Surface Pattern Design: The Emerging Industry in the World of Design

Have you ever imagined a world or your surroundings in just solids? How plain and lifeless it would be! Patterns certainly play a crucial role. We see them exist in nature, from rainbows; water ripples to spider webs, honeycombs, and the markings on animal coats. When it comes to art, we have witnessed patterns that have been in use in ancient times. Remember the famous artist, William Morris, and his splendid prints for textiles and wallpaper? They create life to a piece of art, fabric, or to any of the materials that you use, which leads to the growth of the surface pattern design industry and the need for an artist or a designer who can create magical patterns to bring life to people’s souls.

What is Surface Pattern Design?

The term ‘Surface Pattern Design’ is fairly new, though this style of art exists for years, but not known or famous as Graphic Design or Photography. It is a skill or an artwork specifically created and applied as surface decorations to enhance the visual appearance or functionality of a product.

Where do we find Surface Pattern Design?

Look around. You will find it everywhere. From your bed covers and your towels, to the clothes you are wearing and sometimes on the walls to make it look fancy.

What does a Surface Pattern Designer do?

Textile designers, often called surface pattern designers, are designers who create artwork which is printed onto fabric for use in the apparel, fashion and home marketplace. In addition to creating original artwork, textile designers create patterns and repeats that give life, energy and movement to the surfaces. To be a successful Surface Pattern Developer, understanding trends, colour forecasting and having one’s own design personality is the entire key.

What are the career paths for a Surface Pattern Designer?

The answer to this lies in your goals and preferences as the options are myriad.

Freelance Designer: As the textile and surface pattern designer, one has the opportunity to work as a freelancer or a self-employed designer. Setting up your own business, finding clients, brands and serving to them directly.

Licensor: Licencing your pattern designs will mean selling your own designs to your suitable client yet retaining the copyright. This occupation merely works on a contract based that allows the client to use your designs with an agreed terms and conditions. Post the contract, your client cannot use it without your permission.

Designer/Maker: You might have a creative vision of wanting to bring your own designs to life in the form of a product. This will allow you to be the creator of the design as well as the product where your role will be from the initial concept building to the selling of that product in the market.

Full time Employee in a textile company or a brand: We have various fashion and lifestyle brands who hire in-house designers and manufacturers to create designs for them that will legally called under the specific brand/name of the company. This won’t be like 9 to 5 desk job, but a full time exposure with challenges and creativity.

Educator: If you become the master of this art, you also have the window open to teach and educate the prospective designers and students about surface pattern design, its roles and techniques in the industry.

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How to Get Started as a Surface Pattern Designer? Tips and Guidelines

Do you want to know how to get started as a surface pattern designer? Atisha Design Studio suggests few tips and guidelines that can help you craft a living.

Do you find yourself obsessing over prints and patterns? It could be anything from large, bold motifs to abstracts or ditzy floras’ too. If you are creative-driven, have an interest in emerging fashion, and love exploring new techniques, you might enjoy an exciting and rewarding career in surface pattern design. Here are a few tips and guidelines to get you started as a surface pattern designer.

1. Learn the art of Surface Pattern Design: A surface pattern designer is an artist or a doodler who creates two-dimensional designs that are suitable for a wide range of applications, for example, fabric, homeware, bed and kitchen linen, wallpapers, stationery, and gift cards, etc. You do not need to be a pro artist or someone good at making portraits. Basic sketching and creative imagination is just enough to harness your career in this field. Seek proper training and courses from the experts to understand the fundamental elements of design and the techniques to transform your doodles and sketches into motifs and repeat patterns.

2. Carving out your niche: Your characteristics and persona is what defines you. Similarly, it works for surface pattern design too. You want to be unique, authentic and let people know what your style is before you dive into your career. You can build a great sense in developing quirky prints or someone who finds a hidden talent in making abstract flowers or maybe just like the tropical vibe. Once you learn the art, you will find your way to master your style. Here’s a tip: To be known in the market, Find your own personal style and stick with it.

3. Design your cohesive collection: Once you master the art, the next step is to understand how to develop prints for various products and making a collection. This phase includes a heavy research, choosing the target audience, developing a well-structured mood board, evaluating trends, creating prints (main motif and pattern co-ordinates) and developing the range. You can also pick an industry or a product category of where you want to create prints for.

4. Build a compelling portfolio: Building a strong portfolio is a crucial step in getting your foot in the door in the surface pattern design industry. A designer’s portfolio is required to win job contracts, to demonstrate competency in the field, and to showcase the usage of artwork in different areas of design; Fashion, Interior, and Product.

5. Build your presence and generate revenue: Understand the general communication and marketing skills and learn to build your presence in the market. You can work as a freelance surface pattern designer and or can also find a suitable job in a well-reputed company or a brand. While you do that, make sure you also build your community around your design through blogs, tweets, social media, and reach out to various surface pattern designer’s community. It will help people know what you do and to connect you with further clients. 

6. Know that you can: Last but not the least. Do not forget to be confident in what you do. A confident person can achieve anything in this world. Believe in your artwork and trust your skills. Once you achieve that, you will create wonders.

If you’re ready to do this, you should go and check out our course