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