Tips for Working With a Designer on Your Interior Projects
With many new markets opening up for wide-format digital printing, the possibilities of the technology seem endless. Yet all those opportunities can bring new challenges, and ultimately printing capability only gets you so far. To be successful, you need a good product. And for that, you need a good designer. In particular, for the interior design market, you need a someone with the skills to design specifically for that market.
If this industry is new to your business, there is a lot to consider before working with a designer. Do you want to dive right in and hire a full-time designer, or do you want to test the waters by working with a freelance designer? Whatever you decide, there are several criteria to look for when hiring a designer. Skills overlap in the world of design, and just like any other field you want the right person for the job. When you hire the person with the most appropriate skills, you end up with an easy working relationship and, most importantly, a product that will sell.
At Design Pool, when looking for designers, we focus on applicants with specific textile design training. In our experience, when it comes to designing patterns for the interior design market, textile designers have the particular skills we need.
What specific skills should you look for?
Detailed Knowledge on Pattern Repeats
Putting a pattern into repeat is about more than just tiling out a motif. You want a designer who knows the many different types of pattern repeats, as well as the common repeat sizes used by manufacturers in the industry.
Most people don’t think much about the negative impact of a bad repeat, but it can become a costly problem during production. A bad repeat often results in unintended striping (of either shapes or negative space) and can be difficult to correct after the design is approved. Fixing a bad repeat is not only an unnecessary nuisance, but can lead to delays in production.
A Strong Eye for Color
Look for a designer with a strong grasp of color, and specifically a designer with industry knowledge. A designer should use color well on its own and in relation to other colors, all while considering overall color placement and the end use of the fabric. For example, if a pattern is for upholstery, consider how the printed fabric will be cut up and used on actual furniture. You can’t have one pillow cut from an area with just red flowers, while the other is cut from an area with only purple flowers. It won’t look like the same fabric when made up on the finished product.
You also want a designer tapped into color trends specific to the market. A designer should be up to date on the trends within the industry they’re designing for, and where in the cycle of that trend we are. For instance, is this color a bold new accent perfect for a more modern space, or an updated version of a classic color suitable for more traditional interiors?
Expert Knowledge of Materials
Designing for interiors is about more than just a pretty design. It helps to work with a designer with a strong knowledge of fiber and material properties, as well as dyeing and finishing. This knowledge is critical to informing how a designer approaches a particular project. For example, a very flat material may benefit from visual texture to add dimension and interest when printed. On the other hand, printing on a substrate with a pronounced texture may benefit from bold shapes or areas of flat color. No two materials are the same, and whatever is used should inform the design or pattern printed on it.
If you’re thinking about printing fabric for the interior design market, it is an exciting time to get into the market. Just remember, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how fancy the printer is or how fast the turnaround time; people expect good design, and they’re willing to pay for it. Design is never the place to cut corners. Any investment made in your equipment won’t matter if your product doesn’t sell.
Kristen Dettoni is the founder and CEO of Design Pool LLC, the only pattern library created exclusively for interior designers. Since 1996, Kristen has worked for mills throughout North America, designing fabrics for automobiles, furniture, and home furnishings. She developed the first sustainable upholstery fabric for office interiors, the first sustainable upholstery fabric for automotive interiors, and was awarded a patent for automotive suspension seating. Kristen believes strongly in the power of good design to transform our environments and experiences.