In spite of a super busy schedule at Pattern People, I was lucky enough to catch Jessie for a few questions. (Thanks Jessie!) Here's what I learned.
SPDG: What are your backgrounds and how did Pattern People come about?
JWV: Claudia is trained as a painter and my background is in art history and graphic design. When we met, we were both working in the corporate world in unfulfilling positions. We had a mutual appreciation of pattern and wanted to apply our talents more effectively. Pattern People arose from this shared vision.
SPDG: What are the main markets that you design for?
JWV: We design for a range of markets from apparel to interiors to technology, but our biggest market is womenswear apparel.
SPDG: Which market do you love working with the most, and why?
JWV: We love the challenge of designing crazy custom prints for fashion but interiors are equally fun — especially when all surfaces are addressed.
SPDG: How do you market your surface pattern design business and draw in new clients?
JWV: The standard methods — online advertising, print fairs and through collaborations.
SPDG: Has being based in Portland (as opposed to New York, LA or London) posed a challenge to getting work in surface pattern design?
JWV: No, although we do have to work a bit harder to keep our studio visible through alternative channels.
SPDG: What changes have you seen in the industry since you started?
JWV: There has definitely been a resurgence of interest in pattern design. We're seeing more and more young studios crop up which is great. They're bringing a fresh outlook and approach to a somewhat stale industry.
SPDG: I love the design tools you offer on your web site. The photo collections are an especially great idea for designers. Would you tell us a bit about how you got started creating your tools?
JWV: The design tools were born out of our own need as designers for usable assets. There can be so many limits when designing — timeline, asset availability, and so on — we thought we could help eliminate some of the challenges by offering a range of tools. We'll be launching more over the next few months, so please stay tuned!
SPDG: What surface pattern design blogs or websites do you follow regularly?
JWV: To be honest, we spend most of our time looking at other types of sites for inspiration rather than at surface design blogs or websites specifically.
Victoria & Albert Museum Archives — great for historical reference
Synaptic Stimuli — for visionary ideas
AnOther — for random inspiration
Designinspiration — for more random inspiration
and of course,
Pinterest — for a quick search
SPDG: What do you think is the best piece of advice you could give someone who is just starting out in our industry?
JWV: Research is key. Designers need to know the market they're designing for in order to make their designs effective and relevant.
SPDG: Any hints as to what's next for Pattern People?
JWV: We're excited to be speaking at the upcoming Adobe Max conference in LA this coming May. Come say hello!