) good luck!!!

  6. Super sweet design Majo! Very ‘you’. Now I’m actually a bit hungry ;)

  7. Looks wonderful and very you Majo. Kx

  8. Love the way your brain works, MaJo and the design is fabulous….. anything with Nutella on it gets a big thumbs up from me :-) xx

  9. Brilliant Majo! Love your approach to this challenge. Through food you touch peoples hearts. You touched mine with your design and execution. Bravo!!!

  10. I love these little characters Majo! Can I order some tea towels now??

    • Thank you Kim!
      They’ll soon be on my spoonflower shop (for those who like sewing) and also on my envelop shop (for those who prefer just to get ready-to-use pretty things ;) )

  11. MaJo, as I mentioned over on fb, I absolutely love how you incorporated food and travel! My foodie side was very impressed! Your thought process was awesome, as were your illustrations and use of color. Great job!

  12. this challenge was made for you, the world traveler, Majo! wonderfully full presentation and i really like “crave” for travel. the food items are adorable and what a lot of thought went into it all. great word maps!

  13. Rebecca on said:

    Really cute & quirky design Majo. I love the tea towels too!

  14. So cool MaJO! Really modern and fun!

  15. Amazing job MaJo! As if you could produce anything less!! Love the color palette and the illustrative style of your design. I wish I could work & design & think & act half as fast as you can. Always in awe! Keep it up!

  16. Holly Helgeson on said:

    Adorable! I love your take on the theme! You did a marvelous job of taking us on a food tour! I am really hungry all of a sudden….Very, very fun design MaJo!

  17. Fantastic blog post MaJo! I love the explanation about how your approach your design work! Super fun theme and definitely speaks to one of my favorite parts of traveling. Many of our trips are planned around our favorite food spots. Super cute theme, design and motifs. Really well done!

  18. This is one of the most enjoyable process journals I’ve had the pleasure of reading! You end product turned out great, it’s so whimsical and adorable. It also, as a whole, makes me really hungry.

  19. Jessica Majers on said:

    Very sweet fabric design! Not to mention you focused on the BEST part of travel- the food!

  20. Majo, Great combination of ideas, colors, textures and designs. Food is the best way to know a country and its people.

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