Featured Designer: Emily Sanford


Emily Sanford is a licensed surface pattern designer specializing in watercolor. She lives and works with her family in New York City.

“After graduating from Roberts Wesleyan College with a degree in Fine Arts, and concentration in ceramics, I continued my personal work as a ceramic artist in my home studio. I was using vintage fabric and wallpaper designs as inspiration for surface pattern texture on my pottery. I also pursued less creative career tracks, from fine art shipping, to arts non-profit work, to real estate. When my daughter was born I picked up graphic design as a hobby, and began incorporating my watercolor paintings into this new found interest.

Spoonflower was the catalyst to my interest in surface pattern design as a business. When my designs started selling, my love for the field was born. When I realized that I could create a digital product from scratch that could sell to a multitude of industries around the world, my mind exploded with ideas and excitement for surface pattern design. It has been such thrill to work with clients in the US and around the world, in many markets and on a variety of products.

My work continues to evolve but always has two common elements: bold color in a simple palette, and hand drawn texture. I am loving the nature of graphite and watercolor together. The feminine wash of watercolor mixes with the bold modern lines of graphite work together in beautiful ways.

I am everyday inspired by my daughter, my city, and my peers, but mostly let the paint and process guide my work.

All of my work starts on paper with gouache, watercolor, pen, ink or graphite. I usually work on mixed media, or watercolor paper. After photographing the images, I clean them up in Photoshop and repeat in Photoshop or Illustrator.”


Emily is active on social media, especially Instagram, and shares a lot of behind the scenes details, and designs. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter, check out her Spoonflower shop or visit www.emilysanforddesign.com to learn more about her work. Have a great Friday! -Chelsea

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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