Thursday, 28 February 2013

Mens Fashion Prints too Feminine?

The current print trends for mens fashion in my opinion can sometimes be a bit too feminine.  Don't get me wrong there are some lovely print designs and I understand that prints are in at the moment, particular ditsy prints for mens fashion.  As a designer myself I would perhaps use much more masculine motifs, something that men would wear, maybe motor vehicles, music or sports related.  Some men may like this kind of thing, perhaps men who do follow current trends regularly, but a lot of men tend to wear something quite plain or a placement print of a funny image, font or band members.

I have been looking online at high-street stores and have come across several prints of what I think are quite feminine.  Some prints include florals and birds, which are lovely but they are too feminine for menswear.  The colour palettes have been changed slightly but personally I think it still doesn't work.

I'm not getting into anything, I just thought I'd share my views.  Does anyone else think that menswear prints are very feminine at the moment?

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Seven ways to get motivated

1. Inspirational Quotes: Perhaps print some off and surround yourself with them in your workspace.

2. Good Music: Whatever music you enjoy listening to, it's always good to hear some surround sounds.  I tend to change my CDs often as well so I'm not listening to the same music artist.  The radio is always good too but sometimes they can tend to repeat the same songs.

3. Cups of Tea: I drink many throughout my long days of designing.  Occasionally I'll have the odd extra caffeine take in i.e. latte to help wake me up.

4. To-do-lists: Always good to take everything off your mind for what you need to do.

5. Clear Workspace:  Something I regularly do each day, I feel it clears the mind.

6. Collect Inspiration: Wheather it's on google, blogs, websites, Pinterest.  Sometimes looking at images and others peoples work really help you get inspired.

7. Regular Breaks:  This will help clear the mind, then when you're back to what you're doing different ideas or things you didn't see before seem a lot clearer.

Here are a few albums I've brought recently so I have plenty of different artists to listen to. 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013


M.C.Escher (1898-1972) is a famous graphic artist I first discovered during Art GCSE, quite some time ago. I love the illusions and impossible structures of Escher's work.  It's quite fascinating on how Escher managed to draw this kind of art especially as it's unreal, he would have had to have a very vivid imagination.  He produced artwork in connections with symmetry. He was also left-handed just like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.  As well as being a graphic artist, Escher illustrated books, designed tapestry, postage stamps and murals.

Escher's work influenced me for final project & exam for my art & design GCSE.  I remember drawing a pretty good copy of his 'Hand in Globe' drawing (4th image).  As for my my final piece I drew a bowl of fruit in a cracked mirror, a very enjoyable project.

There is a museum called 'Escher In Het Paleis' featuring most of Escher's work in the Netherlands.  Would be nice to go there some day.  

If you'd like to view more of Escher work, I also have a book which is worth a read, it includes many of his graphic work.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Holly Exley

It's Follow Friday!

Holly Exley is an illustrator based in London, UK.  Holly uses only watercolors creating quirky, textural and layered illustrations.  Still using watercolors some are formed into abstract collages. 

Holly has many clients including Intelligent Life Magazine, Redwood Publishing, Words of Art Ltd and many more.  Also had commissioned work for Topshop, Cheer Up Clothing, Good Good Magazine and The Florida Times.  Many London exhibitions since 2009 and also one in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. 

You can follow Holly on twitter @hollyexley and she also has a blog sharing her travels, inspiration and illustration. Holly also has an online shop selling a few prints.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Pros and Cons of Freelancing

I have been freelancing for quite some time now and I thought I'd share with you with my opinions on freelancing from what I have have discovered so far.  I started freelancing due to being unable to achieved a full-time in-house design job. But I do love freelancing although I don't think it's for everyone.  Some people find it quite difficult to motivated themselves, but as I've always been a very determined and organized person which I think helps quite a lot. 


You're your own boss
Flexible hours
No Travel Costs
Comfort of your own home
No need to dress smart
Whatever holidays you want
Various of projects
Choose where to work
Each day is different
Always people out there looking for your skills


No monthly income
Possible Distractions
Need to be able to motivate yourself
Late nights to meet deadlines
Find own material/gadgets
Can get lonely at times
Own Accounting
Possibly need a part-time job on the side

Do you freelance?  Do you enjoy it?  Do you think you could stay freelancing for some time?  Would you ever freelance?  Let me know your thoughts.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

This time last year...

I started my work placement with freelance surface pattern designer Rachael Taylor.  I traveled to Leeds everyday from home for two weeks.  Long days but it worked out cheaper than staying in the city itself.  I was really nervous at first but of course Rachael was kind, lovely and very welcoming.  I really enjoyed my two weeks with Rachael, I learnt so much during this short period of time and I felt I understood freelancing a lot more.  I continued to help Rachael from home for several weeks until May giving me a much longer work experience.  I also continued blogging for Rachael too, something that I still do weekly (Wednesday).

During the second week of my placement I was at home the first two days and because I brought weekly train tickets, I had two days spare the following week so I took the time to explore Leeds.  I have written several posts in the past of the places I visited including Leeds Art Gallery, a walk down the river Aire, Royal Armouries, Hebden Bridge and Leeds city Museum.

I cannot believe it was a year ago now, it was defiantly time well spent and an experience I'll never forget.  Thank you Rachael :)

Friday, 15 February 2013

Yaz Raja

It's Follow Friday!

Yaz Raja is a contemporary surface pattern designer and illustrator.  Yaz recently graduated with a BA (hons) Surface Pattern Design degree at Staffordshire University.  She is currently searching for a job/work experience within the design industry.  In the mean time continues to design and illustrate to build on her portfolio including having them on productsThe illustrations Yaz creates are beautifully hand-drawn, detailed and unique.

You can also follow Yaz on Facebook and twitter @Yaz__Raja.  Also regular posts on her blog.

Have you always wanted to be a surface pattern designer & illustrator?

No, not really I wanted to be a fashion designer but I changed my mind in my last year of college and it’s kind of strange. I took up a module on Surface Pattern Design because it was something new and about 3 months before applying for University, I decided to change my mind but I don’t regret it.
How have you got to where you are now?

It hasn’t worked out how I planned it. I went to Staffordshire University after college and did my degree in Surface Pattern design. After graduating, I worked for an agent in Stafford for a few months, but now I want to work on my personal projects and gain some work experience.
What inspires you?

Fashion, something new and fresh for example travelling and cultures.
What motivates you?

Others success.
What do you enjoy most about design?

Drawing! I can literally draw all day even if it’s just black and white; I love drawing!
Do you have a favourite design/illustration that you have created?

Yeah my wallpaper collection I did for my final major project at University. It was called ‘illustrate your fashion wall’ and it was inspired by high-end fashion, florals and my trip to Paris. It is a very personal project to me, I have always wanted to design wallpapers and sell them and it came true.

Do you have any of your designs/illustrations on products?

Yeah they're available on
What is your typical day like?

At the moment, I am working on card designs so I am pretty much drawing, developing, experimenting with that project. I do spend a lot of my time just drawing and doing something creative.
What do you hope that 2013 will bring for you?

I just want to be happy in life. However, I would like to sell some more of my wallpaper designs and get better at what I do.
Do you get a lot of support from family and friends?

Yes! I am so grateful for my family especially for always supporting me, advising me and giving me good feedback!
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time?

Personally, I want to have a family of my own, get married and have children. Professionally, I would like to be a wallpaper designer. 

Thank you for your time Yaz, I really appreciate it.  If you'd like a feature and interview on this blog then please email me at:

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Difficulties in Job Hunting

Following from my previous post I mentioned how difficult I found getting a full-time job in design.  Of course for anyone it is very difficult to get any kind of job at the moment but it's very unfair for graduates like myself, who have studied very hard through school, college and then went into further education at University.  Whilst I was at University I was told amongst many other students, I'd be able to get a job straight afterwards, this wasn't the case at all. I applied to hundreds of jobs since Jan 2011 which was before graduating, still I had no such luck.

When I moved back home I started back at the retail job I had been working at for several years on and off.  It was better than nothing.  I managed to do as much over time as I could whilst looking for a design job.  All companies wanted 2/3 years work experience as well as the degree qualification.  No one at University would be able to achieve all that over the 3/4 years whilst studying.  Most of the time companies wouldn't reply either.  Make sure you're prepared for rejections, as you may have many of them.

The time during job hunting is difficult for anyone, but as a creative person you can still try to build up on your portfolio, surf the internet to keep up-to-date with trends, processes and techniques.  Design, make, visit galleries and museums for inspiration.  Entering competitions are great for your CV.  If you've studied something else at university there isn't a lot of things you can do in your spare time particularly if you've studied an academic subject and you're not creative.

Job hunting really got me down, just like it would with anyone.  I started to feel unwanted and I lost my motivation to do other things, whenever I wasn't working any extra overtime.  I felt as though I became quite lazy, but I wasn't as I was working a lot of hours to bring as much money in as possible.  So I worked more and more hours so I could save up and use the money for work placements for traveling, food, hotels etc.  That was of course if I was to find any placements.  Of course work placements are difficult to get as well and most are un-payed.

Something else I do find difficult is that I don't have a full-driving license.  I started learning during the summer of 2010 but never got round to finishing it due to be so busy in my final year at University.  Then of course now I cannot afford to have driving lessons.  Then to run a car would be impossible too.

I did eventually managed to get a freelance job in April 2011, but that was after over a year of job hunting.  That shows that you can get one eventually.  Of course freelancing doesn't work for every industry, so I'm quite lucky that I can in mine.

If you're in this position or know anyone in this position, don't give up.  You'll get there eventually.  If you really want your dream job, you will keep going.  You just have to be patient, preserve and have hope just like I am doing. 

Monday, 11 February 2013

A change in my blogging

I started blogging in July 2011, which was not long after I had finished University.  I wanted to share with you my drawings, designs and whatever creativity I do.  Also inspirations, designers and a bit of traveling. But I had always wished I'd started earlier in which I would have been able to share with you what I got up to throughout my course at University. 

After University I worked a lot of hours at my retail job, contracted weekends but overtime during weekdays. I lost my motivation and inspiration to create, draw and design so I hardly posted anything.  I also lost my motivation due to being unable to get a job in design.

I then started freelancing for Black Cherry Studio in April 2012, this was a brilliant start for my design career.  Unfortunately, due to copyright reasons I cannot share anything I create and design for this studio.  Which of course is upsetting as I'd love to share what I design, and I can see how much I've improved since I've started.

Recently I have felt that I haven't produced good quality blog posts for you the readers, and I haven't enjoyed it as much lately either.  Although I love my Friday's #ff blog post which sometimes includes an interview, I find it really interesting how other people motivate themselves and how they've got to where they are today etc. It's exciting.

I've found that blogging about new store collections or comp shopping can possibly be a bit of a waste of time as of course everyone in this industry knows about the Print & Pattern blog.

So I'm going to share lots of other different things with you, still of course linked to design so watch this space.  And of course if I ever do have time do create some designs in my spare time I'll share them too.  I'll still carry on with my #ff too :)

I'd love to hear your views on my blogging and if they're is anything you'd like to read more about they please give me a nudge and I'll see what I can do :)

Friday, 8 February 2013

Jared Thompson

It's Follow Friday!

Jared Thompson owns and runs several creative blogs/websites including Design Juices and it's sister Fashion Juices.  Co-owns and runs Indie Minded which showcases indie clothing and fashion, books, films, music, crafts and more.  Jared also runs the online side of Business Boom collective and Business Boom Bolton which is part of the Business Boom Network.  This project has now been running over 12 months and showcases, advises and promotes the best young creative talent in the UK and the rest of the World.

You can follow each blog/website on twitter at @designjuices @fashionjuices @indiemnded @Business_Boom.

Can you explain a little more of what you do behind Design Juices?

It's an online design blog so I own and run everything on the site day-to-day. Aside from the web design of the site I've got a handle on the social media, posts, research, promotion and admin of the site. I must also give credit to the readers and friends who keep me on my toes and help with and niggles the site has. 
What inspired you to start this blog?
The blog was started back when I was at university as a way to document the pages of research I was undertaking. This has since lead me to want to improve it to be a source of daily inspiration, news, interviews and showcase of creative work worldwide. 
You launched a new chapter for Design Juices last summer with Fashion Juices, how's that going? What made you start a blog based on just fashion?

The whole rhelm of fashion warrants its own site; whether its style, street style, catwalk fashion or high street bargains there is so much going on in the industry. New avenues of eco-fashion and so many DIY projects people are undertaking to set their own trends excites me and I love to work in giving inexperienced bloggers a platform to share their fashion opinions. 

Could you tell me a bit more about what you're involved with for Indie Minded, which you co-own and run?

Indie Minded in a previous life up until late last year was under the banner of 'the tee gazette' this site concentrated on giving a voice to the indie designers, artists and brands who were run by small business owners. After having a success indie event in Boston last august myself and Kelly are now moving forward with the site to showcase the best of independents in music, film, art, fashion, clothing & more.

Day to day I tend to concentrate on social media, research and writing several articles a day. It's definitely a site which thrives and expands with lots of content every week.

What is your typical day like?
I suppose I spend around 8-10 hours a day online on average, My two monitor setup allows me to be as productive as possible and using programs like tweetdeck which allows me to keep on top of several twitter accounts, whilst also researching and blogging for various sites.

What is it about design that you love? 

I was first grabbed by design on a basic functionality level, seeing how a well designed product can change and improve someones life and daily routine to be more efficient and effective is what I love. This works in the same way with effective branding, graphic design and illustrations can change a businesses fortunes and connect with customers much better.

Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years time?

I would love to be managing several teams of people over the sites I run, I'd like to be advising young graduates seeking job opportunities and passing on my advice and knowledge to cut down on unemployment for creatives in the UK and beyond.

Do you have a favourite designer, illustrator, photographer etc?

Growing up and learning my design education at college and university, I was always inspired by the work of the Bauhaus design school and designers such as Dieter Rams. In todays world I think from a product design perspective you are going to be hard pressed to find someone as good as Jonathan Ive (Apple computers.)

Favourite blog?

Business Boom Collective, It's been so inspiring to prove and show that so many young creatives are emerging not only from the UK and abroad. You don't have to go to the big agencies for great design work, many are in our universities and self taught young designers.

Favourite design book?
If pushed at university I really enjoyed the Sketching: Drawing Techniques for Product Designers 

Thank you for your time Jared, I really appreciate it. If you'd like a feature or interview on this blog then please email me at:

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