Making, and making it real

Too long since my last post, I hope you managed to see at least some of the lovely work in the bloghop last weekend.

I’ve been working on a plan for this year, starting with finding manufacturers and finishing off my new website.

I’m expanding my portfolio before I launch the website properly, here’s some bits & pieces I’ve been working on today. The colours are bang on trend (as they say) for Spring / Summer 2013, which believe it or not is just around the corner. Can’t tell from the snow!

I’m sticking with the simplicity theme at the moment. I’m thinking a lot about where my patterns might actually be used and who might wear, or drink from, or dry up with them, and whether the pattern will work in the ‘real world’ and not just on a computer screen – there’s quite a difference.

When I have some manufacturing sorted I can try out my theories!


Teal, acid yellow and dark greeny-grey are colours for next season


I’m sticking with simple motifs, in this collection they are graphic and geometric (with a hand-drawn wobble!)


A bold, graphic coordinate for the more delicate patterns above


Fly my pretties!


Hiya, hopefully you have reached me as part of the Let’s Fly bloghop, from the absolutely super-duper work of Esther Cox – if you’re not on the hop why not start from the beginning?

We’re showcasing the work of over 50 designers, and we’re all using the Pantone 2013 colour of the year Emerald in our designs.

I’m experimenting with keeping my work really simple at the moment, it’s easy to over-complicate patterns I find, and some of the patterns I love best are very simple and clean. Sometimes a bit of bravery is needed to strip something right back to the basics though!

For these patterns, inspired by the theme of flight, I have used very simple bird and cloud shapes and played with different layouts to create patterns which work as a collection but also have distinct personalities. You can see some of my initial doodles below, some visual brainstorming.

In 2013 I’m working on growing my portfolio and will launch my website shortly – to keep up to date you can follow me on twitter @annad_design.

I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section, before you head off to your next destination… the lovely and talented Kathryn Pledger!

Initial sketches

Initial sketches

Flying High

Flying High

A Warm Front

A Warm Front

Dusk Flight

Dusk Flight


A star made of koru - a Maori symbol of creation, growth and strength.

A star made of koru – a Maori symbol of creation, growth and strength.

As one year slips seamlessly into the next (apart from a little bit of haziness around 3am), it’s a good time to look back at 2012 and forward to all the possibilities in 2013.

A year ago I knew that I wanted to start a business, but wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted it to be. I had started painting shapes and patterns on fabric, and was grappling with graphics software to try to get the ideas in my head onto paper. Then I found the 2nd Print & Pattern book in a local shop and it piqued my interest, opening my eyes to the possibility of surface pattern design – obviously patterns must be designed by someone but I had never thought it was an actual job!

On the P&P website I found the online course The Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design, which seemed to offer what I was looking for, so I took a risk and signed up. The course got me creating, made me think and look at things differently, gave me a huge amount of industry information and, without being too melodramatic, has changed the direction of my career and life.

I’m still grappling with software, and still have a long way to go to get to the kind of business I’d like to have, but I have made massive progress in the last 12 months. I’ve starting building a portfolio of work, set up this blog, and a website (which I will officially launch in the next few weeks), and made products which real people have paid me real money for – this feels quite bizarre and very exciting!

Over the next few weeks I will make the finishing touches to my new site, and my major focus for the first part of this year is to produce lots more designs and collections to build up a really strong portfolio. And find a UK manufacturer for fabrics.  Oh and find an agent. So a quiet start to 2013…

What are your goals for the year?