Surface Pattern Design Challenge 2017

Custom Pattern Design 315 Designs Heather McCoy

This past December, I participated in a design challenge hosted by the creators of MOYO Magazine based in the UK.   MOYO Magazine is a wonderful publication that covers all things surface pattern design.  Just looking at this magazine will drive you wild with inspiration!

The challenge presented participants with a surface pattern creative brief and an opportunity to show finished works in their gallery.


I enjoyed participating in the challenge for a couple of reasons:

1. To further enhance my surface pattern design skill set by joining a challenge to create several patterns from scratch based on a completely random creative brief. A creative brief not intended for branding design (which I'm very familiar with) but rather the intended purpose would be for use the fashion and textile industry to create clothing or maybe even household goods.

2. To step outside my comfort zone and gain some insight into the fashion industry.  

Backstory...  I love creating custom custom patterns based on simple doodles, shapes, lines and squiggles, however, most of my patterns are used for branding design or paper goods.  Textile design is a whole different ballgame and it takes some extra creativity and fashion sense.  Not that it cannot also work for certain brands, but I enjoy learning about the industry as a whole.

The first challenge was to create a 'Neutral Art' pattern using specifically a neutral palette, linear drawings, artistic marks, doodles and or delicate textures.

Below is the custom illustration I came up with to start which I named 'Whimsical Ink' (we were asked to come up with a name for our design).  This line art drawing is meant to look like ink that has been swirled on a surface and appear a bit liquid.  


Creating an illustration is fun and can be somewhat simple, but then comes the challenging part:

  1. Decide on the proper scale of the illustration once made into a pattern

  2. Decide whether to color or not color the lines

  3. Decide whether to add a background color or leave black and white

Below are the version of the pattern design I came up with.  To color or not to color?


Pattern Design Heather McCoy
Surface Pattern Design 315 Designs

I decided to go with my favorite, black and white version of the pattern.  It seemed to fit the look I was going for better as it was a bit more striking.  But what is amazing about pattern design is that a textile company could purchase the pattern and use different color combinations to suit their needs.


Below is my 'Whimsical Ink' pattern swatch shown in their Neutral Art Gallery. (6th from left on the top row)

Pattern Design Gallery

Here is an example of how this pattern would look on a throw pillow.  Wouldn't look great on a gray couch?

Whimsical Ink Pillow.png
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