The Latest from Vivian Kvitka

It’s a pleasure to welcome Vivian Kvitka (a.k.a. The Good Viv) back to the blog–you may remember her from this feature last fall. Earlier this summer Vivian launched her first line of branded products and we are excited to share them with you today!

viv2Left: Dear Desert; Right: Desert Poppydesertseries_flatlayDesert Seriesstuddybuddy_flatlayStuddy BuddyvivLeft: Dear Desert Collection; Right: Study Buddy Collection   

“I dug deep for each of these designs. Study Buddy and Dear Desert are honest reflections of two of my strongest divisions of myself. Study Buddy feels younger, bolder in a comical and lightly satirical way. Dear Desert is a deeply earnest collection made from a place of honesty and vulnerability. These products are small, functional works of art. It gives me so much joy that my artwork becomes the home for the thoughts, notes, and doodles of someone else.

I found it nearly impossible to decide which of my designs to manufacture into these notebooks so I created a poll and asked the people within my network that are also in my target demographic for their opinions. The results were all over the place, except for one similarity. Every single person who voted included Desert Poppy in their selection. I had no idea it would be such a popular print.

Over the past year I’ve worked with a handful of new clients including Spoonflower Berlin, Hanna Lisa Haferkamp, and Roots Studio. I’ve learned a great deal working with different kinds of clients from private individuals to larger companies and startups. It’s been incredibly exciting to be able to make work that varies so strongly aesthetically and thematically.

My goals for the next year include licensing a collection of prints to a sneaker company, expanding my product range, and getting my designs sold within a major US retailer like Target, Anthropologie, or Macy’s. They feel like really big goals but this time last year, I wouldn’t have believed I could accomplish everything that I’ve done.”

See more at or on Instagram.

Vivian is offering Pattern Observer readers a 10% discount until Sept 30th on products in her online shop using the discount code: PATTERNOBSERVER 

Featured Designer: Esther Jongste

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Esther Jongste is a long time member of Pattern Observer and the Textile Design Lab and we are honored to welcome her to the blog today. Her passion and enthusiasm are contagious and she is a true gem in our community. Read on to learn more about Esther’s surface design business and what inspires her!


About Esther

“Esther Jongste is an energizing textile designer and illustrator working from her home studio based in the Netherlands. She currently designs for home decor, as well as for the activewear and childrenswear markets.

After working for over twelve years as a photographer and graphic designer at a Dutch toy and leisure retail company, Esther went on to develop her graphic design work to the profession of surface design.

The professionalism of the motivated Pattern Observer team provided her with encouragement to explore her vision and expand her knowledge and experience in this particular part of the industry. This resulted in the Pattern Observer Award of Excellence.

In 2014 she founded her own studio, EM | Surface Design and so she brought her professionalism as a surface designer to the next level.

In 2015 Esther started to cooperate with a Dutch agent for home decor. Working with her agent has given her the time and space to experiment with several mediums. She loves to combine painting, hand drawing, photography and collage within her digital artwork.”


“Inspiration comes naturally when she is creating a mood board for a new project or experimenting with new techniques, materials or newly found ideas. Because she is naturally inspired by almost anything, she prefers to design with specific design directions. An indication could be a specific question from a client, a fixed season, customer or trend; to name a few. Daily life, Pinterest, movies, books and magazines are a terrific source for inspiration as well.

She is at her very best while cooperating with clients, studios or fellow designers. She likes to get other people involved in her design work. She has an attractive personal and professional style of interaction. Esther loves to brainstorm and she comes up with fresh ideas and solutions. She excels when she is allowed to imagine. She can bring fresh out-of-the-box perspective and seeks work that demands untraditional thinking.

In-depth research is her way to start new work. She likes to experiment with several options and ideas, exploring how to integrate ideas, style and trends. This results in artwork that is energetic, sophisticated, balanced, lighthearted and fresh.

She is currently working on her own line of products incorporating stylish bags, distinct cushion covers and whimsical illustrated postcards.

Esther’s artwork and illustrations are available for purchasing and she is also available for freelance and custom design work.”

Visit Esther at EM | Surface Design or check her out on LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook.


Esther recently shared a tutorial in the Textile Design Lab as part of our Summer of Creativity course. If you are familiar with the burn and dodge tool, it is a tool to darken or lighten up bits of your design. In this tutorial Esther shows you a way you can make your adjustments on a separate layer, so you can make changes afterwards, rather than being directly (and permanently) applied to the layer. Join us in the Lab to check it out, along with six other member-created tutorials, (and more on the way!)

Linea Germania Kinetic Collection

Linea Germania Kinetic Collection by Mengly Hernandez. Featured on the Pattern Observer blog Germania Kinetic Collection by Mengly Hernandez. Featured on the Pattern Observer blog Germania Kinetic Collection by Mengly Hernandez. Featured on the Pattern Observer blog Germania Kinetic Collection by Mengly Hernandez. Featured on the Pattern Observer blog Germania is a signature line of scarves created by Mengly Germania Hernandez. “Mengly is a native New Yorker who brings a unique perspective to her textiles creating prints through the exploration of various mediums such as hand silk screening, block printing, watercolor painting, drawing, digital printing and photography. Our scarves were recently featured in W magazine, Cosmopolitan, and Refinery 29 among others. In addition, Linea Germania was commissioned by Solange Knowles to create exclusive blankets and towels for her online shop, Saint Heron.”

Amber Hooks is a Pattern Observer alumna who works for Linea Germania, and she wrote to tell us about their fifth collection which was “inspired by kinetic movement. After what has been a year of growth and transformation we created new textiles that embody our love of graphic lines and abstract form. The collection was designed in New Mexico, the perfect backdrop for our varied color palette.”

Check out the Linea Germania Kinetic Collection HERE and view more of their beautiful silk scarves HERE.

Caroline Cecil Textiles at Designer Camp

Caroline Cecil is the CEO and founder of Caroline Cecil Textiles (you may remember her as our Textile Design Lab guest expert from last October–check out her interview here.) We are delighted to welcome her back to the blog to share about an exciting recent event; this year Caroline was the textile keynote speaker at the West Hollywood Designer Camp. Designer Camp is a hands-­on, creative day camp for students (ages 11-17) who are passionate about interior design, fashion, photography, styling, trend forecasting, entertainment set design, merchandising and more. The camp is “a true gem amongst conventional, recreational camps” and this year took place from July 11th-29th, welcoming students not only from Southern California but also from Austria, United Arab Emirates & Saudi Arabia.

Caroline Cecil Textiles on Pattern Observer
During her presentation, Caroline explained her path through the design industry, ultimately leading to the creation of Caroline Cecil Textiles. Afterwards, the CCT team took students through a hands-on block printing & stencil workshop. After sharing a bit about the deep rooted history of these techniques (stencil – Katazome the Japanese technique & block printing in India), students created their own textile designs on personal printing stations equipped with materials and fabric. The workshop was a total hit with kids getting super creative with their design compositions, and others following standard repeat layouts.Caroline Cecil Textiles on Pattern Observer Cecil Textiles on Pattern Observer Caroline Cecil Textiles on Pattern Observer Cecil Textiles on Pattern Observer

The camp is in its second year and Caroline’s textile keynote marked the camp’s first textile talk.

To learn more about Designer Camp visit, and check out Caroline’s beautiful line of textiles at!

Interview with Jackie Shapiro of French Bull

As our guest expert this month in the Textile Design LabFrench Bull founder Jackie Shapiro kindly agreed to an in-depth interview on her business and designing for the tabletop market. The full interview is available exclusively to Lab members–we hope you enjoy this excerpt!

jackie_standing_rajBG_rgbCould you talk a bit about your design background? How did you become interested in the world of patterns and surface design? 

My love of pattern, and fashion was an innate default.

My Hungarian Grandparents built one of Bucharest’s most stylish stores on the elegant Calea Victoriei in the 1930s and 40s. They fled to Santiago Chile after the communist takeover of Romania to start anew with their daughters Eva and Gabriella.

My mother Eva, came to NYC in 1956 and went from fashion model, to fashion designer, to fashion entrepreneur marrying my father Oscar Shapiro along the way.

In 1963 she invited fourteen ground breaking Chilean artists to show their work in NYC’s bohemian Greenwich Village, procuring the gallery and hosting the event and exhibition herself. 

I have beautiful memories helping my mom as a little girl make chokers at our dining room table from a closeout lot of fantastically ornate shoe buckles she purchased at auction. These became the centerpieces of velvet, grosgrain, and leather ribbon chokers that she sold to earn extra cash.

Eva, was a founding partner of Eva for Robert Janan;  a company that throughout the 1970s and early 80s, made fashion headlines with what was to become their ubiquitous wrap dress and easy two-piece dressing philosophy.

The dresses were in beautiful patterns printed in Como, Italy, at a factory Diane Furstenberg would also come to share. 

She’d take me on work trips.

At the factory technicians meticulously monitored silk screens insuring the pattern and color was being produced to perfection. At Antiquarius in London, she’d show me how the English marked their silver creations,  and walk me through flea markets in Paris negotiating her way through. In Hong Kong she took me to the Peninsula hotel for high Tea. In Spain she exposed me to Gaudi. Tango in Buenos Aires, and back to the flea markets and antique shops in NY.

We lived in a divided townhouse on the upper east side in the scary New York of the 1970’s, I studied Fashion at Parsons School of Design in a tiny department of 30 that included Marc Jacobs, Isaac Mizrahi, Narciso Rodriguez and Anna Sui.

After school I lived and worked in Italy for three years designing clothes. Back in the USA in 1984 I started using a Mac to design.

ls_pick-me-ups_h_masterTell us a bit about your brand and what led you to start French Bull.

Transitioning from fashion to surface designer after becoming a mom, I created a pattern collection sold through Splash Studios in NYC. My patterns became favorites of companies such as Le Sport Sac and The Gap. While super proud to see my patterns on many things like handbags, wrapping paper at Michael’s craft stores, swimwear, pajamas, T-shirts, stationery, and active wear; I wanted to take a shot on myself.

I stopped selling my patterns to other manufacturers, found a factory that I still work with, created a tabletop collection using melamine, and In January of 2002 French Bull became a brand introduced at the New York International Gift Show. French Bull is a lifestyle brand devoted to creating compelling new uses for pattern and color.

Deeply steeped in energy that celebrates the everyday, the companies’ earliest noteworthy achievement was to reimagine melamine tableware in pattern and color that has now become its iconic and immediately identifiable style. The brand has garnered extensive reach, with numerous touch points that consistently communicate its LIVE VIVID attitude and reinforce its lifestyle experience through licensing partnerships both domestically and internationally. 

The French Bull name takes inspiration from the frisky nature, compact stature, and mighty will of the off beat, jolielaide French Bull dog. The French Bull mark illustrates our solid foundation, heady profile and alert bat-like ears that navigate us through any challenge.

118LBB_V1Please tell us a bit about the different products you design for. Are there any special considerations you have to keep in mind when designing for tabletop goods? (i.e. scale, # of colors, layout, etc.)

I am a commuter and see lots of folks carrying their lunch bags on the train, subway and street. I’m looking forward to bringing my lunch bag solution to market in early 2017 with pattern front and center.

French Bull has several licensing partners, and I value these relationships as a top priority. Our licensees are great at what they do, and my team and I are hands-on collaborators committed to being successful together.

There are no rules about scale, # of colors, motifs etc – It’s all subjective.

Could you tell us a bit about your experience with tabletop buyers and what they are looking for? 

If there’s one piece of feedback I’ve gotten season after season for tabletop it’s that people prefer white space in the design for eating food. French Bull follows its own approach to pattern application and it has worked both for and against me.


What are some ways a designer could distinguish themselves to buyers in this market? 

Create a “look” that is identifiable, unique to you and consistent season after season. If you can manage to emotionally connect with the consumer with your design – you’ll be golden.

If you want to design for a company that offers many on-trend or traditional “looks” then your design hand should be versatile – trends come and go and if you are comfortable embracing them all, it comes down to polishing your taste level and eye for good design.


Check out the full interview in the Textile Design Lab to learn about Jackie’s experiences at trade shows, how she researches during the creative process, insights into French Bull’s production process and lots more.


Visit French Bull around the web on FacebookTwitterPinterestTumblr, and YouTube, or visit

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At Pattern Observer we strive to help you grow your textile design business through our informative articles, interviews, tutorials, workshops and private design community, The Textile Design Lab.