Coming from a fashion design background makes working in collections something easier and like "the normal thing to do". But what is a collection? It is mostly story-telling through a group of patterns. Sounds easy, right? But actually, it is not always that simple. First of all, because, each piece has its role in the collection and it should be able to stand alone while also working harmoniously with the other patterns. It should have its uniqueness but still be cohesive.
Edit: This approach is rather meant for the bolt fabric industry, and still, each company works differently.
theme - storytelling
When inspiration strikes (or a briefing from a client) the very first thing to do is work on the story and the idea behind the collection: What is it about, who is it for, is it about a particular moment, a specific feeling? Is it about an object, a flower, an animal, is it abstract? I start putting together an inspiration folder with pictures or a Pinterest board. Then I make a moodboard that will guide me through the whole process. I write words that describe the collection I envision. How I will approach the theme will depend of the target end-user.
Color is another crucial factor for making collections and it relates directly to how cohesive the collection will be. It's important to offer different background colors without making it too "noisy". It's all a matter of balance. I usually create two colorways of the same collections. Some of them work better combined than others, but it's a never ending learning process!
types of patterns
There are different kinds of patterns in a collection and each has its function:
Hero or Focal pattern: It's the star of the show! Rich in details, color, scale, etc; It can have for example several layers. Role: The eye-catcher.
Secondary or Coordinate pattern: They are still pretty important and rich in detail but not as much as the Hero. Role: The supporter.
Simple or Blender: They are simple patterns like dots, stripes, more like background patterns. Role: Compliment the story. For example in a quilt, it's where the eyes go to rest.
Let's see some examples in two kinds of collections:
Mini collections are between 5-6 patterns. In this case, there is one hero or focal pattern (the bunnies in the wreath), 2 secondary or coordinate patterns (the magnolia and the tossed bunnies) and 2 simple or blender patterns (the dandelions and the Easter eggs).
Big collections are between 8-12 patterns (I mostly work in collections of 10 patterns). In this case, there are two hero or focal patterns (patterns 1 & 2), 4 secondary or coordinate patterns (3-6) and 4 simple or blender patterns (7-10).
Each client and project is unique and has their articular needs.
I'll be happy to assist you, so let us talk about it and let me show you some examples of my work!