Our vibrant community of independent designers around the world continues to inspire us with boundless creativity. From professionals to self-taught artists, the Spoonflower Marketplace is full of amazing talent, making it the most exciting place to shop for designs you won’t see anywhere else. Hear from five designers that have caught our eye with their unique contributions.
“My designs are inspired by pugs and other dogs, which bring the sense of humor, cuteness and relaxation all at the same time.”
“I would describe my style as quirky, cute and full of animals.”
“I design abstract paintings for decor fabric and subtle textures for clothing.”
” My design style is eclectic and emotionally driven. What I create always depends on my mood.”
“I love creating patterns, painting flowers & scheming new color palettes. And always, mixing up the classics with a bit of whimsical imperfection.”
Where do you find your design inspiration?
Chalermphol: Mostly from animals, especially my pug, and a fitness-focused healthy lifestyle.
Mindy: My two boys, Hill and Fox are my unlimited source of inspiration. They love animals and all thing cute so I know I have something good when they say something is adorable and ask to see it more than once!
Cathryn: I sketch in black ink on index cards, scan and turn splats into digital brushes and pattern fills, then see where they take me. Watching other designers on Spoonflower reminds me to take risks and try new color combinations. There are many amazing creatives here – and they’re mutually supportive.
Erin: Everyday life! I think as a creative, you are always looking at things in a creative way – even the rotting bananas on the kitchen bench or flowers that have fallen to the ground outside. Anything can spark an idea and I always have way more ideas than I have time to execute so I jot down notes (which I can never read – I have terrible handwriting), create Pinterest boards and do little sketches to try and remember. Often I am inspired to create a particular thing only to end up with something entirely different!
Alison: The beach town I live in constantly blows me away with amazing views, plants, colors. My teen girls are always giving me fresh viewpoints on fashion and color palettes. And, music! A band’s vibe, their styles—I love all kinds of music and I have it playing while I’m working constantly.
Which color best expresses your personality and why?
Chalermphol: Green because it makes me feel calm and at peace.
Mindy: I would say a clover green because it is bright, fun and a little offbeat.
Cathryn: I tend to design with neutrals and dark colors that I’d like to find in clothing, the blue and cream I’d put in my home, and golden ochres of wood, rich oranges, fresh greens to bring in the outdoors. I push to understand colors I don’t use; and see how they can work in combinations.
Erin: Optimistic green + a whole lot of happiness yellow + a dash of fiery crimson = ME. I’m candid, tend be an over-sharer and I choose positivity over negativity. I can also get a little, er, feisty.
Alison: All shades of blue. I’m a Pisces, I love the water & I live near the beach. It can be soothing or bold and is a great basic to pair with any color.
What are your design goals for the year to come?
Chalermphol: My goal for this year is to doodle everyday and I hope to finish one or two drawings a day.
Mindy: My big goal for this year is just to create a lot more work! I have also been enjoying collaborating with some makers this year and would love to do more.
Cathryn: I am building ideas for 3D fiber art gallery pieces. Shh!
Erin: I’m setting aside time to learn new skills and continuing to develop my style. In turn, I want to create more of what I truly love and not what I think I ‘should’ create. I’d like to dive deeper into pattern licensing, grow my Spoonflower store and continue working with and supporting the community of talented makers I’ve had the pleasure of ‘insta-meeting’. I’d also really love to find a mentor.
Alison: I’m looking forward to growing my surface design business. I can’t wait to work with even more amazing makers; and see what collaborations and new product lines will bloom.
Fill in the blank: I love to see when makers turn my designs into ______.
Mindy: I love to see when makers turn my designs into anything for animals or kids – you end up getting the most adorable photos!
Cathryn: Wall hangings and room dividers that bring fine art into living spaces. Chiffon looks amazing suspended from a rod – airy, with crisp printed details, and it welcomes light through.
Erin: So many incredible things that I am not at all clever enough to make! Everything from apparel, baby bedding, toys and booties, to pet leashes and cup cosies. I have especially loved seeing interior designers being asked to use my designs on wallpaper in living rooms and kids bedrooms. I’ve found that extra-exciting because of the scale!
Alison: Anything from a small soft baby blanket to a reupholstered chair. But, seeing my wallpaper in someone’s home is my ultimate favorite!
What advice would you give to new designers in the Spoonflower Marketplace?
Mindy: My advice to new designers is: “you do you.” To find success and your true voice as a designer you need to find that unique thing that makes your art truly yours. For me it was realizing that I just really enjoyed drawing cute animals and it came naturally and joyfully for me. I personally admire artists who make more elegant and ornate works and when I first started making patterns I struggled for a long time to make patterns in that style. In the end I realized I was struggling with it so much because it just wasn’t me! I love bunny rabbits, watching cartoons and still buy myself stuffed animals, of course my work should be more light-hearted and child like. As soon as I was able to identify and embrace my natural voice, my work became much more cohesive and I started to find success. So you do you, I’ll be me, and we will all thrive because there is room for everyone *group high-five*.
Cathryn: If you are not comfortable with a design, ask yourself how it could reach the coveted point. Spend time making it happen. If it’s a scanned painting, paint between the seams as though you’re starting over. Create what you’d like to see more of.
Erin: Don’t be overwhelmed by the 750,000+ designs already on the Spoonflower Marketplace – instead, create designs that you enjoy making (they may not be on-trend and that’s totally ok!) and then make sure your design titles are descriptive and tags are on point. From there you can use social media to ‘find your tribe’ – makers and brands who you relate to and who you think your designs will connect with. Genuinely engage with them and show an interest in their success! Collaboration is key.
Alison: Create what you love, and what you are most passionate about. My top selling fabrics are from designs I created for my personal use.
Get to know even more designers in our Meet the Designers series!