Make It In Design Winter School 2018 – Completed!

This week I have just completed the Make It In Design 2018 Winter School, a 4-week online workshop for surface pattern design. It’s been an inspiring month in which I’ve produced a lot of work and been given a real creative boost for moving forward.

The first Creative Brief was ‘Bright Blooms’ which focused on large, bold florals. At first I started looking at flowers which flowered in winter months as it seemed apt and did some warm up sketches.



But as I looked through my Encyclopaedia of Plants & Flowers for inspiration I came across the Cactus section. The flowers of cactus are bold, jewel-bright things which perfectly matched the brief and colour palette we had been given!



Not having done much work using florals before I was a little outside my comfort zone but as soon as I started getting the first batch of motifs finished in Illustrator I knew the pattern was going to work a treat.


Once I had the pattern I was happy with I started experimenting with the two colour palettes we had been given to work with and quickly became torn! I really like both versions so didn’t know which one to pick to submit as my final piece! During these two weeks I also started using mockups properly for the first time, they really do help a pattern come to life.


The next task was a Fun Brief to ‘Capture Your Season’ and create a colour palette from the photo. I work outdoors so took some chilly outdoor January pictures! I settled on a photo from a log pile and a particular old Oak trunk which had dried out, split and had moss growing from it. Fairly happy with the neutral, muted palette the photo gives.



The second and last Creative brief was ‘Kabuki’s Kingdom’ all about Japanese theatre and fabrics! Very excited about this brief, luckily for me I have been fairly obsessed with Japan since I was a teenager so already had lots of reference material around the house (for once I didn’t have to look online for any research!). Most of my reference photos came out of a Japanese woodblock print book.

This brief for me went up and down with liking it and not liking it, one day I’d create a load of motifs I really liked and the next couldn’t get the same motifs to work together on the page! So frustrating at times. With the course deadline looming I had to force myself to stop messing with motifs and make a decision.


I’m reasonable pleased with the results but would have liked more time on the Kabuki brief.

The second and last Fun Brief was all about creating patterns through photography. I have some little cute foam mushrooms from a craft shop which I started playing with. These ended up all over the logs in my log store and I think they look quite good.

The second idea came from a tin of clock/watch cogs I have along with a load of tiny keys! This turned into a rather steampunk style pattern.



Quite a fun idea and a great exercise to help with any creative block as it gets you thinking outside the box.

Overall I’ve enjoyed the Winter School, it’s given me both a focus and a direction. The Bright Blooms brief I really liked and will continue exploring, especially as in right on trend for 2018. I want to try and work with more abstract (rather than realistic) motifs as I think this is more suitable for pattern design.

I will likely sign up for some of the longer Make It In Design modules as I found the content very good. I can certainly recommend the Winter or Summer Schools for anyone that needs that creative push!

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