Making Connections 2 – Self Reflection

Overall I have found this Making Connections brief very beneficial, as it has given me the chance to learn so much about professional practise and what it takes to be a professional designer working in industry. The fast pace speed of research, development and designing to a trend, as been such great preparation for next years final modules and then on into industry. I was a bit apprehensive at first about having to choose a company to design on behalf of, as it’s not something that I’ve done before. Although after extensive research into Stationery, Fashion and Interiors, I settled on the Interiors market and then further research into relevant companies using processes I like to use. I eventually came across my chosen company Caitlin Wilson Textiles, after discovering an art blog where Caitlin was interviewed about her key inspirations and creation of her company/ design development.

The whole brief has been great research into what life would be like designing for a company, rather than just for myself. It has been a challenge at times trying to design using my own style, whilst staying in keeping with Caitlin Wilson’s design approach. I really enjoyed the whole process of researching on the trend forecasting site WGSN, for a appropriate season and theme to base my interiors collection round. Finally choosing the A/w’16/17 theme ‘Off Beat’, which uses a bold colour palette and suggested the use of embroidery, colourful compositions and off-set prints to name a few. Which I think I have used in parts throughout my final collection. As Caitlin Wilson’s collections are heavily influenced by the her travels, I decided to base my ‘Off Beat’ theme around my travels to Amsterdam, Holland over the Summer. I chose Amsterdam in particular, as I just love the iconic architecture, along side the use of bright colours across the city.

After enjoying the first part of the brief, I was quite apprehensive about returning back to part 2 after being away on my two field modules and the Christmas break. To start the term off, I tried to re-familiarise myself as much as possible, by re-reading my hypothetical brief and looking through my research to date, I started to feel very positive about the task ahead. Our Studio Design tasks were also great, as they focused on a different area of professional practise each week. From Colour theory and the importance of incorporating tints, harmonious colours and the meanings behind each colour. To the task about different types of design and working in croquis’ sizes. The only probably that I had with these tasks, is that I think they should have been carried out in the first term alongside our initial research. As at this point we had already confirmed our colour palettes and had began designing. I also felt as if it look a lot of time away from the most important thing, design development for our collection.

I’ve had a lot of fun over the last few weeks designing my collection, from looking through my summer sketchbook from my time in Amsterdam. My original aim was to use a few different techniques to create my designs, as I felt that there was a gap in Caitlin Wilson’s Collections for something a bit more hand rendered, as her work is very digital. I have also taken inspiration from a print marker I came across last term called Katharine Watson, who creates hand carved Linos, this was something that I was very keen to try and hopefully use more to give my designs a hand rendered feel. I then began to pick my favourite Illustrations to then beginning to develop them using a few different methods, from Lino carving/printing to live tracing then editing my drawings on Illustrator.

Below are my final 6 digital designs, overall I am quite happy with the way that they have turned out, as I have managed to incorporate my key drawings and colour palette. My aim for this brief was to use these different techniques, just to make the design process a bit more interesting rather than being all done digitally. Creating art boards has been so vital in my progression, as it is such a quick tool to create a selection of alternative colour ways and layouts in hardly anytime. The amount of designs that we have to create is also something that I’ve not done before, as I’ve only designed a collection of about 6, so coming up with enough ideas for a collection of 12 has been hard. Over the next month or so before our final summerative hand in, I would like to refine some of my designs a bit more just to give them a more professional look aimed at my client profile. All of my designs are quite bold and heavily patterned, so it would be nice to create another neutral background that will pair better with my busier designs.

Designing alternative colour ways has also been very fun, as changing the colour can really change the look of a pattern. As pictured below, with the left being my original and the other 2 being my alternatives using colours from my initial colour palette, before I narrowed it down.

The images below show my final 6 designs on fabric. Out of the whole collection development, these are what have caused me the most stress and deliberation. However the whole process from choosing what images to develop and then put onto a screen has been great practise into deciding what does and doesn’t work well. I think having a few months away from the print room, has really made a difference as I’ve felt quite out of practise. Having a cancelled session and the exposure unit, not exposing my screen properly has, taught me so much about the organisation needed to allow time for mistakes to happen. That’s what my main problem has been over the last couple of weeks, my time management in the print room and not allowing enough time for mistakes. Although I am pleasantly surprised with how they have come out and think that they can be worked over the next month to get the look I’m after. They all theme to be in the same colour scheme so I’d like to play round with printing in a couple of colours. Another problem that we all faced in the print room was equipment running out, such as the glue to foil and flock with. Meaning that I didn’t get the chance to develop my designs further.

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