What happens when a collection is curated by process vs. palette? Learn how Spoonflower artist Jay Trolinger created a textured bedding design collection by focusing on paring down his approach. By revisiting what he learned in college block-printing classes and reworking those skills for digital design, the end result is a rich, elevated look perfect for lounging as well as sleeping. This 4th post in a 7-part artist education series looks at the creation and selection of one bedding collection chosen for Spoonflower’s 2023 Summer Lookbook. Read on for Jay’s tips on how he designed his collection and also learn how it caught the attention of Spoonflower’s Senior Manager of Merchandising Emerson Jones. 

The top of a bed has been pushed up against a white wall. The close-up angle of the top of the bed details the linens on the bed. Against the white wall are two large Euro pillow shams featuring a design with black-and-white lines snaking through and across an olive green background. The duvet features the same design. The next two pillows have a bright blue background and black and blue vertical lines with cream circles and black circles in between the lines. Triangles in black and cream also dot through the design. The next two pillows have the same design as the bed’s top sheet, repeating large black starbursts on a white background. The extra long lumbar pillow at the front of all the pillows features small rows of squares in turquoise, orange, dark blue, light blue and cream.
Designs grouped together by technique, such as these textured designs, can work well together in a collection. Featured collection

Jay Trolinger headshot

Jay Trolinger 

Jay Trolinger is a transplant from Colorado to Oakland, California, where he lives with a poet-spouse and a stripey dog. He is fascinated by rhythm and texture and the endless variety of natural color palettes. His art practice bounces between digital design and handmade textiles with the odd bit of sculpture thrown in. 

Jay’s 3 Tips for Curating and Designing a Bedding Collection 

1. Don’t be afraid to group designs by style vs. color palette. 

This collection is grouped together by type of pattern vs. color, meaning that it’s more a product of a technique than a particular palette. This approach suits my work due to how I create my prints. I did a lot of block printing in school and have been trying to integrate that feel in my digital work. I tend to design at a large, wallpaper-friendly scale, so that even small repeats are subtly different. The end result is a lot of simple geometric designs massaged into a subtle linen texture with kind of an old-fashioned palette. This naturally leads to designs with a similar feel that work well visually together.  

2. Choosing your style deliberately can lead to great results.

For the designs in this collection, I made a definite trade-off by steering away from vector-based art. I love the depth and subtlety you get with this approach by crossing many textured layers of color, even if I lose some sharpness and scaleability in the process. Realizing the techniques I didn’t want to use for these designs made it easier to know what I did want to go with.  

3. Keep it varied.

Slight variations in the tilt, size and texture of a repeated element are really important for a natural feel. Even the simplest shapes come to life when they are given a little touch of individuality! Therefore, if you’re stuck, remember that small tweaks can lead to great things.  

How does the experience of curating for this project affect how you’ll design for collections moving forward? 

I’m really enjoying how the range of different scales looks together in this collection—I’ll definitely do more of that! Seeing the collection together has allowed me to think about what I’d like to eventually add more of, like ditsy prints

Take a Closer Look at Jay’s Textured Designs 

Here’s Why This Collection Was Included in Our Summer Lookbook 

To hear how this collection caught the eye of Spoonflower’s Senior Manager of Merchandising Emerson Jones for inclusion in our Summer Lookbook, we asked her about it: 

“Jay’s designs are some of my favorite on Spoonflower—his whole shop is filled with patterns that are easy to mix and match into modern, eclectic collections. The look here is casual yet intentional, the color palette is calming but interesting. You have a modern, Bohemian feeling duvet and sham set, paired with retro geometrics that feel familiar and comforting. This is the perfect bed to lounge in on a Sunday morning with a crossword and a cup of coffee.” 

See the Rest of the Series

How to Curate a Cohesive Bedding Design Collection

With Spoonflower artist Gargi Panwar

How to Create a Botanical Bedding Design Collection 

With Spoonflower artist Julia Schumacher

How to Include Variety and Scale in a Bedding Design Collection

With Spoonflower artist Allison Werberg

How to Create a Bold Floral Bedding Design Collection

With Brittany Watson Jepsen of The House That Lars Built

How to Put Together a Kid-Friendly Bedding Design Collection 

With Spoonflower artist Nadine Westcott

How to Develop a Modern Minimalist Bedding Design Collection

With Spoonflower artist Wendy Scheerlinck of House of May

Want to Learn How to Mix Patterns Like a Pro? 

Check out these actionable steps you can take to combine patterns and create show-stopping collections!
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