Monday, 5 January 2015

Aims for 2015!

I thought it would be really beneficial for me to establish my aims for 2015 so I have something to drive me forward!

I feel like 2014 was a very disjointed year and marked a massive transition from university life to proper adult life. Many exciting things happened such as graduating from Leeds University, exhibiting at New Designers 2014 in London and finally moving into my first proper flat with my boyfriend in Liverpool. I finally started selling my own designs via Etsy and also began putting my work out there and approaching design firms.

I have succumbed to the fact that I need to find a way to support myself financially while I work to build up my design experience, so I have got a full time job in retail which is pretty stress free and takes off the pressure, allowing me to pay my bills and put money into producing my designs on a small scale. I also wouldn't mind a few holidays this year!! I know that developments within my design career will not happen overnight so it's important to keep working as I can assure you that financial worries seriously hinder the design process. I'm just really looking on the bright side of life this year.. I just want to do things that make me happy.

Aims for this year...

1. Explore the idea of becoming a Design and Technology teacher. This is a career I have always had at the back of my mind and I have decided to go into school to get a little experience and see if it is for me.. If so then hopefully I will be training to do this in the near future!

2. Expand my Etsy card shop and work on a range of cute character driven cards. I have a few ideas about creating lines for all occasions focusing on certain characters as a way to build more of a brand identity. Designing cards is something I find really fun and it's not about making money but rather getting my illustrations out into the public.

4.Also to get some larger quantities of cards printed and try to get them into a few independent shops in the UK. This is also just another that I could see which of my ideas have the most potential.

3.Send off my best print designs to as many places as possible. This year I really need to get my name out into the design studios and I really really would love to sell one of my designs to a studio/ company. I came close to doing so a few times last year but it always seemed to fall through, although coming close has made me even more determined to do this!

Thanks for reading, things have slowed down since I have had to start working full time but I'm hoping to get into more a schedule with everything in the next few weeks.

Stephanie X

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

My Christmas Card collection 2014

I would like to share my 2014 Christmas Card collection.

I am selling these cards over in my Etsy store and would love to get any feedback on the designs themselves as well as some sales!

I think Christmas is a time when people should look to independent retailers and give a little support, even if that only involves buying just one Christmas card for a special someone. It will mean the absolute world, and many creatives are willing to create custom designs just for you!

A little more about the imaginative journey of these cards... my idea was to try and create designs which are unique yet still identifiable with people of all ages, and of course an element of humour. I think the best cards are those which truly bring a smile to my face who doesn't love a cute little overweight penguin or a funny little Christmas pud?!

Buy the cards here

23 sleeps till Christmas!

Thanks for reading, Stephanie X

Friday, 12 September 2014

My design studio book shelf bible

Today I have a post about my book shelf bible. I love to collect inspirational books and bits and pieces everywhere I go and love being able to look back on the memories! I always like to keep this particular book in my design studio at all times to be able to quickly flick through and get any technical instruction I sometimes find I need- and I think that is what makes this book so great!

I may have studied design for five years, but I feel like if I had never studied at all I could have taught myself the basics of creating patterns with this book... the rest is just about imagination! So if there are any amateur pattern designers or new students reading this.. this would be my ideal recommendation to find your surface pattern design feet...

'The Complete Guide to Designing and Printing Fabric' 
Laurie Wisburn

This book has fantastic tutorials ranging from creating different repeats on both Photoshop and Illustrator to printing by hand using potato prints and screen printing. I feel like this book is really targeted towards the absolute beginner, and the kind of person who would like to try out pattern design without investing too much money. I love the design of the book with so many beautiful pages full of colour. It guides you through the whole design process from finding and using inspiration, creating prints and methods of printing and finally gives tips about how to approach going professional! It's a great book for potential freelancers to read a little about how it can be done. This is easily my surface pattern design bible!

I hope this has been helpful!

Thanks for reading, Stephanie X

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

New direction and a little sneak peek

I have had so much time to reflect upon my design style since graduating and after considering the feedback I received at New Designers I have decided to take my design style in a new direction. I am going to focus on the design methods which I find the most inspiring and successful and design primarily for the children's market. I believe the kind of designs I will be working on could suit either a quirky adult or any child and I feel I need to do this is ensure that I am creating the most exciting work possible!

To coincide with this new work, I am currently working hard on a new brand identity which I am really excited to share with you once I have created all the relevant artwork for all of my online platforms. I am really excited to take my work in a direction which I truly believe in and can't wait to develop it further in the coming months and properly launch my freelance business. 

Here are a few little tasters of the kind of surface patterns I have been working on recently. These patterns are applicable for many different products, but I just wanted to try a different product and see how they looked on mugs.

Thanks for reading, Stephanie X

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Make it in Design Summer School Final Brief: Intricate Chaos

So I'm back with my final but definitely best submission to the Make it in Design Summer School. I was following the advanced track with the theme 'Intricate Chaos', and I can't begin to tell you how much I loved this theme. I instantly had buckets of imagination and feel like this theme fits well into my intricate pen drawing method which is the kind of drawing I do to relax and chill out. I find that when I do big drawings with intricate detail that I just start off with a vague idea and let my imagination add the little details which results in an original design every time! 

I enjoyed every moment of creating this design and also loved designing for wallpaper, as it's something I haven't touched on since the start of my final year of University. I feel that bedding, curtain and wallpaper designs can relate to each other pretty easily with a change of scale and colour here and there so it always feels like designing wallpaper is something I can always dip into.

I have loved working on a mini Make it in Design project as it gave a great taster of what the actual school is like without committing financially. I definitely want to do the more advanced levels of the Design School once I have the money, as I really think that marketing and actually selling my work is the one area that my design degree has failed me in. I can't wait to do it, and it gives me hope to see other amateur designers continuing to try and break into the industry or just love developing pretty patterns as a hobby- I know I am not the only one struggling! Seeing the pro-active and motivated nature of all these other designer makers makes me so very happy.

So here is my final design, I probably would just call it 'Intricate Chaos' as it is just one huge explosion of pattern!

Check out the courses that 'Make in in Design' offer, I want to just say a massive thank you to them for this great opportunity. 

Thanks for reading, Stephanie X

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

V & A Museum pattern inspiration

Today I just wanted to share some pattern inspiration I recently found when visiting the V & A museum in London. I could spend an eternity exploring the museums of London and am in awe of the amazing artifacts that can be found! I found the iron works section within the V & A really interesting with lots of beautiful and dramatic big shapes which wind and entwine into each other. I feel like these kind of shapes just scream interior fabric design- particularly curtains, as the large scale would really show off the dramatic shapes which are full of movement. I can't wait to start drawing from these photographs... be inspired and enjoy!

Thanks for reading, Stephanie X

Monday, 1 September 2014

Tips for keeping the faith after graduating!

I am determined that this post is not going to be a moan, but that it can help to inspire other people in my current position who might be feeling like that there is no light at the end of the tunnel! Since graduating and exhibiting at New Designers 2014 I feel things have gone pretty quiet and at times I have been feeling low about my struggle to find employment within a design studio. I know there must be others who feel the same, so I have made a list of ways to try to beat the post-graduation blues and keep focused on your career goals.

1. Try really hard not to compare yourself to others. This runs true throughout all aspects of life, but feeling jealous of someone else's career taking off won't make you feel any better about yourself. People are presented with opportunities at different times and it is much more positive to be happy about your fellow struggling designers finding their way onto the career ladder.

2. Entering competitions is a great way to keep your design juices flowing and challenging yourself with different briefs. Remember that winning competitions could result in the big break you need so it's really important to take the opportunities that established studios set up and keep trying until you succeed. I regularly enter the Tigerprint monthly competition as well as Spoonflower weekly competitions. That's just the tip of the iceberg as there are sooo many companies and organisations out there looking to find the next big talent.

3. Set yourself goals ensuring that some are reachable and some are your ultimate dream goals. It's good to always know where you are headed as it can help you to try and plan your path to success. Split your weeks into daily goals so that you keep on track and don't feel stressed by looking at a long list of things you want to do. I like to blog my progress as I know I will love to look back at it in years to come and it's something I'd recommend doing.

4. Be creative every day and believe in your work. I feel fortunate that I am able to do what I am passionate about from the comfort of my own home, and always make sure I do something creative every day as it makes me feel great and gives me a sense of accomplishment. I have certain design collections which I am now working to develop and so I make sure everything I create relates to my work in progress. Believe that your work is good enough and show it to everyone so they can also tell you how great it is!

5. Find part time work so you can take the financial pressure off yourself. Don't take a full time job in something else for the sole purpose of moving out if you are lucky enough to be able to stay at home. If you find part time work you will have lots of time to develop your designs and apply for studio roles. I am finding this so stressful at the moment, as my student loan has been long spent and I need to bring in some money and I really don't want to sign on for unemployment benefits.

6. Be focused and realistic when job hunting. It's really easy to spread yourself too thin and apply for five jobs every day. You need to spend time on each application and tailor what you are sending to each company or you have no hope of getting anywhere considering how many people apply for each job. It's better to apply for two jobs every day and really take the time to spend a few hours on each.

7. Sign up to design newsletters. I find that this helps me to feel 'in the loop' when I receive little snippets of news from design communities every few days. It's also a great way to find out about competitions or exhibitions that may be running.

8. Visit exhibitions, trade shows and galleries. There is always something going on wherever you live, and there is no way anyone can be creative without soaking up some inspiration regularly. Your work is always going to be ten times better if you have taken many influences and incorporated them all into your individual style. It will give you something to aspire to!

9. Don't give up on your dreams. I truly believe that talent is a very small part of success, and that is is more important to have perseverance, absolute determination and an ability to take knock backs and become stronger. It takes a lot of time, patience and dedication to keep sending your work out and developing your design. If you don't give up, it will happen for you!

I hope this maybe made someone else's day a little brighter!

Thanks for reading, Stephanie X