A Design Process: Designing the Gingerbread Pattern

This post gives you a step by step process to developing a pattern. I’m going to use my latest gingerbread design as an example. There are a bunch of different ways to develop a pattern so I’m not suggesting that this is the best way. However this is the process I find useful to follow when designing patterns and I hope you might find it useful too πŸ™‚

I’ve broken the process down into two key areas – Preparing the Design (which is where you will research and develop your ideas), and Compiling and Completing your design which is where your design really takes shape.

Preparing the Design

Step 1. Identify a theme or idea. Mine was ‘Gingerbread’ and is for the Spoonflower contest.

(This is just a screenshot btw – don’t try to click it!)

Step 2. Write down a whole load of words related to that theme. Here is my list, sometimes i went off on a bit of a tangent but that’s fine, it’s provides good ideas and useful search terms.

Step 3. Decide on its application. In this case, it’s for a general fabric pattern which would look good on Christmas things, like tea towels, Christmas stockings…

Step 4. Search for inspiration (create a mood board). Have a look on google, Pinterest, Flickr, tumblr, etc. Look around outside for inspiration, shops, bus stations, busses- absolutely anywhere. If you’re looking online, try searching by using your list of words. Here are a few images that really inspired me which I found simply by searching on Pinterest:

Step 5. Choose a feature of your design (or 2 or 3) and draw it a load of times in a bunch of different ways. I chose trees and houses, but also drew a few gingerbread cookies in various shapes. I quickly learnt that I wasn’t feeling that a gingerbread man was going to work for me:

Step 6. Draw thumbnails. The amount you do depends on what sort of layout ideas you already have, how much patience you have… I normally do between 2 and 6. I already had an idea of what I wanted from my layout so I only did 2 this time (in the image above). I really liked having a sort of rolling hill path which doubles up as a way to hang decorations and words from.

Compiling and Completing the Design

I currently do all my compiling and completing on my iPad. Some people finish their designs on paper by using a variety of lovely arty methods like (but not limited to) painting. Then they scan them in and tidy them up/finish them off on their computer or tablet.

Step 7. This is where I draw the main elements on my iPad. I use the Procreate app (which I’ve only very recently discovered) and Paintstorm (which is great for creating a technical seamless repeat pattern). This is also where I play around with colours. I choose the size of the canvas depending on what the design is for. For example my Baileys Hot Chocolate and Fresh from the Farm teatowels had to be a certain size to meet the Spoonflower requirements (the website where I list my fabric designs for sale).

Step 8. I’ve already decided my layout and now I’ve drawn the key elements (houses, trees, hearts etc) it is time arrange them in a way that should, hopefully, make people that little bit happier πŸ˜ƒ The idea behind this post was to explain the process behind the design, and not to get technical – if you want to get technical with Paintstorm please take a peak at a few of my other blog posts, like creating seamless patterns on an iPad :)<
nd here is the finished product:

just for fun, here is what it would look like on placemats and a tea towel! How cute would these be on a Christmas table?! πŸ˜β€οΈπŸŽ„

It is really super exciting when my designs receive votes in the Spoonflower contest, or are even added as favourites… sooooo please check out my shop on Spoonflower and if you like the designs why not add a few as favourites? πŸ˜†

This design is currently in the Spoonflower gingerbread theme contest and voting is open until November 28th. If you want to cast your vote in the contest you can do so here. You don’t have to have an account to vote and you can vote for as many as you like!

Bye for now❀️



6 thoughts on “A Design Process: Designing the Gingerbread Pattern

      1. Of course, you had a great design. A long time ago, when my children were small I had really pretty mustard looking chairs and I did want them to ruin the fabric with paint, markers and so on.

        A designer friend said, β€œgive me a fabric you like and I will send it down to LA and they will put a plastic coating on it, then we upholster chairs.”

        I told her I didn’t want my kitchen to look like old fashioned like a grandparents house.

        She assured me it would come out beautifully. So, I chose a really happy plaid pattern… and she was RIGHT, the chairs looked wonderful and modern and my children could have all their friends over and I never worried about the fabric getting ruined.

        So, your design and this website reminded me of this. GREAT IDEA for the website and letting you designers submit designs. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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