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.
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.
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.”