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Members of this tight-knit community are continually improving their craft, learning new techniques, staying informed with the most up-to-date styles, and making their artwork more profitable.

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Featured Textile Designer: Isabella Singleton

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To wrap up the week we are thrilled to feature these gorgeous prints created by Isabella Singleton! I love Isabella’s use of color, which straddles the line of youthful and sophisticated, and the hand-crafted feel of her work–you can feel the care that was put into each of these prints! When brought together in her work these elements form a perfect mix for women’s fashion which is Isabella’s main focus.

“My style of work is an unusual mix between being very graphic and bold as well as delicate with a definite feminine hand. Almost every print derives from a hand drawing or painting – whether that is simply repeated a few times or I use a more complex method of manipulation, it is usually within Photoshop. I studied Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design at Leeds College of Art, graduating a year ago. I have been designing for myself since, taking on freelance work including a window display and underground poster for Camden Create Festival as well as gaining experience at fashion and print studios. Taking on my first trade show under my name very soon in Paris – Indigo, I am working hard to produce as much commercial work for the mid to high end fashion market which was initially tricky as I had to slightly break away from my definitive illustrational style.”

A selected amount of Isabella’s prints can be found at and she can be contacted at

Enjoy your weekend and try to take some time to design! :) -Chelsea

Three Ways a Portfolio Website Benefits Your Business

The most important tool that you have to market your work is a portfolio website. With a portfolio website, potential clients from around the world can review your work, get to know your personality, and understand your services at their convenience.

There are three main goals of a successful portfolio website. First, it should help present your work in the best possible way while marketing explaining your services in a clear manner. Second, the website should enable you to get to know your customers and site visitors. And, third, it should act as a hub for all of your online and offline marketing activities. Let’s dive into the benefits of each of these three things in greater detail:


Attract the Right Clients

With the right artwork selection, branding, and marketing message, your ideal clients—the clients who you would LOVE to work with—will visit your portfolio website and feel at home. Your ideal client will immediately recognize themselves in your description, clearly understand your services, and feel confident that you are the perfect designer for their business. In my experience, most clients are not looking for a faceless, nameless brand to develop patterns and prepare work for production. Most clients are looking for a partner they can trust and work with for years to come.


Know Your Customers

One of the key benefits of having a portfolio website is that it allows you to have more direct contact with potential clients and visitors to your site. Free tools such as Google Analytics allow you to see where your website visitors are coming from, how they are finding you, and what parts of your website they are spending the most time on. If you have a password protected portfolio on your website, having clients fill out a brief password application offers you a wealth of information, such as what clients are drawn to your work, what pattern styles they are looking for, and what you can do to make their lives a little easier. Take advantage of this opportunity!


Your Marketing Hub

With so many different ways to sell and market your work, including online networks such as LinkedIn and physical networks, such as attending a print show or a conference, it’s imperative to make your website your marketing hub—the one place potential clients can go to learn more about you whether you are online or offline. Always direct people to your website! It’s the one area of your business that you have complete control over because your online portfolio is your home.  It gives you the chance to tell your story. Furthermore, potential clients can find all the social media links they may need on your website.


Make Sure You Are Maximizing Your Potential

A portfolio website is so much more than a website where you present your work. Your website is your chance to tell your story and welcome new contacts and clients to your world. As you consider your next portfolio website redesign consider how you can develop a more inviting environment to new clients, how you can clearly explain your services, and how you can make their life a little bit easier. It’s a great business building strategy and wonderful way to develop lasting relationships with clients you LOVE!


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Featured Textile Designer: Kendra Niederkorn

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Kendra Niederkorn is a textile designer based out of Hickory, North Carolina (soon to be relocating back to the Raleigh-Durham/”Triangle” area in North Carolina.) She joined the HBF Textiles Product Development Team in 2012, where she has three woven products under her name as well as “a slew of independent print projects.”

When describing her background in textiles and her design style, Kendra wrote that her designs “center around composition and attention to negative space. Using a variety of techniques including illustration, printmaking, digital scanning, acrylic, water color, and digitally generated images, she cultivates imagery from the forms in her environment. Niederkorn grew up in Iowa and North Carolina, she attended Savannah College of Art and Design where she exhibited in and curated several exhibitions. She earned her BFA in graphic design, a minor in fibers and studied abroad in Southern France. She continues to further her design sense through travel and a pursuit of knowledge in the fields of art, fashion, and textiles.” 

See more from this multi-talented textile designer at (her Blog & Trends page is full of beautiful mood boards–check them out for some great pattern inspiration!) -Chelsea

Monthly Vignette: July 2014

Music: “California Lullaby (Instrumental Version)” (CC BY 4.0) by Josh Woodward

It’s my favorite day of the month again–the July vignette is here! Our monthly vignettes provide a re-cap of the previous month’s featured designers, found patterns, interviews, and more. We wish we could keep everyone on the front page of the blog but with our packed post schedule older features move down the page faster than we’d like…the vignette is our way of giving them a second look. The Pattern Observer YouTube channel is where you will find all of our past vignettes and lots of other great video content including recorded interviews, snippets from some of our past classes, and more. You can also subscribe to the page to keep up to date on our latest videos!

Last month’s features included Michelle’s Six Ways to Evaluate if a Freelance Career is Right For You, an informative post by our Tech Talk expert Sherry London on combatting Illustrator’s “Little White Lines of Woe”, an assortment of gorgeous patterns from textile designers Tracy Miller, Emily Gorski, Nathalia Machado, and so much more! To learn more about any of the posts featured in the July vignette, use the search bar on the right or just scroll down and click back through the previous pages of the blog to find their post. Enjoy! -Chelsea



How much artwork do I need on my website?

How much artwork do I need on my website?

How much artwork do I need on my website?

Contrary to belief, designers do not need to have hundreds of pieces developed before launching and promoting their portfolio website. You really just need a handful of strong collections to present your artwork to the world. The only exception to this may be if you intend to reach out to a traditional art licensing agent. Otherwise, if you want to market yourself to studios and freelance clients it is not necessary.

When you are developing your portfolio website there are two important factors to consider. First, you want to love the work you are presenting and, second, you want to make sure the work is a true representation of your style. If you feel it isn’t—something we’ve all felt at one point or another—it may be time to focus on artwork development and creative exploration. You can worry about marketing and sales in the future.

After identifying your style and getting comfortable with the development process, the time will come when you are ready to present your artwork. When this happens

I recommend showing at least three very strong collections, or nine individual patterns, on the public area of your portfolio website.

No more than that is necessary! The remainder of your work, as well as any artwork that is developed in the future, can be added to a password protected area. It is my personal opinion that you don’t have to display all your artwork for the entire world to see in order to get your name out there and promote your work. You simply have to share enough of your amazing work that you grab the visitor’s attention and drive them to apply for access to your private portfolio.


The benefits of a private portfolio

There is no way to guarantee that your work is not going to be copied, but protecting your work via a password is one small step that you can take to lessen the risk. It also has one other major benefit—it allows you to get to know your customers.

A customer that applies for a password is a serious client, a potential client. The password helps you start developing a relationship with them and you can get to know what your customers are looking for in the marketplace and how you can make their lives a little easier. Take advantage of this opportunity!

A private portfolio will also enable you to sell to more clients, including those who prefer not to purchase artwork that has been posted on public portfolio websites, stores, or blogs. Some buyers don’t mind purchasing artwork that has been posted publicly; however, some are hesitant to do so and others will outright refuse to purchase work that has been shown in a public way. Having a private portfolio protects your work and allows you to cater to buyers across the spectrum.


Assess where you are at

As soon as you are excited with the work that you are creating and feel ready to share it with the world, do it! One of the best ways to learn who your customers are, what style resonates with them, and what they need from you is to put your work out there. You’ll find no better way to gauge the responses that you are receiving. But most importantly…enjoy the process!


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