The Ins And Outs Of Surface Design For Fashion Enthusiasts

Every day, we are exposed to surface design without even realising it. Your favourite shirt’s pattern? A pattern designer created that. The tablecloth your grandmother brings out during the holidays? A surface artist created that. Surface design is the creation of artwork, prints, and designs for application to a surface, which can range from fabric and wallpaper to notebooks and home decor. From where you are, you can probably see at least ten different examples of a pattern designer’s work. 

Surface pattern design, also known as surface design, is any design, illustration, drawing, or motif that is intended to be printed or applied to a surface, regardless of the type of surface. Surface Pattern Design involves creating art for the surfaces of mass-produced goods. In its purest form, as the name implies, this is primarily artwork that repeats in a pattern. Wallpaper, wrapping paper, upholstery, quilting fabric, apparel fabric, and floor coverings are just a few examples. Surface pattern designs can be standalone or repeating, depending on the end goal. Gift wrap and wallpaper are examples of seamless repeating patterns. The pattern will be an exact match throughout, with no beginning or end, allowing the customer to use as much or as little as they want without worrying about the design looking off. While it is possible to adapt existing artwork or print to fit a product, most pattern designers are instructed to create something to fit a specific product range to ensure that the pattern works properly on those items. Those who adapt existing work to a product should always leave the impression that it was created specifically for that item.

Where Do You See Surface Design?

Patterns can be found on a wide range of consumer products, but there are a few categories where surface designers’ work is most frequently featured. The design surfaces and techniques used to create the final product differ greatly, ranging from mass-market productions to one-of-a-kind pieces designed specifically for an individual customer.

  • Home Furnishings

The best examples of surface pattern designs in your home are likely to be found on throw pillows, armchairs, bed linens, and quilts. Wallpaper and curtains in homes and workplaces are yet another excellent examples of surface design in action.

  • Clothing

Our clothing is a very noticeable and eye-catching example of how surface design is used, that we see and use every day, with designs printed, dyed, embroidered, and woven into the fabric.

  • Paper Products

Paper products, such as notebooks, greeting cards, gift wrap, and calendars, are where many new pattern designers get their start. Because they are small and simple, they allow amateur artists to experiment with different design styles and surfaces before committing to a larger project.

What techniques do you need to create surface patterns?

Surface design, particularly pattern design, is commonly used on decorative objects, clothing, or stationery. In other words, it is applied to a wide range of objects, and the dimensions of the object you choose are the only constraints you’ll face when creating your surface design. Any technique can be used to create a surface design, whether analogue, digital, embroidery, graphic design, watercolours, photography, lettering, dye… The list goes on because there are no limitations other than those imposed by the material on which you choose to transfer your work. There are numerous techniques for creating surface pattern designs. Relief printing, which involves carving blocks to create unique prints and patterns, and screen printing are two examples. The created patterns can be digitally manipulated to create a repeat, which is always a popular type of print.

The Life Of A Surface Pattern Designer

Surface pattern designers create designs for products or fabrics. The fact that any surface can potentially have a pattern design applied to it gives a surface pattern designer creative freedom. You could be creating designs for anything from the interior fabric of a car to rolls of fabric from your local fabric store. A surface pattern designer’s role, regardless of the product, is to create and develop designs that consider the end product and design accordingly. The process will be the same, but the specifications may differ depending on the end-use. Each product or client may have slightly different specifications that must be followed, such as the number of colours that can be used or the design scale.

These artists create patterns and repeats that give surfaces life, energy, character, and movement. They are used in almost every aspect of daily life, which is why they are such an important genre of art. The majority of surface pattern designers specialise in one area or style, allowing them to leave their mark on the world. Many are also textile and product designers, which allows them to envision how their patterns will look from conception to adornment on the final piece. Understanding trends, colour forecasting, and fashion trends are all important components of becoming a successful surface pattern designer. Beautiful things can happen when you combine this knowledge with your own spin and distinct style.

If you want to pursue a career in surface pattern design, whether in a traditional work setting or as a freelancer, there really is no limit to what you can do. Whatever option you choose, keep practising, honing your skills, expressing your artistic opinions, and having fun!

The Design Process

The design process describes the steps involved in creating successful designs. The first step in this process is to generate some inspiring ideas on which to base your designs. You’ll then begin to flesh out your concepts. That is, turning the ideas you’ve researched into sketches and design concepts. You will then develop those design ideas into design motifs, which you will use to create seamless pattern repeats. If you’re just getting started, you can conduct research to generate a plethora of ideas and inspiration for your pattern design or collection. Then, choose one of those ideas to refine and develop into an inspirational mood board. A mood board is a collection of images that demonstrate your design and motif direction, as well as your colour palette.

After you have created your mood board, you will use it to begin developing your design ideas. These can be created in any way you want, such as by hand or digitally. There is a technical process involved in creating your repeats, which will vary depending on the programme you use, but you want to ensure that your designs are repeated seamlessly. This entails taking the time to ensure that your design elements are technically repeated to form a seamless pattern. Collections can be made up of a few or many designs, but the most important thing is that your designs work well together to form a collection.

How to get started

There are numerous tools and courses available to help you learn how to make a pattern, like those offered by the Print School. However, before beginning any actual design work, consider what you want to achieve and the type of product you’re designing for.

The material you’ll be working with to showcase your final design, or design surfaces, plays an important role in determining how the final design looks. Beading or other three-dimensional elements, for example, may work well on certain fabrics for clothing or throw pillows, but not on wallpaper or a mug. After you’ve made those decisions, you can begin working on the pattern. The world around us is coloured by surface pattern design. It adds character and style to all aspects of our lives, from the clothes we wear to the furniture in our homes to the wrapping paper we use to wrap gifts.

Whether you want to make beautiful wall art or fabric designs, The Print School has an arsenal of professional drawing tips that will help you stand out. Not only do they have a set of Adobe Photoshop Classes that are designed to help fashion enthusiasts cultivate their interests and hone their skills, but they have some paper courses as well. 

To create beautiful artworks for fabric, embrace your creative self, say goodbye to the blank page and the nerves, and learn how to get more out of your watercolours, including knowing when to stop painting, a common mistake among all artists. The Print School offers classes that allow you to soak up their top-level techniques and creative goodness from our expert team – high quality classes at the very pinnacle of the industry. They have a set of pencil and painting classes that are targeted at surface pattern designers, for the basic skills required to design patterns, floral illustrations and even Gouache designs for people with more advanced skill set. The surface design courses are also available to tap into the wonders of digital technology to learn about real-world surface design applications and begin your inspirational journey into your design future. After a few classes from The Print School, you will feel confident, inspired and ready to create high-fashion worthy surface pattern designs on paper or in Photoshop, using an array of professional techniques that will lead to jaw-dropping designs.