3 ways to avoid pigeonholing in PRINT and pattern design


I want to share 3 ways to avoid pigeonholing in your print and pattern design. If you embrace experimentation and play, you will push your creative boundaries to the realm of “I didn’t know this was possible for me!”

Sound good? Let’s Dive In.


I want to take you on a little time hop (I’ll make it short) to my first 6 months as a professional creative.


This was 2010, I was fresh out of art Uni with a portfolio full of hand-painted artwork, hangers full of silk design samples, a heap of passion, and a boatload of raw talent…. Oh and a cruise ship full of nerves. (just setting the scene)


I was working in-house and at first, I felt like I had things figured out. (because I had created a successful degree collection that all sold in a couple of weeks). But in reality, I had no idea what a commercial designer entailed.


As the weeks passed, I was given different briefs and projects by my art director. I was nervous each time not sure how to tackle each one. Nevertheless, I fulfilled them and they sold.


My print and pattern design was going well but then this happened.

I was called into the office to discuss the similarity in my work. No design looked the same as the other. That wasn’t the problem. But they were all of the same ilk. This meant they were all appealing to a certain customer. I was disheartened until I realised that in fact, there was so much more potential in the skills I already had.


So in a nutshell. I was in a rut with my print and pattern design…already. (To be clear at this point I was still selling well and getting commissions)


How did I get over it?

I went back to the drawing board, thought like a novice, and played. We can get so caught up in the process of commercialism, we forget we are all students in this thignb called life. Oh and as an artist and designer, you’re always learning.

Here are 3 things I learned…

1. Refreshing your style and your approach to action will avoid the plateau before it arises.


2. We need to be encouraging evolution before extinction.


3. This all boils down to utilising the skills you already own to stop your work from looking samey.


You probably know that I’m big on flowers right… but what you might not know is the techniques of watercolour I also use to design other types of print. These all cross very well into creating skin prints, textures, non-prints, stripes, and checks, conversationals, tie-dye (to name a few).


How can this help your print and pattern design?

Perhaps you’ve felt a little like this but you too probably already have a whole load of skills that you are not making the most out of.

How many times do you see something on Instagram or Pinterest and think? “I would never have thought about using X like that.”

Once I started stepping out of my comfort zone and was pushed to try new things I started jumping onto successful trends that would not have been possible for me before. If I wasn’t given the brief, I would never have tried it.


Inside my membership In-house Creative I dive deep into a new technique and pattern style every month, as well as new ideas and inspiration. This is the type of constant idea generation and experimentation that allows and encourages your creative self to evolve and thrive.

Click here to join the waitist and hear all the other fabulous things included in the membership when it next opens. For the price of a coffee and cake a week, you could be building a print business of your dreams.



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