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This summer I enrolled in Make It In Design’s Summer School. Make It In Design is an awesome website created by pattern designer Rachel Taylor and her business partner Beth Kempton. They provide designers – new and old – with tools to learn surface pattern design, how to build a business in surface pattern design and a load of other resources that can be used in the industry. It’s a one stop shop. Surface pattern design is an area that I have been interested in exploring for a long time and now I’m jumping in head first.

Summer School is four weeks and made up of three tracks – Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Since I am new to surface pattern design, I enrolled in the beginner track.

I do have to admit that this is the second time I have enrolled in Summer School. I enrolled last year, but was so frustrated with my design that I gave up. Not good. Not good at all. This year I’m not giving up. I’m determined to finish.

The theme for the first creative brief is “Soft Pop Bright Retro.” The challenge is to draw a bright, retro pattern using simple shapes and bright colors.RT_FUNHELLO_550PX_LR-550x550The first thing that came to mind after reading the prompts were light bulbs. Where is the best place to search for inspiration you ask? Why Pinterest of course! I searched the key words “retro,” “bright,” “simple” and “shape.” I love Pinterest. the first items to come up were light bulbs! It must have read my mind!Mood board

Lightbulb processOne aspect of my drawing that I knew I wanted in my design is my watercolor technique that I created in Illustrator. This technique allows for a lot of textured color. I love  the simplicity of the shape of this light bulb. In my eyes, it’s very retro.

The next challenge was to create a pattern. The brief for the beginner’s track stated that the pattern did not have to be a technical repeat. Well, that’s not me and I wanted a technical repeat. Thanks to a Creative Live class that I took a while ago, I was successful in creating a repeating pattern. Yay! The problem is that I discovered that pattern swatches in Illustrator are not compatible with Photoshop. Uh Oh. When I design, I’m accustomed to moving back and forth between the two platforms. This is definitely an issue that I will have to tackle in the future.

This is the finished pattern that I created and submitted. I LOVE it! Love it! It is simple and bright and I even worked in a little typography. I couldn’t be more proud of this one!Jamie_Niebergall_BEG_CB1


What is a great pattern if you can can’t see it on a product? Of course, I need to mock it up right? I have never done a mock up before, so I searched Google for a tutorial and found a couple of videos. I put them together and came up with these two mock ups. It’s a shame I can’t buy this…yet.

Pillow Mockup1 Box mockup

I would love to know what you think of my pattern!

On to creative brief #2!