Actually, strikeoffs came in about two months ago, but I’ve been a bit slack with the blog lately.
When I received the strikeoffs in the mail, I felt as though we had officially crossed our first milestone in the fabric design industry…
It was looking a little bleak there for a while, but our second line is scheduled to debut at the July Market…
Designing this line was quite the experience… we went through A LOT of rather painstaking, “start-from-scratch” rounds of revisions in order to come up with what you see here.
Initially, the line was called Cuckoo because the main theme was going to be cuckoo clocks.
Yes, this might seem like an oddly specific subject matter to choose, but we wanted to create something that was completely different from Botany. We worked on this line for some time and then reviewed with Moda… who, as it turned out, was not quite as impressed as we were with the series.
In hindsight, that first round was awful… but I find that when I’m caught up in the design process I sometimes miss those signs that would normally tell me to back up and reconsider what it is I’m trying to make.
We began our first round of revisions by reconsidering our actual illustration style. Botany was a line that revolved around exotic plants… so the illustration style was done with a wild and organic style of drawing, in an attempt to really drive home our theme. Some people have even said that it’s vaguely reminiscent of art nouveau… which tells me that we were on the right track in terms of style.
I suppose though that we might have been stuck in a Botany rut, because our Cuckoo drawings were just a little too similar in style to its wild/organic predecessor.
Cuckoo Clocks have a number of distinguishing characteristics that remain relatively consistent across the variety of models out there. The drawing style is much more tight than what we’re used to. Vines don’t drift and wonder around the front of the houses, they are drawn with a strict set of rules that require symmetry, perfectly curled tentrils, and flowers that follow a grid (never overlapping)… just to name a few.
So based off of this new set of design standards, we set out again and reworked the entire series, now naming it Hideaway.
But alas… still off base.
Our Cuckoo theme had gotten a bit out of hand because we had adhered very closely to the actual elements one might actually encounter on a Cuckoo Clock. We had a hill town made out of cuckoo clocks, dots made out of little round children wearing aprons and feathered caps, keyholes, birds in doorways… etc. The list goes on.
The image below shows the current version vs. the cuckoo version. This pattern required minimal changes, but it’s no longer beating you over the head with cuckoo clocks.
In the third round we scrapped most of the line yet again and went in a more “kid-centric direction”. We lost the Cuckoo stuff all together and went with all-things-cute.
In the fourth round we got rid of half of the cutesy patterns and replaced them with more decorative patterns. Because cutesy can get a little nauseating after a while, and I have to be able to sleep at night.
Finally, during our fifth round we were able to refocus ourselves and pull everything together into a unified set of graphics that were finally able to dance with one another.
When everything was all said and done, our line is loosely inspired by the Swiss Alps… quaint villages, clusters of deer, window boxes, mountain flowers, gingham, and cuckoo clocks. The illustration style is both intricate and festively elegant as well as slightly quirky and folk-inspired. It has a look and feel that is directly relevant to its subject matter.
And after our long, roundabout journey through our five separate attempts, we’ve realized the necessity for concept driven design, a point that had been drilled into me during my two years at the Portfolio Center, but one that I had initially chosen to ignore when it came to fabric design. I’m not entirely sure why.
Now that concept is going to be the driving force though behind our designs, I think we’ll be a much better group… and I can’t wait to start on our next line!
(The photos below show the 4 colorways within this series.)