November 9, 2022

3 steps to find and organize inspiration using pattern design software - advice from pattern designers

Theren Moodley
Theren Moodley
Co-Founder

For pattern and print designers, finding and organizing inspiration can be a challenge - this step by step guide will help

I’m just gonna come out and say it. All designers, be it fashion, pattern or print, hate organization 👀

For the past year we’ve been in private beta, we’ve spoke to over 400 designers from all over the world, and that’s been a common theme.

Moodboarding 🙋🏽‍♀️

Storytelling 🙋🏽‍♀️

Organizing 🙅🏽‍♀️

So, as pattern and print designers in particularly find this vital part of the inspiration process challenging, I’ve written this short step by step guide to help designers use pattern design software to organize their research and inspiration.

  • What is design inspiration?
  • What is inspiration design process?
  • Why is inspiration important in designing?
  • How do I find inspiration for my design?

In these 3 easy steps, you’ll hopefully be able to ideate, research and organize your inspiration, to give you more time in your workflow being creative 👇

Step  ❶ - What is design inspiration? Creating a theme

Before we even begin explaining the process we need to go back the very start and answer the first question of this blog, what is design inspiration?

For pattern designers, design inspiration are the inputs, that lead to the outputs, i.e. a design.

A bit meta for you? Ok let’s try again 🙃

Design inspiration are the various factors that spark the imagination and eventually lead to a pattern designer creating a design, and for pattern designers, this design inspiration can be found everywhere 🌍

Some pattern designers are inspired by the pages of vintage books, while many others are inspired by plants, animals, and nature in general to generate ideas.

Dana, who is a pattern designer and member of our community, takes her inspiration from the Peacocks that in the park across the road from her house in Victoria, Canada 🦚

Dana peacocks in the park
Anyone for peacocks across the street?

Ok, now we have a better idea about what is design inspiration, lets get into how designers come up with a theme 🖼

Before even looking at any pattern design software, first a pattern designer needs to find and come up with a theme for their design.

In practice this is usually dictated by the client, but most pattern designers we spoke to had quite a lot of freedom in the execution.

For example, pattern designer Bex, was given the overall theme of Christmas for the the below piece of work, but used her memories and experiences of winter in London to inspire her to create this illustration ❄️

Christmas in London by Bex Morely
Christmas in London by Bex Morley

Step 🥈 - What is the design inspiration process? Find the right sources

Ok, step one done 🥳

We know what is design inspiration, as well as how pattern designers decide on a theme and incorporate their inspiration into it.

Now for step 2, what is the design inspiration process and how to find the right sources 🧐

In a summary, the design inspiration process generally involves a pattern designer using the sources of inspiration and ideas mentioned previously, and starting to find more sources to pad them out, before starting to build a collection.

For example, if the theme of the board is Christmas, and the inspiration is Christmas in London, then the pattern designer could start to look for more sources of that theme to help them create the final design 🎄

Building a library of content for the pattern designer is vital to help them pull their ideas together, find elements of the inspiration they like, and use that to create something new and exciting in the pattern design software.

The below walkthrough shows this process in action using Make the Dot 🟣

Although there are so many sources around online, a few we’d recommend to pattern designers are:

If you’d like to learn more of the design and inspiration process, checkout our blog on the topic.

Next up, organizing that content in the pattern designer software 👇

Step ③ - How to organize inspiration? Using pattern designing software

The third and final step in the process for pattern designers, involves organising inspiration using their pattern designing software 🏃‍♀️

How to organise inspiration for pattern designers is not a one size fits all solution.

Some pattern designers like to group content by certain attributes, eg; color, card type, image type

Other pattern designers group their inspiration on their pattern design software around a few key hero images

Yet some prefer to cluster content in different parts of their pattern design software around certain attributes such as colour or theme in image

Finally some simply prefer to leave the content on the pattern design software as is, and use filters to organize their inspiration

There is no one size fits all in the creative industry and pattern designers are no different, when deciding how to organize inspiration on their pattern design software ⚙️

If you’d like to learn more about our recommendations for the top 3 pattern design software on the market today, checkout on comparison on that here.

How do you find and organize inspiration in your design process?

That’s it from me, but if you’d like to get in touch and let me know how you find and organise inspiration in your design process, I’d love to hear from you.

Or, if you’d like to learn more about the world of pattern designers, have a read through our other blogs on the topic below

Until the next time 🤙🏾

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