Tag Archives: How To


Create an Original Piece of Work

As designers and creators, we personally put a lot into our projects to ensure that they are at the highest level of perfection as possible. Creating an original piece of work is one of the most gratifying things you can do, especially when you are free to create whatever it is you see or feel inside yourself. However, it is no easy task, particularly when there are standards or parameters to work within – a situation many designers find themselves in on a daily basis.

Unless you are lucky enough to be able to spawn a new idea, come up with its process, and put it into action instantly; creating an original piece of work does require some preparation and steps. Before creating an original work, you need to make sure it hasn’t been created, made, or produced previously by another person or entity. The simplest way is to start doing some old fashioned research. Do some online searches and look into your industry’s publications, blogs, and your competition’s webpages and social media. By doing this, you will not only ensure your idea is completely original and brand new to you, but also possibly gain new perspectives on what others in your field are doing and how you can create something better or different.create_original_postOnce you’ve got your original concept in mind, the next best step is constructing a plan to execute your final piece of work. This may take some time, experimentation, and development of skills or processes. Remember, the original plan may not always be the best one to follow through with! New ideas may spring up as you work through your course of action, so make sure to create some checkpoints for yourself to ensure that you are still on track to complete your project and keep it within your original vision. This is an original work straight from within, so expect some changes to occur but remember to stay true to your initial path.


Style is a simple way of saying complicated things

French writer, designer, playwright, artist, and filmmaker Jean Cocteau once said, “Style is a simple way of saying complicated things”. This is a man whose cohorts were people like Pablo Picasso, Coco Chanel, Edith Piaf, and other notable artists from 30s and 40s Europe – a time when things were very complicated!

While the phrase may have meant one thing to Jean and his friends back then, it also absolutely carries a message across generations of designers, artists, actors, and other creative types. Style is something that is neither in nor out of trend. It speaks to the past, present, and future with its chain reactions, infinite possibilities, and monumental achievements.


Painters and illustrators manipulate shapes and images to create a story or meaning. With so many different types of artwork being produced over time, Style is a function used to create groups and subsequently put these pieces into related categories. This is one way that we try to further reduce the complication of things we attempt to say, while also endeavoring to understand them.

In graphic design, Style refers to a consistent visual appearance of a family of fonts. This helps the graphic artist to convey feeling and emotion, or lack thereof, through something even as small as lettering. This is similar to the illuminated manuscripts of the 12th -14th centuries where monks would tediously and brilliantly decorate texts and books with gold, silver, and beautifully colored illustrations. This truly shows how Style spans the ages.

Additionally, fashion is a huge advocate of Style as the clothing or jewelry one wears can tell so many stories. A person’s style can non-verbally communicate where they are from, what type of music they listen to, or what their religion is. We are all victims of stereotypes from time to time- its human nature! But is a stereotype all that bad when it successfully conveys what the wearer is trying to say? Perhaps it means that we are getting better at deciphering our human family’s complicated code!


The world of interior design is one where inspiration is culled from all of these artistic sectors, and then some! A room could incorporate elements from fashion in its drapery or bedding. The colors and art that adorn the walls, carpets, and furniture in a room all work together, each with their own little messages, to say something very important…but not complicated.


5 Tools Everyone in the Design Industry Should Use

It can be a difficult task to create or complete something when you don’t have the right tools to do so. How does a painter paint with no paintbrush? Of course there is a multitude of ways, but there are normally only a few which turn out to be the most effective. Imagine trying to fly a plane without any gauges or sensors telling you which way to go or whether you’re flying too high. This can lead to unfortunate consequences or at the very least, a ton of frustration and an end result that is less than desirable.painting_post

The first tool that every design professional should have in their arsenal is a wide array of inspirational references. This includes fashion, art, design, and technology magazines; articles about design innovations, photographs of people, places, or things that have interesting backstories – or those that you can create a backstory for! Save a variety of pieces from all over, you never know when something may spark a new idea where it didn’t before.

Sometimes in order to get your point across it needs to be shown in a way that is visual rather than verbal. Design software like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop is a quick and easy way to draw out a design or ‘roomscape’ to show a client or even just to include as part of your design board. If you aren’t so technologically advanced, or happen to be a better hand sketcher, then make sure to have a drawing kit with pencils, erasers, rulers, etc. on hand. It may even benefit to keep both in your tool kit for situations when one may work better than the other.

Always keep a camera or your phone on you! Being able to instantly snap and capture inspiration on the daily is an invaluable resource for when you are in the studio or at your workbench later on. Remember, anything can be used to inspire, so be ready and waiting to seize the moment as it passes by you! Along with images of your influences, swatches of color and different types of fabrics are a great resource to keep stashed away in your workspace. Seeing and knowing how different colors and textures work for and against each other can really open your eyes to new design possibilities and innovations. Having a physical representation of color, pattern, or texture benefits the big picture and aids in your conceptualization.Living_room_

Lastly, motivation is one of your most important design tools! Without motivation, where will you get the drive to create new things? Without motivation, how will you take your design to the next level? Motivation has a distinct meaning to each and every person, and how you use it – along with all four of the other tools – will determine the success of you and your design.


Design is a Journey of Discovery

When designing, there often seems to be more involved than when you first start or plan out the project. Your original intention may be swayed due to a complication that you didn’t see coming. Any preconceived notions that existed about the end goal could be literally tossed away, all because you discovered something! Whether from a mistake, intuition, or just pure impulse, some of the best designs and products in history have been brought about because of these things. Design truly is a journey of discovery, and it’s a different journey every time.Design-is-a-Journey-of-Discovery2

One of the most memorable discoveries was when a 3M researcher was attempting to create a stronger adhesive, when in fact he ended up creating a weaker one that is perfect for temporary notes, which we now know as Post-it notes! The design certainly didn’t come out as planned, but through that discovery the end product – although it turned out different – still turned out to be a success!

An important thing to remember about your journey is to take its lessons to heart. The only way to discovery is if you do not repeat the same mistakes as earlier in your journey. Knowing what does and does not work, and when to start over, is a very important trait to have as a designer. Taking different paths on your journey is what will help shape not only your designs, but yourself as a designer.

If you find yourself at a fork in the path of creativity or even an enormous hurdle, have faith in knowing that discovery is all around you. Observe your surroundings and gain knowledge from a new culture. Share your ideas with a trusted source and get feedback that you can really immerse yourself in and use on your journey. Design-is-a-Journey-of-DiscoveryFinally, make sure to respect your journey and the path you are on in design. Not everything will be as easy as it should be, but knowing this will make sure you don’t miss the discoveries that right around every corner.


Design Inspiration: Color Blocking

Making a statement is a major factor in our industry and there are many ways to go about it. Interior designers and manufacturers are constantly being inundated with information about trends, new products and new processes every day. Choosing the best option for your project or design is an entirely separate process in and of itself, but one style that is very easy to work with and has been around for some time now is Color Blocking.smaller_bigstock-Modern-Drawing-Room-4978740

If you were to define color blocking, a simple explanation would be using two or more solid colors, which can be from the same palette or not, in one design…that is pretty much it! The only other rule to remember, but not necessarily live by, is that color blocking does not employ the use of patterns very often, if at all. A pattern incorporated into a color blocked design would pull away from the overall effect of showing off the large expanses of expertly coordinated colors. If you need help establishing your color story or palette, take a look at our post with tips on creating one.smaller_Chanson-Chenille

While a lot of color blocked designs typically embody bright and often primary hues, that doesn’t mean it is the only way to integrate this style into your design. The key to color blocking is contrast. It is okay to have different shades of the same color next to each other, as long as they are distinct enough to not give the illusion of it being all one color or a gradient.

Wondering about ways you can use color blocking without it overwhelming your entire design? As mentioned before, don’t be afraid to mix up the colors you are using. They can be all bright primaries or soft and muted. Sometimes these colors even look great together, like a bright cheery yellow mixed with soothing tonal grays. Color_Blocking_blog-600x600You can also pick a specific place in the room to show off some color blocking. Make a sitting area with color blocked fabrics and furniture and pillows, a tabletop with colorful plates and utensils, or try arranging books and magazines based on the colors of their covers or spines. If color blocking still sounds a little too over the top, try painting just one wall in a room with a bright accent color and see how everything else in the area instantly pops! Color is literally everywhere and it is up to you to decide how to use it in the best way to make your statement.


Creating a Color Story

What comes first – the pattern or the color? Creating a color story or pallet for a room can be the easiest or most difficult thing about putting together a design. Sometimes we find a pattern that works perfectly but needs a color tweak. Other times the hunt for the perfect pattern that incorporates a carefully selected medley of
colors can be a long and frustrating task!

There is a plethora of ways to begin your own color story. Depending on the type of person you are and how you like to work, there could even be more than one approach that suits you. Try spending some time in places you wouldn’t ordinarily go. Pay attention to the details around you – how do the different elements of everyday life work together to make their own natural color scheme? What can be re-arranged to make something new?

If you are a hands-on type of person, a more tactile approach may work best. Play with color chips, paints and markers, and natural items like flowers, leaves, and stones to discover your own unique story. Slowly but surely, the items you collect stop being everyday objects and simply become pieces of color in your pallet. Keep a notebook or journal with these items or snapshots of them and save for future inspiration even if you can’t use it right away. You never
know when you could use something

For the more tech-savvy among us, creating a color scheme may be as simple as playing around with the color picker in your design software. This certainly gives you infinite selections and you can get your exact color right to the detail, but how do you find a starting point? It can be overwhelming when there are too many options. Having even one color in mind can get you started with finding complimentary hues.