When asked to write this month’s “Inspired at NDG” post, I had a really hard time narrowing down just what it is that inspires me.
As a designer, I feel like I’m inspired by everything around me — music, fashion, architecture, interior design, film, science, books, a quiet walk in the woods, a great piece of furniture — the list could go on for days.
Of those, fashion and interior design have given way to my love of patterns. There’s something about symmetry and repetition that can be really fun and exciting. While I love creating logos, I love creating visual brands even more. It’s designing supportive elements like patterns that elevate a brand and help it take on a life of its own.
Can you imagine brands like Coach or Louis Vuitton without their signature patterns? A simple pattern can help something go from “plain Jane” to interesting or luxurious.
While a logo is most often thought of as the piece that creates brand recognition, a pattern can be just as powerful, if not more. Burberry has it’s plaid. Missoni has chevrons. Even Charles and Ray Eames had their dot pattern.
Two of my all-time favorite pattern creators have to be interior designer Jonathan Adler and mod fashion designer Orla Kiely. Whether creating textiles for a sofa or a handbag, both designers have a clean, vibrant aesthetic with a touch of whimsy that speaks to the mid-century designs of the 1960s. As their patterns have gained popularity, both designers have expanded their reach beyond interior design and fashion. Now, their patterns are available to the masses via phone cases, notebooks, housewares and even wallpaper.
Working on various brands at NDG, designing a pattern is a challenge that I will take on any day of the week. I like to see what elements I can pull out from a logo to create something new and fresh. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s always nice to experiment and watch a brand’s aesthetic grow and evolve. A pattern can be the main focal point of a design or used as a subtle background texture. Either way, it leaves a lasting impression of how we perceive and remember a brand.