Behind the Design: What Goes Into Creation

When you look at the wallpaper in a room, the bedspread on your bed, someone’s floral print dress or, even, a teacup with a few swirled accents on it, what you might not realize is that this is artwork. Someone painted, drew or digitally designed it.

All of these items needed to be designed … and there are often teams behind each concept—researching trends, choosing colors and finding materials. And there are also trades shows where this work is displayed before it makes it onto a product.

Most of the time this work is done a year in advance. That means that companies try to guess what will be the next big thing or, even, will push for something to become vogue. 

How do I know this? I have been doing product and textile design for over 16 years. To go back to design trends, right now, for instance, tigers are popular, and you can find them on apparel, wall art, bedding, and more. Tiger designs can target kids or adults—and these designs were created a year ago. Below is a pattern I did for the trade show Blueprint in New York City two years ago that is more on trend now than when I originally drew it. 

tiger fabric pattern 

The Blueprint trade show is one among many places where designers and buyers can buy and sell art, which will then be reproduced on various products. Surtex is another big show, also in New York City.

Designers purchase booth spaces and bring their original art and patterns, mostly printed on 11 x 17 paper, so that buyers can then walk through the show and meet with them. They go through their collections either purchasing pre-existing art or commissioning new pieces from what they see. If you are fortunate to be able to walk through one of these shows you can easily start to see trends popping up between the booths. It’s sensory overload in a fun way! Fabrics and Home carries some of these tiger prints HERE.

tiger print fabric

Sometimes artists can see trends forming; other times it's luck that they just happen to illustrate something that becomes popular. I personally don’t think there are set rules to trends because they can be influenced by so many things such as popular culture, movies, TV, and social media.  Some catch on and last forever (succulents, llamas, unicorns) and others come and go quickly. Others lay dormant then resurface like '90’s clothing this year. This is a part of design that I love: it's ever changing and fun to see what's next. Anyone can influence this with the way social media works now.

What do you think will be the next big thing? What would you like to see be the next big thing? There’s nothing stopping you from trying to make that happen!



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