A Reflection on Making Connections

At the start of this project, I was intrigued by designing for children because I hadn’t done it before, and in particular, I hadn’t really considered designing for boys. I grew up with a little brother, so had a sort of idea of what boys enjoyed. To give myself more of an idea of boys interior’s, I researched on WGSN and looked at shops and brands who sell children’s interiors. I discovered that there are more products for girls, perhaps because of the stereotype that interior design or nice looking things are for girls. This was exactly the reason I wanted to design for boys – to get away from pinks and use bright colours!

In the autumn term, my theme was quite wide, including gardening as well as creepy crawlies. After a few samples involving garden tools and vegetables, I realised that young boys wouldn’t want their bedrooms covered in vegetables – in fact in most cases they would probably hate it! As for the garden tools – I concluded that they probably wouldn’t be interested in those either, it’s more of an adult design than for children.

My collection has designs that involve digital design, print and stitch, some more than others as appropriate. I started off in stitch, learning how to use the digital stitch software and machines. I enjoyed learning a new technique, and got a digitally stitched bee out of it! While I wasn’t learning digital, I was using stitch techniques I learnt in first year and created another bee. I think this was the point that I decided I wanted to focus on bugs, as most boys have an explorer in their nature, and discovering bugs fulfils that sense of exploration.

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Digitally Stitched Bee
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Free Machine Embroidered Bee

 

This term, I didn’t visit the stitch room very often, in fact only once to make a digitally stitched appliqué of a ladybird, that would perhaps be the feature point of a cushion within my collection. I didn’t want to involve too much stitch in this collection, as I was wary of the stitch making it too ‘girly’ which is normally a negative thing for a young boy. This is why I used appliqué, so the whole bug wasn’t completely stitched.

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Digital Stitch Appliqué Ladybird

Print is where the vegetable and garden tools samples were created, and I screen printed a couple of designs. I am glad that I realised quite early on that bugs were to be the focus of the collection, I just needed to explore which bugs to use in my designs and how they would be drawn. I did a few drawings of bees, snails, ladybirds and some other bugs, and with a couple, in particular the bee, I did a detailed botanical drawing at first and then gradually simplified the bug. I think this was a successful way of drawing bugs for boys, as it took into account the features of each insect, but it was suitable for children. I did some lino prints of bees in the autumn term, but for me, the outcome wasn’t the type of design I wanted to create, so I decided to stick with screen printing and maybe explore other printing methods.

This term, I decided to give potato printing a go! I used potatoes that had been forgotten about so were no good to eat, and carved little insects into them. I was pleased with the outcome of my potato prints, however I think I should have done them in more than just black. At the time, all I was using them for was to scan in and create designs for screens, but I could have created some lovely prints in colour. The screen prints that resulted from the potato prints however, were successful! I really liked the texture that the potatoes gave to the designs, and I liked how it was unpredictable with each print. I added french knots to some of the bugs as eyes to give them a little character.

Towards the end of the term, I started to develop some digital designs using Illustrator, focusing on bees, ladybirds, caterpillars and spiders. For the bee and ladybird, I used motifs similar to those from the potato prints, simply because I was pleased with how they looked and was happy to keep that motif.

I am very pleased with my digital designs, and I impressed myself, as I had hardly used Photoshop and Illustrator since the digital module in first year. It came back to me very quickly! I like my use of simple shapes, and the change in scale used to create the designs. One of my favourites is the one that features both bees and ladybirds, as it brings all the other separate designs together, so a customer could have something in that design and then one of the bee designs and one of the ladybird designs, and it would work. I also really like the leaves that are just an outline – which happened completely by accident! It gives a focus to the caterpillars, which was ideal as the focus of the collection is on the bugs. However, I would like to go back into my digital designs and add some texture into a few parts of the designs, as quite a lot of Scion’s designs involve texture.

Looking back on the module as a whole, there are lots of things I am happy with, such as my appliqué ladybird, and a lot of my digital designs, but there are things I could improve on. I need to draw more, to develop my motifs more. I think I could also go back to screen printing and create some prints that match with my digital designs, giving a more complete and matching feeling to the collection. I have learnt that designing for children is harder than it looks, and that things can’t be left until last minute anymore. Planning ahead is the key to avoiding stress!

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