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Featured Designer: Nacho Filella

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To wrap up this week we are so excited to feature these fun and vibrant pattern designs by Nacho Filella! Nacho is the founder of Nacho Filella Design, a Textile and Surface Design Studio located near Miami, Florida. Since founding the studio in 2001, Nacho has designed for companies in the USA, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Australia, “creating patterns and prints for a wide range of products, including fabrics for interiors, fashion and swimwear as well as gift wrap, paper bags and other paper products.”

Of the studio’s design aesthetic Nacho writes, “we integrate the European tradition in our work, together with global influences and new trends. Also, the light and environment of the Mediterranean, where our main designer comes from, is always present in our creations. In this way, we combine textures, graphics, forms and colors to create innovative designs that excite, surprise and delight.”

For a healthy dose of colorful patterns to start your weekend off right, be sure to check out more of Nacho’s wonderful work at his website, Enjoy your weekend! -Chelsea

Found Patterns: Stained Glass


Images via: (Clockwise from top left)  “Véranda dite de la Salle” by Alexandre Prévot “Stained Glass” by Dan Sloane Stained glass 03” by Kirsty Hall Canterbury Stained glass window n3” by J Guffogg “Stained glass” by Jeff Noble,  Chateau Stained Glass” by James Temple (cropped from original),  “More stained glass!” by Connie Ma,  Chartres Cathedral — rose window” by Dimitry B.

Crafting a beautiful About page

Writing an About page is one of the most challenging steps to developing a professional website, but it is also one of the most important pages on your site. This page is your opportunity to tell your story and connect with clients on a deeper level. An About page should explain:

 1. Your design philosophy and inspiration. What inspires you? Is it the customer, nature, family or developing innovative concepts for the marketplace?

2. The techniques or processes that you prefer to use. Do you typically hand-paint designs and then work with them in Photoshop? Do you prefer to start each project with in-depth customer research because that is what is most important to you?

3. The types of clients you enjoy working with. Let people know what types of clients you enjoy working with most and why. It’s a great chance to let your personality show through in a professional, targeted way.

4. What markets do you enjoy working in? Letting potential clients know the areas that you have experience in and enjoy working in is very important. A future client wants to know that you’d be excited about the opportunity to work with them.


As part of our upcoming Portfolio Development Workshop we created a template that gives designers a step-by-step guide for writing a compelling About page and dives deep into the four topics mentioned above, but what else contributes to a beautiful About page?


1) A Welcome Message

If a visitor simply glances at your About page what do you want them to take away? This description should contain your marketing message but with a more personal touch. Share your passion for what you create and how you make your client’s lives that much better.


2) Include a Picture

I know, I know…this can be hard to swallow for the “behind the scenes designer” but it is a helpful way to increase your chances of engaging potential clients. Who doesn’t like looking at photos, especially when you are considering working with someone? It’s nice to put a face to the name. In fact, Hubspot Blog reports that Twitter accounts with a profile picture have 10 times more followers than those without one. If you don’t want a traditional portrait picture, have a friend take an action shot of you sketching or working at the computer.


3) Share Testimonials

Testimonials are a great way to calm any worries that potential clients may have. In The Portfolio Development Workshop we walk you step by step through the process of reaching out to past clients and colleagues for testimonials that work for your business.


4) Call to Action

A “call to action” is a button or link that you place on your website to drive prospective customers to take action. This button should direct viewers to wherever you want to drive traffic. For some designers the “call to action” may be a contact me button; others may decide on a sign-up spot for a newsletter or even an invitation to directly view their portfolio. The choice is up to you and what is aligned with your business model.


5) Brag

This may seem challenging and it can be a tough thing to do for certain individuals but it’s important to share your successes.


“What most site owners miss is that your About Page is actually about the person who clicks the link to see it. Talk to that person about why they should bother reading your site. Talk about the problems you solve. Talk about how you can help. Talk about what they’re interested in.” ~ Sonia Simone ~


During The Portfolio Development Workshop, we guide you step-by-step through the entire process of building your own WordPress website that will become the hub of your business. We’ll share how to tailor our exclusive Pattern Observer template to speak to the right market, buyers, and agents for your artistic style and you’ll finish the workshop feeling empowered and ready to share your work with the world.

Interested in a sneak peak? Download a free lesson from this four week workshop here.


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Using the Image Trace Command

*August Tech Talk by Sherry London. Each month Sherry London brings The Textile Design Lab an in-depth post on how to improve our design process by using technology to its fullest capacity. This is an excerpt of a longer post available to members of The Textile Design Lab. Join us to access the full post!


One of the frequent requests I’ve gotten as a result of my blog posts is to talk about the Image trace command in Illustrator (called Live Trace in pre-CS6 versions). My Jan 2014 and Feb 2014 blog posts on drawing for scanning and fixing scans in Photoshop should give you a clear idea of what a “good, cleaned scan” for Illustrator tracing looks like.


Now, you are ready to turn it into vectors. Let’s look at the “no frills” method (in the full post available in The Textile Design Lab I will show you some ways to improve that result.)

The basic steps are very easy:

1. Open your raster image in Illustrator using the File > Open command.

2. Select the raster with the Selection tool.

3. Click Image Trace (or Live Trace) on the Control Panel to trace the image.


4. Click Expand. (In Live Trace, you can click Expand or Live Paint—for this example, just click Expand.)


This is the resulting image. You can see a huge number of anchor points and what looks like a lot of white paths in the Layers panel (as well as two compound paths)

The compound path that is one up from the bottom is the cactus plant outline with all the leaves cut out. The larger compound path is the white background of the image. The other white path layers are the leaves of the plant.

This trace leaves you with a white area inside each leaf, a single connected outline around the entire cactus that includes the shape of the individual leaves, and an outside shape. It isn’t a bad or unacceptable result, but it can be improved. Let’s look at the Image Trace dialog box and see what you can change.


The Dialog Box

Adobe made a huge change in the dialog box and in the way the command works between CS5 and CS6. I am not totally convinced that the results are better, but the changes make it harder to move from version to version.


CS5 Tracing Options

CS4 and 5 had many fewer options in Live Trace, and these options were divided into a few controls on the Control panel and all them repeated in the Live Trace Options dialog box. The Min area in CS5 has been replaced with the Threshold slider in CS6 and above. Since I no longer have a working copy of CS5 installed, I’ll use the CC2014 screen shots for the rest of this.

Here’s the CC2014 version of Tracing Options:


Let’s look at the changes that these control can make.



Presets are shortcuts that change some of the sliders and settings in the dialog box for you and save you the work of doing it yourself. You can use them as a starting point and still make changes or you can use them as is. You can also save your own settings as a preset if you find that you have a consistent group of settings that you like.



Can you draw smooth lines, or does your hand wobble a bit a bit when you draw? Have you got some stray pixels you forgot to clean up in Photoshop?

The Threshold setting in the main dialog box and the Noise setting in the Advanced controls can alter the default settings to get you the tracing you want. The Threshold setting determines how dark a line must be before it’s considered to be black (and traceable).


The Shape of Shapes

In Fills mode, Image Trace creates filled shapes—not stroked paths. Shapes are closed paths composed of multiple anchor points. These anchor points can be either corner points or curve points. Curve points make the line curve (!) and corner points give the lines sharp corners and straight edges.

Left to its defaults, Illustrator prefers to create more corners than curves and to snap curves where possible into straight lines. That’s great if you’re trying to trace rectangles but not as helpful if you have mostly curves.

So, Illustrator has settings in the Image Trace dialog box that help to guide it to make the type of shapes you prefer. A curve is not better than a corner; the issue is what you want to see.


Join us in The Textile Design Lab to access the full version of this post and learn how to put yourself into the driver’s seat with the various Image Trace settings. In the extended post Sherry goes into further depth about Presets, Noise, Paths and Corners, and the Method and Ignore White controls. Enjoy!