Behind the Scenes of How I Curated Our Studio Portfolio

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Here’s my true confession…

I’m disorganized, and I love it. For some reason, I am that type of person who thrives in chaos. My desktop is a mess, my office looks like a toddler was in there, opening up every drawer to look for something and never bothering to shut it afterward; maybe even tossed some things out on the floor in the process. Okay, Cora’s actually to blame for that mess, but you get the picture.

So… When the time came to begin organizing the work of three designers for our new Pattern Observer Studio launch I had my work cut out or me!

I needed to sort:

  1. Patterns that were divided into collections
  2. Patterns that were divided into pattern style (stripes, florals, etc.)
  3. Patterns that heavily tied to trends
  4. Patterns that were more associated with classic styles

Are you seeing a theme? I had a lot of sorting to do! Because of that, I admit that I felt overwhelmed and disconnected from the work. The joy I’d had creating all those things was not present. With a large, intensive abstract project like that it’s easy to feel like your work is hidden away in digital folders.

I had to do something…

My Messy Photoshop "Floor"

My Messy Photoshop “Floor”

I started printing everything out with a plan in place to organize all the artwork on the floor. Yup…I quickly realized that was not a good idea. Not only because of the environmental impact, the cost of ink and paper, and the curious Cora, but because it simply did not make sense. So I went back to brainstorming to find a new idea and thankfully, it came to me fairly quickly.

I decided to create a digital “floor” in Photoshop. This is where it all came together!

My digital floor was a very large Photoshop art board that allowed me to see an overview of all my collections and begin a process of sorting and organizing them. What happened next was such a relief, not to mention a timesaver because it finessed the process of accomplishing the task at hand.

– First, I added screenshots of all of our patterns and rough concepts.
– As I’d add the screenshots to the page I’d begin grouping them into collections.
– This process allowed me to quickly define where the “holes” were in our portfolio.
– I was able to see which trends we needed to address.
– It was easier to define which classic patterns needed to be added.

AND

I knew which pattern styles were missing!

One digital floor in Photoshop helped me see all that clearly. Plus, it was right in front of my face—not scattered all over my floor.

This process empowered me.

Through taking the time to come up with a solution that made me feel in control of the process, I was able to eliminate those wild, overwhelming feelings. It also gained me greater insight into the project I was undertaking, as well. I was now able to see the weak areas in our pattern offerings, and create a plan for how to improve in the future.

Because of all this, it has brought me direction and focus for our work. Also, it has saved me extensive hours organizing within the portfolio website. A system is in place, which is quite refreshing. Really, it’s portfolio curation made easier.

Take a moment to look at the big picture of your portfolio…or lack thereof.

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Organized chaos

Whether you have a portfolio or not, it’s time to either create it or optimally organize it. Take some time to look through your folders on your desk top. What are you seeing? Are you seeing a balanced amount of:

– File types?
– Pattern layouts?
– Pattern styles?
– Trendy and classic patterns?
– Pattern sizes and scales?

Identifying these holes can give you creative direction for your next several collections. Which is a huge relief, and for many designers, a stress reliever too.

Want to learn more about the curation process? Get started here.

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5 Comments on “Behind the Scenes of How I Curated Our Studio Portfolio

  1. Michelle, you’ve come along with this course just when I need it! I’ve been struggling with my portfolio development for a while now so I’m really looking forward to this. Thank you!

  2. Great post. Exactly my problem, organization that needs simple but comprehensive visual reference! great idea! thank you!

  3. Oh this is so perfect Michelle!
    I have so many designs in folders here and there and have a real hard time controlling where they are.
    I am so looking forward to this class and maybe launch my Surface Design website finally, once I figure out a method of organizing and presenting them. Thank You!

  4. Great tips! Thank you so much for share with us your experience.

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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.