Unexpected Design

Yesterday Jan DiCintio of Daisy Janie shared an awesome post showing one of the ways she comes up with new designs.  Jan was inspired to share her process after reading this post from the amazing Jessica Gonacha Swift and this post from the equally amazing Stephanie Corfee.  Jan has also been very generous in sharing her process in the past- just refer to her archives for more wonderful inspiration.  I love the work of all of these ladies and I wanted to share an example of how I come up with some of my designs.

First, you should know that I work almost exclusively in Adobe Illustrator.  I've raved about this program before, but I'm telling you, it is my best friend.  So all of the work I am sharing here is done in Illustrator.  If you are familiar with the program then you will understand the steps that I take.  If you do not use the program then some of this may be a bit confusing as it is not meant to be a tutorial, just an example of what one can do.

Many of my designs are well planned and highly thought-out.  Many come from sketches and are formed much in the way that Jan showed on her post.  Others come about from playing around and experimenting in Illustrator and that is what I'm sharing here.  It is exciting for me to come up with a pattern that I never would have thought of in my head but purely came about as a result of relaxing and allowing myself to explore and play.

For this pattern, I used the Star Tool (not sure if that is the official name, but it is one of the shape options in Illustrator) to create an 8-point star (1) and then I rounded the corners slightly (2).  I then saved the star with the rounded corners as an Art Brush. I used the Circle Tool to draw a circle (3) and then applied the new Art Brush to the outline of the circle (4).  The result was an unexpected shape, a shape I probably would not have dreamed up.

Next, I copied, pasted and flipped the new design (5). I copied, pasted in front, then rotated the design 90 degrees to create the shape you see figure 6.  Then I grouped the new shape, went to Effect-Pathfinder-Exclude and was given the shape you see in figure 7.

I copied, rotated and aligned the objects to come up with the images you see below (8 & 9)  These are steps I take to round out and complete the design and give it more depth and interest.

Sometimes keeping it simple is best, but for this I wanted to show you how I add more (usually dots) to enhance the design.

Now that I have added and aligned my elements (10 & 11), I am ready to add some color (12):

And this is the pattern that comes from that design:

Here is another example of what can be done using the same original shape.

Figure 13 is the shape I ended up with in step 7.  I rotated the image and then picked out the top of the image to use in creating a new motif (14).  I copied, pasted and flipped to get image 15.  Then it became a matter of copying, pasting, rotating and inserting (and adding dots!) until I ended up at image 18.

I applied some color:

And here is another pattern:

I could go on and on as the possiblities are endless.  It is fun to see all of the patterns that can come out of one simple shape.  Here are four more simple patterns that I quickly created to demonstrate:

This is just one of the ways I arrive at designs and it should be noted that these are all simple repeats.  Coming up with tossed or scattered patterns is another fun process in and of itself.  Any shape you choose to start with will lead you to numerous options and unlimited patterns.  It is fun, easy and I love seeing the results because they are never anything that I would've thought of and tried to create.  And I'm left with some nice patterns that I may or may not add to my portfolio.  I consider a lot of these as exercises, but many of them end up as keepers.

I hope you enjoyed seeing this.  This was certainly a fun post to write.  If you try this process, please let me know as I'd love to see what you come up with!