Creating a sizzling, unique signature style when designing fabrics, wallpaper and home fashions involves a combination of creativity, consistency, and exploration. Your signature style is what sets your designs apart from others and makes them instantly recognizable as yours. Someone could walk into a store....see something with your artwork on it...and they immediately know that you are the designer, before they even look at the labels!
Here's a step-by-step guide to help you develop your own signature style in pattern design:
1. Research and Inspiration:
Start by researching different fabric design styles, techniques, and trends. What looks do YOU love when it comes to clothing and home decor? Who do you admire? Maybe it's Ralph Lauren and his classic preppy look. Perhaps it's Orla Kiely, famous for her mod, bold look that reminds you of the 1960s. Or it could be a culture, such as the mud cloth designs of Africa.
2. Identify Key Elements:
Then ask yourself: "what is it about this look that I am so drawn to?" It could be certain colors, patterns, motifs, textures, or themes. These elements will be the building blocks of your signature style. Create a mood board for inspiration and reference. It could be a physical mood board (tack sheets of paper to a bulletin board) or something created digitally (in Canva or Illustrator).
3. Distinct Color Palette:
Develop a distinct color palette that fits in with your personal style. This doesn't mean you can't use different colors, but think about what kind of mood you want to create. For example, you may feel that working with soft pastels is your jam. Or maybe strong jewel tones. Or a clean palette of black, white, and shades of grey and beige.
4. Personal Touch:
Who are you designing for? Chances are, it's you. If that's the case, infuse a bit of your personality and experiences into your designs. This could be a subtle reference, an emotional connection, or a message that you want to convey through your work. If you're designing for someone else, what kind of person are they? Are there any celebrities or people who are well known in social media circles who would be the perfect buyer for your fabrics and products? Give a lot of thought to this, because whoever your "muse" is will help guide you as you create your designs.
5. Practice and Refinement:
Developing a signature style takes time and practice. Don't sweat it if you get stuck along the way. This is why it's important to have a moodboard, color palette, and an ideal customer in mind. Ask yourself: "Would he or she buy this? Wear this?" Keep creating designs that align with your chosen elements, themes, and techniques. As you continue to work, your style will evolve and refine itself.
Pro tip: don't go down the Instagram rabbit hole, looking at everyone else's signature style once you've fleshed out your own. Give yourself time to work on your own style. Otherwise you'll keep doubting yourself. Vincent van Gogh painted starry nights, sunflowers, people, landscapes, his shoes and plenty of other objects, but when you see one of his paintings, you know immediately that he created it. That's how strong and sizzling your signature style should be! Stay true to your creative instincts and don't be afraid to let your personality shine through your designs.