“Florentina Print” is the alias of 24 year old designer Florentina Fischer Pereyra from Montevideo, Uruguay, who recently finished her studies as an architect. Florentina creates intricate hand-drawn florals and paisleys and trend-right photographic prints, all infused with a healthy dose of color.
“Firstly, I thought I wanted to become a fashion designer and afterward I got involved with architecture; but when I discovered the pattern and surface design world I realized that this was my thing. However, I don’t regret studying what I did, it really helps me to open my mind and discover infinite inspirations.
So I started to develop my career as an artist three years ago creating my artistic name: “Florentina Print”. I have not got the chance to work professionally as a pattern designer yet, but with any luck I will do this for a living someday!
Drawing has been my passion since I can remember, I really enjoy creating colourful art.
My best inspiration is focused on nature, I just love tropical flowers and birds, specially parrots and flamingos… that’s why I also look up to the Brazilian look, mostly Rio de Janeiro’s image because of its tropical and vivacious mood and culture. I really love vibrant and bright colours, fuchsia and turquoise are my favorite, they truly look so amazing in everything I can imagine.”
See more of Florentina’s work on her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Have a great weekend! -Chelsea
Emily Gorski is a Brooklyn-based textile and CAD designer who has designed for noteworthy home decor brands including West Elm and DwellStudio, “spanning the gamut in the home industry from bedding and pillows to rugs and upholstery.” She has recently made the transition from in-house designer to the world of freelance design–”I am in the very early stages of beginning to do my own thing but already am in love with all the design possibilities and freedom I now have at my fingertips. Hopefully another designer with a passion for pattern will find my story inspiring.” Read on to learn more about Emily’s time spent at DwellStudio, her thoughts on what makes a successful design for home furnishings, and more.
1) Tell us a bit about your design background. How did you find your way to the field of textile design?
I studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in a program called Fabric Styling. It was a broad range major that covered anything from photo styling, textile design and science and CAD for textile design. I really focused on the home industry because of my love for decorating my apartments. During my last semester I interned in the home industry and was quickly hired to be the in house CAD Designer. I manipulated purchased artwork for bedding, pillows, window and throws as well as created my own designs when needed. From there I moved on to DwellStudio as a Textile Designer since I got a taste of creating my own designs from scratch I wanted to do it in a bigger way. I always admired Dwell for their taste and design aesthetic and was honored to be able to be a part of that team.
2) How did you land your job at DwellStudio? Do you have any tips for designers to stand out and get a job with a big company?
I responded to an ad online. I sent over a quick email along with a link to my online portfolio. I think having a stand-out website is really important when applying to creative jobs. It is a huge reflection of yourself and you work, so take the time to make your website as good as it can be. I regularly update mine, which is time consuming but shows your passion in what you do. The possibilities of making a lovely website now are endless, you don’t need to know fancy code and can personalize templates on any host site. A cookie-cutter website is something that I think will easily get passed over.
3) Could you talk about your time spent at DwellStudio? What were your responsibilities? What were your favorite parts of the job?
I learned so much working at DwellStudio. It was essentially my first job solely as a Textile Designer. My responsibilities there included creating the actual designs for bedding, pillows, upholstery and rugs, making colorways, outputting the production ready design spec and reviewing the strikeoffs for color and design. The beginning of the process was always my favorite. The head designer would create beautiful inspiration/mood boards with ideas that DwellStudio wanted to pursue. From there you let your imagination run wild… researching, painting, drawing, CAD’ing up designs and ideas to show. Once an idea was accepted at the concept stage I really got to use my Textile Design skills, deciding how best to implement that design. Do I want to hand-draw or paint it or work on it completely in CAD. A skill that I think is really a lost art now is actually drawing your design out in scale AND in repeat. I luckily got to use this method for a design I worked on there. It is a time-consuming challenge but so nice to not have to rely on the computer for the whole process.
4) What are some of the most important factors to keep in mind when designing for home furnishings? What do you feel makes a successful print for this market and what are some of the challenges?
Designing for the home industry totally depends on your customer. So I think shopping the stores you are selling to is vital. I have worked on a broad range from mass market to high end. With your mass market customers it is important yes to seek some guidance from trends and seeing what’s out in the style-concious markets but the design always ends on a safer note- both design and importantly color. Designing for the higher end customer is more trend driven and actually harder in my opinion. A successful print is very laborious, and needs to have multiple eyes on it for design and color perspectives. Color plays a huge role in the home industry. A customer changes up their home significantly less than they change up their wardrobe. Color for upholstery, window, rugs and bedding needs to be slightly more timeless than say a pillow cover which people can replace seasonally.
5) Having recently branched into the freelance world, are there any skills you learned as an in-house designer that you are drawing on now to help build your own business?
I learned from great companies what is expected as a textile designer. I learned how to prep files correctly for the mills, working within specific color and repeat size guidelines. Also with multiple projects and their looming deadlines at once I learned to work in an organized and extremely time efficient manner.
6) Where do you gather inspiration for your work? Are there any resources that you recommend?
I use Pinterest to the fullest extent! You can really get lost down a rabbit hole full of good ideas and inspiration there. I love Uppercase magazine as well as the Celia Birtwell and Florence Broadhurst books I own as classic good design inspiration. I would say now as a freelancer I would like to use my traveling as a huge source of inspiration! The opportunities and ideas out there are endless. I even just enjoy going to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and looking at real flowers and plants up close. I almost immediately will be inspired for a great print or layout idea.
7) Who are your design heroes? What about them inspires you or influences your work?
I have a soft spot for William Morris. The repeats are incredible, so intricate and seamless with a beautiful hand. It really makes for my favorite type of look.
8) Do you have any words of advice for aspiring designers trying to make their way in this industry?
Whether freelancing or working in-house there is no right or wrong path, it is key to market yourself for your strengths. Work diligently on your portfolio/website because it is the first impression you will give to potential clients and employers.
Joy Laforme is one of our talented alumni and we are so pleased to share this interview with her leading up to our Sellable Sketch Group Study (starting next Monday the 28th in The Textile Design Lab.) Joy honed her collection-development skills in The Sellable Sketch and was kind enough to tell us a bit about her experience in the course and how she’s been building a successful freelance design business since taking our classes.
1) Tell us a bit about your experience in The Sellable Sketch. What challenges did you face before joining, and what did you take away from the course?
Before enrolling in the Pattern Observer course, I was a full time web design freelancer. I felt as though every project left me wanting more illustration and opportunity to make patterns. A friend of mine had suggested I try Spoonflower (which I fell in love with instantly!) but in order to make my fabric profitable, I needed some of the technical background, since I lacked basic fundamental knowledge about how to create a sellable and cohesive collection out of a creative idea.
After I finished the material in the course, I felt that I had a logical approach to creating a fabric collection that I could go back to on a regular basis while I continued to sharpen my illustrative skills. I have used Michelle’s lessons every time I approach a pattern, whether its for a collection, a commission, or a personal project. It’s helped me hone in my own personal aesthetic, which was no easy feat! Michelle’s logical approach to such a creative and fluid process helped me understand what it takes to make a sellable pattern.
During and after the course, I knew I needed to decide what areas of textile design I wanted to pursue. There are so many, it can be overwhelming. The idea of designing individual prints for direct sale with a studio appealed to me because of the immediate income. At the time, my husband and I were trying to decide if we would be able to afford me being a full time freelancer, and the business model of working with a studio appealed to us both. But the idea of licensing also appealed me, based on the large opportunities with amazing companies and manufacturers, who are able to put your work into a physical form. I took a few months to create work…a lot of work. I kept it all private at the time because I wanted a solid group of work to showcase to potential studios that would want to work with me. It was hard keeping so much work private for so long! I am by nature, a sharer, and I wanted to put this work on my portfolio and showcase what I was able to do, but I remained patient, as hard as it was for me. After many (many) inquiries and pitches, I was hired by two different studios that serve two completely separate markets.
2) Tell us about your inspiration or goal behind your pattern designs. What market(s) do you target with your work?
My inspiration comes mostly from nature. I grew up being creative, and being outside a lot. I love designing prints and patterns from memories that comfort us, and remind us of happy times in our lives. I guess you could say I’m inspired daily by the idea of nostalgia and what it means to an individual. My target market is mostly in home decor, but I do enjoy designing for children’s and womenswear as well! It so happens that a lot of my licensing work is done in home decor, and my studio work is done in womenswear and children’s. It allows me to have a creative outlet for all these areas which I love.
3) Could you talk a bit about your experience with licensing?
Since I love both sides of pattern making (selling outright and licensing), I continue to pursue licensing opportunities on a regular basis that are a good fit for me. Licensing is a great way to cultivate partnerships while making a royalty-based income, on art that you’ve created one time. It can be taxing to create new work all the time, and using some of my favorite pieces, I’ve been able to generate royalty over the past year while focusing on print studio work simultaneously. The reason I decided that I wanted to have a combination of both experiences, is that I feel that with these combined opportunities, I’ve made a livable income as a freelancer.
In my experience, different manufacturers and partners offer varying fee structures, and they drive the payment structure that is set up for freelancers they partner with. Some royalties take months to accrue, and its important to realize that when agreeing to partner with a licensee. This is primarily why I love working in both selling outright and licensing.
4) Tell us about your experience working with studios. Do you feel you have a lot of creative freedom or are you expected to adhere to a certain style or certain trends? How many prints do you design per week or month & how do you keep yourself on track/inspired? Do you have any words of wisdom for designers interested in having a print studio represent their work?
After having significantly more work that I was proud of, and I knew was sellable, based on what I learned in the course – I reached out to the studios and offered to share this work with them. I was genuine, honest, and open with what it was I was looking for in a studio partnership. I truly wanted to find a great fit for me as a designer.
The two studios I work with offer me a lot of creative freedom as a designer. Freelance designers are offered information about trends and the studio’s specific needs based on their collection, and we are given feedback based on quality, layout, and color of the prints we create, based on what the creative director thinks is best for the season we are designing for. It’s great exercise for my pattern-making skills! When I first started working on studio work, I felt like the amount of prints I was able to push out of my studio within a month was low. They say the more you create, the more you sell – and I wasn’t creating or selling very much at all, which was so discouraging at first! I talked to the owner at one studio who gave me some sound advice and encouragement to keep at it and just keep creating. Sales can come in slowly and grow exponentially, but it takes time to build volume within a studio and learn the market you’re selling to. Even with fundamental knowledge at my fingertips, nothing helps you grow more than real experience with real customers. Your customer in this scenario is a bit different than licensing – because in licensing, you’re selling directly to a consumer, but when working with a print studio, you’re selling to an art buyer who is representing a company and brand. It’s a bit different and it can be a harder sell because they’re often searching for something specific for the brand they represent.
Knowing that each print I make brings more financial support for my business, and more opportunity to learn about the customer, this helps me stay on track. I view my work with the studios and licensing partnerships the same way I view a 9-5 job – vital to my professional success and personal financial goals. Working from home (at least in the beginning) can be a roadblock in staying motivated, but I take great pride in working from my studio at home. In a month, I create anywhere from 25-85 prints. This sounds like a large range, but its adjusted each month based on specific trends that are occurring and licensing opportunities that I’m nurturing at the same time.
5) What do you feel is the hardest part of creating a successful collection of prints? Where do you feel designers tend to stumble?
As time has passed, I’ve noticed a natural trend in focusing more on quality than quantity. Five showstopper prints in a collection will sell far better than three subpar collections, and it took a long time for that to click in my head. I think some designers do tend to think that quantity is important (which it is!) but quality is much more important than you think.
6) Do you have any advice to incoming students?
Be a sponge! The course is an incredible way to learn about the industry, even if you are seasoned with years of experience! There is so much material in the Pattern Observer courses, I went back and reviewed some of the content from various sections twice, even three times. It will help you go back to your fundamentals and cultivate a proven way to create sellable collections that will provide a foundation for years of opportunities.
To see more, visit Joy’s website, connect with her via Facebook, Twitter, or check out her beautifully curated Pinterest boards.
The Sellable Sketch Group Study begins this coming Monday, July 28th in The Textile Design Lab. In this course you will bring clarity and focus to your collection development process and discover a systematic way of working season after season. The group study comes with some great bonuses like 2 months of access to Stylesight and a series of inspirational and informative emails to keep you motivated! Learn more and register for your spot here.
“Painting” by Patrick Goossens
In January 2014, I was thrilled to begin offering Stylesight access to designers in some of our workshops and courses. Stylesight is a fantastic resource that makes it a bit less overwhelming for designers to find the trend recommendations that influence their work. But when using trend services such as Stylesight, many designers are unsure how to know what trends to fully embrace and which ones to only be aware of. After using trend services throughout the years, I have developed a few tricks to applying their recommendations without losing my style or losing focus on what the customer wants and needs.
Here are some tips to help you use trend services effectively and advantageously in your design efforts:
1. Start with the Megatrends.
Stylesight releases several overarching trend reports, which are called Megatrends, for every season. Then, as the season progresses, they release smaller, more specific reports for various markets and applications, such as print + graphics. For those of you with Stylesight access you can see the release schedule under: Forecast>Forecast Timeline. My experience shows that designers, including myself, create more unique, authentic patterns when they use the overarching reports because they are free to interpret trends in their own way. There are situations where seeing patterns and graphics can actually stunt your creative spirit, limiting your vision for the trend and where it could possibly go.
2. Think like a professional designer.
Ask yourself: how can I interpret these trends for my customer? Your customer may not wear the patterns or the inspiration pieces being shown, but how can you interpret this trend story so that it resonates with your customer? Could you modify the trend through color simplification or changing the artistic technique being used?
3. Don’t attempt to do it all.
You do not need to incorporate each and every trend into your collection or portfolio. The most important aspect to focus on is what is right for you and your customer. If you are not drawn to a trend that Stylesight is forecasting then simply acknowledge that it might be perfect for another customer, designer, or market, and then move on with your research.
4. Take your research to the next level.
If a trend or inspiration image resonates with you, do additional research and explore the trend in a new way. Don’t just copy what you see in front of you–investigate! For example, if Stylesight’s Dissonance trend resonates with you, then search Google or through the online archives at the V&A museum for similar patterns. As a standard, most designers find more inspiration from historic pieces than runway photos; plus you’ll learn the root or heart of the trend, which will help you gain a valuable perspective.
Narrowing down your trend influence as much as possible will help eliminate “design overwhelm” when the design process begins. Try choosing one very specific trend as your inspiration for your apparel collection. If you have any additional tips to share I would love to read them in the comments below.
Enjoy the process!