Magnolia Blooms

Inspiration for this surface pattern series comes from the magnificent, flowering branches of the Magnolia tree. It is regarded as the oldest flowering plant, with fossils dating back 100 million years ! With strong symbolism across different cultures, Magnolia is widely admired for its spectacular and flagrant blooms. 

This sur­face pat­tern design pro­ject was a part of my ongo­ing col­lab­or­a­tion with Kidspattern. If you’d like to learn more about them please vis­it their web­site HERE. Alternatively, view the archive of our pre­vi­ous pro­jects HERE, in which I dis­cuss in detail the his­tory and nature of our work.

All cloth­ing-mockups presen­ted here are provided cour­tesy of Kidspattern and are used for visu­al­isa­tion pur­poses only.

Surface Pattern Brief 

This sur­face pat­tern devel­op­ment series was com­mis­sioned for a client’s Spring — Summer Collection for girls aged up to 36 months old. Below, please view the col­our palette dir­ec­ted by Kidspattern which is com­posed of a tan beige, zesty yel­low and an eleg­ant duo of blues (both light and dark).

The flor­als were drawn using a digit­al ink pen with a leaky fin­ish for an extra touch of tex­ture, and cre­ated as indi­vidu­al motifs to allow for great­er free­dom in later com­pos­i­tions. These were then arranged into branches of bloom­ing magnolia.

Experimentation with the type of fill for out­line draw­ings was com­mon over the devel­op­ment of this series : start­ing with the shad­ing applied irreg­u­larly with a thick brush in a flat man­ner in mul­tiple col­ours from the palette, then fol­lowed with a more tra­di­tion­al type, which only uses one col­our and runs along the shape of the petals. Playing with the fill cre­ated highly tex­tur­al and sens­ory flor­als to the design.

Traditional Shading

The sur­face pat­terns pic­tured to the right here, employ a slightly dif­fer­ent meth­od of shad­ing, which is a little more real­ist­ic. Additionally, by using only one col­our, the design works with a mono­chrome scheme, thus offer­ing a much more subtle col­our solution.

The first pat­tern ver­sion is recol­oured in a duo of balmy yel­low shades and is placed against a crisp, white back­ground, which makes it look very fresh and elegant.

Whilst, the second pat­tern is recol­oured in a smooth, milky chocol­ate palette, using the same shade of brown in two dif­fer­ent tints, which offers a dimen­sion­al print with the white petals pop­ping out from the dark­er back­ground. This design is visu­al­ised in a sub­stan­tially smal­ler size than the pat­tern on the white.

Burst of Colour

Both of these sur­face pat­terns are com­posed out of flor­als filled in with the trans­ition­al, multi-col­our type of shading.

Additionally, they explore the full breadth of the col­our palette using 100% sat­ur­a­tion of all the selec­ted pantones.

These designs vary in the spa­cing between the magno­lia branches, but both see the pat­terns placed on col­oured back­grounds. The yel­low design in par­tic­u­lar, would be per­fect for a bold and mod­ern sum­mer dress.

Shadow Backdrop

Lastly, for this sur­face pat­tern series there was exper­i­ment­a­tion with the addi­tion of a flat sil­hou­ette in the back­ground of the magno­lia branches. This added depth to the design, turn­ing it into a much fuller and dimen­sion­al print.

Here, is presen­ted two dif­fer­ent col­our-ways, with a par­tic­u­larly inter­est­ing match of mono­chrome white and brown magno­li­as set against a blue back­ground. The oth­er con­tin­ues to explore a jux­ta­pos­i­tion of a brown back­ground with yel­low florals.

Limited Number of Colours

This final ver­sion sees the flor­als filled in with a flat shape, with no addi­tion­al lay­er of shad­ing. It also con­tin­ues to use the magno­lia sil­hou­ettes in the background.

Meanwhile, here the sur­face design is sim­pli­fied to the use of only two col­ours and thus is presen­ted in two dif­fer­ent mono­chrome schemes. One is focused on the blue, whilst the oth­er looks at the brown aspect of the palette- both offer­ing a sim­pli­fied design to use as a sup­port­ing print.

Finally, the last pat­tern is reduced to the use of merely one pantone, and with the con­trast of white and dark blue this offers a bold and graph­ic state­ment flor­al print.

Surface Pattern in Print

Please browse through a slideshow selec­tion of a few examples of this pat­tern in print. These are pho­to­graphs from the client’s first cloth­ing samples pro­duced to dis­play at a trad­ing fair as a part of the launch of their over­all Spring-Summer Collection. Here you may observe how this sur­face pat­tern was used and prin­ted across mul­tiple items and how it fits with­in the wider con­text of the col­lec­tion. Also attached are a few close ups of the accom­pa­ny­ing spot illustration.

Please note that these images are provided cour­tesy of the cli­ent and Kidspattern and are used for port­fo­lio pur­poses only.

“The claw of the magno­lia, drunk on its own scents, asks noth­ing of life.”

Sylvia Plath