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Proworks Bottle Contest

I saw this opportunity on Instagram originally and its been on my list a while, because there is a £500 licensing opportunity and the chance to see my designs on these bottles would be interesting. I thought a few of the tropical designs I was working on for the contest due yesterday would work, so I had a go at putting these onto a mockup.

I think the bright colour schemes work well and I am happy with how they turned out, I might look into doing a few more of these if I have a look through some other contests I have done previously.


Spoonflower Contest – Tropical Surrealism

A tropical challenge seemed interesting because its something I have not had a go at yet, like a twist on my natural woodland designs. I thought about the idea of surrealistic and how I could make forms of animals or other things out of leaves, but I thought more about the concept and I think to be visually appealing it had to be something different. So I thought about the more surreal part being the colouring in the leaves and making some bold decisions.

I chose a parrot to represent the tropical aspect as I think of it as a very ‘rainforest’ kind of creature with a very bright and interesting colour palette by itself, which the patterns reflect as I took those colours over to the leaves, foliage and feathers around it. I also prepared some tropical fruit motifs too but decided to leave them out of the first pattern I did, but I made some other co-ordinating patterns for this anyway.

I wanted the parrots to be the focus of the designs, so I think spreading them out like this worked well, and pulling the colours out of the parrots for the feathers and leaves make it look more flowing, although I think adding that purple kind of leaf into it was quite effective to give it a little bit of difference.

I wanted to try and make these co ordinating designs as bright as I could, really experimenting with the colours and patterns. I also enjoyed working on the linear designs using the feathers and the one with the palm leaves too. I think these all work quite nicely and I tried these last few without dots too and I do think they look a little plain but could work as a blender.

I mentioned that I had created some tropical fruit motifs too, I used these to create some pattern designs that I think lot a little different from the main collection but I think do look quite nice. I used pineapples, coconuts, starfruit and papayas I think, I actually did not know what a papaya or starfruit looked like before my research for this little challenge.

Ohh Deer Contest

I discovered this contest on Instagram after following the last one that Ohh Deer threw, this time they were looking for packaging designs for these boxes that they send out. It had to be a black and white design and I immediately went to leaf skeletons, I had finished drawing one and it was incredibly intricate, so I did a few more and then put this design as a mock up on the box.

I think this design worked well on the box, although I wish I had done some smaller leaves as if I was to minimise these too much they would distort too much, but overall I am quite happy with this design.

I also decided to try converting one of my graduate collection’s into a more monotone pattern which I think turned out quite nice on the box too.

I think this one is effective but I am not sure if it meets the design for being black and white as it does have shades in it. I think if I get more time before the end of the month I will try more of these, but so far I am happy with the design of these.

Placement Designs

I experimented with placements a lot throughout my pattern making, at first I just planned on creating a standard middle placement of each animal to have in the collection, however I thought about broadening my collection and maybe for each animal’s mini-collection, I could have a different placement type.

I had tried some corner placements and headers too which I think worked out well, I also tried some opaque placements and line drawings, but these did use the same motif as the original middle placement so I did not think these were that different and did not have as much function as the others could.

Obviously the dots differ in size here so I think I need to make sure these are more of a similar size, but I do actually quite like the larger ones, I think the dormouse was kind of hard to stop doing them when they were that small. I actually think the squirrel ones are a good size, so I will standardise these before I put them into the lookbook, I think I would probably choose the dormouse collection to represent this one because it was the first one done, and I think the dormouse is the cutest one here.

These top corner designs were interesting to do and I think fit the corner idea that I was going for quite well, I love how they represent the colour schemes of each one as well and I think the busyness reflects in the rest of the collection which I think works out well. I think the best out out of these is the hedgehog, so I think the hedgehog collection would represent this placement design quite well on the kind of final pattern boards. I think the corner placements are good too because they can be easily flipped to work on the other top corner as well.

I thought the bottom corners were effective too and could go well with the top corners on the right sized product. I think these would look great on papers and letters as well. I think the hare here was the starting point for this as I though the shape of the hare motif worked perfectly to fit the corner design I wanted. I had a lot of positions from each of the animals so it was something I was able to do to make a design fit with each of the placements that I wanted.

Finally the header design was created, I tried this first without symmetry, and this time with it, and I think the idea of it being symmetrical works well. Again I think these could work well for papers and covers, but could fit something that is this shape very nicely, such as a long desk calendar or something that is long and short as I think most things are square or taller. I think the red squirrel is the best one to represent this because I do like the movement in that design in particular.

Overall I am happy with the placements I have come up with, and will continue to experiment with any other ideas that I have, but for now I think these have worked really well and I am pleased with the outcomes of continuing to push myself and experiment with these.

Spoonflower Contest – Day at the Lake

The Day at the Lake contest made me think of cabins, boats and fishing particularly, although a day at the lake for me would probably be walking, photography, spending time with friends, just because I do not know how to fish.

I decided on the theme of fish because I thought I could do quite bright and vibrant with the colour choices and interesting shapes with the actual fish.

Hero Design

The hero design came out quite bright with all the fish swimming in a couple of different directions. I like this, but I think the contrast of the colours make it look more child-like, nothing wrong with that but its not generally the market that I aim for, so I guess I should keep this in mind in the future when I am playing with the brighter colours.

I tried some designs that used a single colour for the fish in the foreground then a contrasting colour for the background. I actually think that some of the darker colours worked well with this but I found the purple and blue combination to be particularly harmonising.

I tried the designs using the blue and purple combination, then tried them with a range of blue, purple and yellow backgrounds for this. I think this is interesting and I actually ended up submitting the blue one for the contest. I think I always think I need to enter the hero design I do for the actual challenge but all these designs do still follow the theme so I think sometimes a slightly simpler design may be the one to go for.

Finally a few blenders here with the bubbles, I think these are quite cute and work well, although again I think the contrast of the yellow turns it into more a child-like design again.

Mockups So Far

I wanted to have a go at putting some of these products I was making onto the giftware and lifestyle products that fell into my category. I thought this would make me understand more about the scale of my patterns especially and mkaing sure that they work together well too.

I tried out some hair accessory mockups first, using some bits I had created in white fabrics. I tried this laid out first, and then also in more a situation being worn by a couple of girls. The scrunchies on her arm I think work well and work nicely together, and the hairband goes with them as well.

These products together look good I think, a good collection put together. The scrunchies I like here because they show the colourways of the hedgehog collection nicely together and then some of the other products show the secondaries well. I do not think I could put the hero on something quite this small, I think scrunchies need to relfect a bold colour or two and the heros may get too confusing, but I think they would work a lot better on anything bigger than this, such as notebooks and other desk stationery sets.

I think the stationery idea is good and I would like to see a few patterns used on these together. I also do like the idea of pens, pencils, pen holders, and then pencil cases could work as well. Similarly, the makeup bags and pouches could look really good too with the patterns on there.

I also tried a couple of cushion mockups, I think this could be quite effective as I think they would make a nice gift item which is what I am aiming for, although they would definitely be the biggest items I would be looking at, but would be perfect for showing the heroes.

Finally I wanted to try a blender design here as I thought it would be the part of my collection that could be suitable for fashion, I think my designs as a whole do fit more of this quirky giftware market and then could branch into interiors and stationery into that, but fashion is not something I considered too much. I think this does work though, easily with a matching scrunchie too it could be a good look.

I will continue to experiment with mockups of other gift products, even for just experimenting with my designs and see what I could expand to in the future. I plan on trying more stationery, as well as a mug and coaster set and some more makeup bags and accessories, which I plan on learning how to make to a professional level.

Raising Awareness – Packaging Experiments

So after the fabric wrap experiments I thought that packaging could be a good way to go to raise awareness of the species I was studying, as I could use text and images a lot better than just a piece of fabric used to wrap the parcel.

I first tried lino printing, which is kind of rustic looking due to the disturbed printing of this one. Again I have trouble with the materials available, a better, flatter cardboard would have made a difference, as well as the quality of the paint as well and the lino tools. However this looked okay, so I thought about digital printing again to see how this would improve it.

I next tried a lettering print, using a small set of stamps. This made the facts that I wanted to appear on the boxes much more clear and definitely would raise awareness of the animals. I think this worked well, but also think it could have been tidied up digitally.

These worked quite nicely, and I think in a bold unsaturated print it looked good. The last one I think is my favourite, using both the patterns and getting the fact in there too. Obviously these could be changed depending on the product in the box.

The tags I think work well too and could be quite effective in getting the message across which I am quite happy about. I think the effect of showing visually is definitely more important, like the half tag, you want to read to find out why only half the tag was used. Or the little hedgehogs to show the population is obvious for the decline and is quite a bold image.

Raising Awareness – Seed Experiments

I spoke in my research and my previous raising awareness posts about my idea of including seeds in the shape of a tag that you could go hang out in the garden, feed birds, squirrels, whatever you might have in your area. This could raise awareness of the different foods each of these species like, or could be more tailored to just suit a range of creatures in the garden, such as birds, as it is still helping out in the ecosystem. Plus seeds can be put in trees for birds, anything at ground level could attract rats which is not wanted.

I did a little research and decided to try some mixtures using lard, suet, seeds and some blackberries left over from the natural dyeing.

I first tried just using lard, I started to mix it in and it started to bond together a little. I added a little more too as the actual seeds would not cut, so I had to make sure there was enough lard for this to work. The end result you can see here is the tag shape, however I do not think it would hold up, especially if I was to poke a hole through it to get the string I needed through there. Also in hot weather I imagine this would just melt and fall apart, which could be a problem if it was inside hot packaging.

I thought I would give suet a go, as I had seen suet blocks in the shops that didnt seem to melt down so easily, they came in these small pellets that I was able to crush and roll with a rolling pin, doing this on top of some mixed seeds and suet too worked to help blend and bind it together.

I thought this was going to work better, but actually it was falling apart quite badly and crumbling, I put it into the fridge but it did not help it too much, however the fat ball I made was quite good. I decided to put this outside with a camera to see what kind of animals would go after it.

I left this out for the night, I had a malfunction with the camera that it decided not to pick up night vision during the darkness hours, but I did manage a few early morning shots of some magpies, little robins and bluetits on it, before it disappeared completely, I suspect a hungry squirrel.

Finally I tried the blackberry one, as this is a food that hedgehogs and dormice enjoy, however it just did not hold, even after a day in the fridge it just did not harden up, and also being wet from the dyeing the berries could mean that it could go bad and mould the seeds quickly.

So overall, this did not really work too well for the function I wanted it for. Maybe instead the idea of including some seeds to be grown, plants that the animals enjoy particularly, would be a more achieveable idea. I also think I could look into little bags of hedgehog foods or even proper little snacks for outdoors if I wanted to follow through with this idea, leave the actual snack-making to companies that have done it for a long time! It was fun though to see what I could do, and none of it will go to waste with all the birds and squirrels in my garden.

Raising Awareness – Natural Dyed Fabric Wraps

The main aim of my self-set brief was to raise awareness of the species that I was inspired by for this collection, and their stories. I thought also promoting sustainability would be great for this reason, the idea of fabric wraps is interesting because it could be found fabrics, from charity shops etc. Finding fabrics and reusing them is much more sustainable than buying new, and I think the problem with digital fabric printing is that is has to be this new fabric bought from a company for them to print on, it is not something that you can do at home, or even Uni with the broken printer, or maybe found fabric could have been tried for use on that one.

So I think if it was the case that I have to use new fabrics for my products, at least I could think of sustainable uses for my packaging. A fabric wrap could also be a nice way to finish the parcel off, and another idea could be to maybe include instructions on how the person buying the product could then reuse the fabric wrap themselves, to make it into a little gift for themselves or something. I think this idea would only really work for products in a shop or something, anything sent in the post will be harder to do that with as it would definitely need some boxes or plastic to keep it safe.

I thought I would try out the fabric wrap idea anyway, as it could be a nice extra and useful if I ever got products into a shop. I thought about natural dyeing next, to customise the found fabrics. I found some chiffon type material and decided this could work well with its floaty nature. I looked into natural dyeing a bit, I looked back in my technical file as I have done this before, and found blackberry dye.

Mashing the blackberries

I put the blackberries on to boil and gently mashed them to bring the colour out of them, this was fairly instant and came out well in the water. I left it to simmer for about half an hour on the rayburn, which kept it at a good medium temperature.

I used a built in colander pot for this, and actually as the water boiled, the berries were breaking down more and more, so the little bits did start going through the gaps, I think I should have run it through a much smaller holed sieve or something to ensure these bits were removed as they did end up sticking on the fabrics.

I put a piece of the chiffon into the pink and left it overnight to really soak in, I also had a green Dylon dye from trying out some patterns before, so I put some in here as well and also left this overnight. I took the pink out the next day, probably left it for a good 14-16 hours as it was still looking quite light. I hung it on the line and as it dried I was surprised it actually got darker as it dried and looked really good.

I thought the final colour was actually really nice, it came out very even. I left the fabric in the green synthetic dye even longer and when I hung this out, all the colour just dropped out from it, so this was unsuccessful.

I next thought to make it more interesting I could try some tie-dyeing with this fabric and also some other found fabrics, even liners from curtains or spare bedding, it sometimes had interesting textures on it.

I left these in the dye overnight and decided to dry them out. I actually went away for the weekend at this point so they were left for a few days but they were properly dried out.

Oddly, the same chiffon fabric here did not hold the colour when it was put into a variety of tie dye ties. The other thicker fabric works well, it kept the colour and it also shows the tie dye effects, this does not show on the chiffon at all, as the colour just didnt come through. The plain dyed sample was great though so I thought I would try this to wrap up a few things.

So these worked out quite nicely here, and I think it could be a nice touch as a gifting service, but I do not think doing this to every product and then putting it in a box to send anyway is any good as it could just be a waste of fabric, unless it was used to make something that could perhaps help species in the garden. Although this leads into my idea about using bird seeds and other things to encourage life in the garden, and use it as an actual tag for the products, so this will definitely be something I experiment into next.

Overall, I think this was a good experiment and shows me what could and couldnt work in the future. As for raising awareness, it does not do much in terms of promoting the individual four animals that I am looking at, but promoting the idea of sustainable packaging and fabrics could be very useful. I think continuing to look into raising awareness through the packaging is something that could work well, so I will continue to explore that both physically and digitally.

Filling some Gaps – Placements and Borders

I think it was the squirrel collection where I evolved this faded opaque placement design for a possible page or cover design, then the hare I developed the corner designs after talking to Keireine in a tutorial, then the hedgehog header finally which I still have not done yet.

So I had a go with the opaque examples here in green and yellow, the green has not turned out exactly how it should on my screen but has printed to a nice muted colour, I might revisit this for a better look but I would like this to be muted for a page, and maybe brighter for a front cover, so it is an interesting thing to experiment with. The corner designs I think are very cute, and I would love to make good use of these, I think they show the colours well and work well with the shape of the dormouse in both instants. I also tried a line drawing to try and do what I mentioned before on with the acetate paper, that will be a job to add to the list.

I changed up the colours of the squirrel placements, because I realised I had not used the yellow in any of the placements, and when I got to the hedgehog it was too late, it was the only collection that did not use the yellow as per my idea with the colour scheme distribution. So I changed this one to yellow, and I think with the blue it works really well and the placements of the animals is cute and graphic I think.

These were the ones missing for the hare, again here I think the green is quite hard to see on the screen so I need to look into this. The line drawing does look good however.

Next, I think doing the headers will be a good step to completing the collection so I can critique it myself and hopefully get some feedback as well.