Designers Claudia Brown and Jessie Whipple Vickery, from Pattern People, have recently released a fabulous ebook entitled: “Pattern Design & Beyond: An Insider’s Guide to Creating and Managing Your Own Surface Design Career.” I read the book last week and am blown away by the amount of information that is covered. The textile design industry is tricky, there are so many ins and outs to the business, and they do a wonderful job of breaking down the madness into easy to digest topics. The book, which I highly recommend for anyone that wants to break into the industry and doesn’t know where to start, can be purchased here.

The duo was nice enough to answer a few questions that I thought you would find helpful:

1. In the book you mentioned that you look to your own photography, as well as craft books for inspiration. Are there any other sources that you recommend to designers?

You really don’t need much to be inspired. It’s more about point of view. Something as simple as a shadow or the texture of a coat could spark an idea. Stepping outside of your every day world can help so trips to museums or new places are always good. Then, there are also art and textile books by other designers which can encourage new techniques. Looking online also offers a massive source of constantly updated content.

2. Do you have any recommendations for breaking out of a design rut? How do you keep the creative juices flowing?

Maintenance is definitely required. Like we mention above, sometimes stepping outside of your daily world can help encourage a fresh train of thought. When we start a new project, we always initiate it by doing lots of research. This helps us develop our point of view and gets our creativity flowing.

3. What challenges have you faced since becoming your own boss? Is it difficult to stay focused? Do you create goals for yourself or each other?

The biggest challenge we find is that the work day never ends! There is always something to do. It’s easy to drift along but we set deadlines and goals to help us stay focused. So far it seems to be working!

4. In the book you talk about targeting specific markets and sub-markets when designing. Do you each have a market that you focus on?

We do have varied strengths as far as print styles go. One of us may design more prints for a specific market than the other. But, to maintain balance in the collection, we both end up designing for all the markets we target.

5. I am amazed by the amount of information covered in this book. How did you divide up the work?

We started the process of writing the book about a year ago. Each of us focused on a particular section. Once we were done with a section we would swap and edit what the other had written. This process went on for four or five rounds so in the end the book feels like it has one voice. You could say this was our extra curricular activity. We squeezed this project in between designing prints and sales trips.  It was a challenge to find the time to do this, but it’s been totally worth it.  We’ve gotten such a great response for the book, that we’re going to continue to release other guides and downloads that might help people.

Thanks Claudia and Jessie!

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

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