Behind every design on Spoonflower is an independent artist —in fact, there are over 20,000 designers in the Marketplace and more joining every day. We chatted with a few designers whose work is featured in the Spoonflower Winter Magazine to learn more about their design style, how they get inspired, and what advice they have for new designers.
“My design style is clear, reduced, experimental, graphic, abstract, bohemian, minimal, hand-drawn, with the love for details. Some say it is sophisticated—and I like that.”
“My design style is cute, colourful, and character-based, appealing to both young and young-at-heart.”
“Most of my designs are repeating patterns rendering known images into unpredictable patterns.”
“My design style is curvy lines with a bit of sass; interspersed with mid century modern vibes sometimes sprinkled with birds.”
“My design style is artful, surprising, and fun with a dash of magic.”
Where do you find your design inspiration?
Julia: I find my design inspiration in life, music, nature, magazines, museums, art exhibitions, children’s books, the play of light and shadow, traveling, on walks, in my garden – I like to capture my inspiration in photos.
Ves: Being a mum to a 5 year old boy exposes me to a variety of children’s themes and interests. I then look to interpret those themes in my own style. I also love looking through children’s books and taking note of the various illustration styles and printing techniques.
Arthur: I generally start with a small visual element, drawing or fragment of an image or photograph and work from there with color and shape variations.
Virginia: I love to tell a story with my designs. The story is the introvert in me and the design the extrovert. Hidden personal messaging is my inspiration.
Sarah: I’m constantly seeking inspiration and sometimes it finds me when I least expect it. I see patterns everywhere. I try to cultivate an openness to seeing and thinking in creative ways wherever I am and whatever I’m doing. When I’m really on the hunt for a new idea, I love to travel. Even if it’s just getting out of town for the day or the afternoon. There is something to that disruption in my time and opening of space to think and see something new that allows inspiration to come. I love the discovery that happens every time I create a new print.
What is a surprising fact about yourself?
Julia: I traveled with my husband and my two kids for one year through South America in a VW Westi Camper. We had the great and unforgettable opportunity to get to know countries like Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Columbia.
Ves: I studied graphic design over 10 years ago as a creative outlet from my day job in finance. My passion for design didn’t really awaken until I had my son Hugo. Once I discovered the world of good children’s design, I was hooked and wanted to create my own. I first started with illustrated character-based art prints, which later evolved into kids party invites, and now surface pattern design. I even designed and manufactured my own memory match games.
Arthur: I am the author of the internationally best-selling Murphy’s Law books.
Virginia: I’m half extrovert and half introvert.
Sarah: I get tattoos to literally mark different moments in my life. I imagine myself as an old woman in the nursing home being given a sponge bath and being able to tell the story of my life though these images that are found in all the folds on my body.
How do you get involved in the Spoonflower community?
Ves: The Weekly Design Challenges are a wonderful way to give support and be supported by the talented Spoonflower community. For me, Instagram is key to keeping connected with fellow designers and seeing what latest patterns and projects others are working on.
Virginia: I love people and getting to know them. First through their design and then their personalities. Spoonflower friends are completely supportive and I think my SF community has turned into a band of sisters and brothers.
Sarah: I learned about Spoonflower back in 2012 and was completely floored. I thought it was so amazing that there was a platform where I could print my own designs and have a shop at the same time—I jumped all in! Spoonflower made a way for me to design collections and see those designs come to life. For the first time I could think about how my own designs translated to a real marketplace. I love how I’ve been able to share these designs with other makers over the years. I’m constantly inspired by the whole community.
Which color best expresses your personality and why?
Julia: Like in music, I like the minor tones, the muted and earthy colors mixed with pops of yellow, mustard, indigo and green. I like it harmonious, but not boring.
Ves: Shades of blue—a bright blue sky always gets me in a happy mood.
Arthur: I don’t have a color preference, but I seem to try to make a teal version of many of my designs.
Virginia: I love black with speckles of color that shine in the light.
Sarah: Green! It reminds me of my grandmother’s shag carpet, the color of my eyes and my daughter’s and nature. Green ties me to myself, my family, and the earth.
What advice would you give to new designers in the Spoonflower Marketplace?
Julia Schumacher: Try to find your own voice.
Ves: Don’t be afraid to be unique and find your own way of interpreting a trend or theme. If you notice a pattern you have designed is popular, offer it in a few colour ways. Use social media to test your designs on a real audience by using the beautiful product mockups that Spoonflower provides.
Arthur: Create designs that you would love to have yourself rather than following trends or pleasing the market. There are millions of designs, so you will probably be your biggest customer.
Virginia: Do you. Do your own thing. Your design essence will SHINE if you do what is meaningful to you.
Sarah: Just start! You don’t have to design something for everyone. If you design something you truly love, other people will too. Prints are personal. Get your work out there and share it. Your art wants to be seen! The Marketplace is huge now, but don’t let that discourage you. You’re in such good company in this community!
Get to know even more Spoonflower designers in our Meet the Designers series!