What is the design process?

rainbow railroad

When I start working on designs for a charity, I spend a long time scouring their website looking for the essence of who they are and also what message they are putting out to the world. As I am a typical introvert and like to hide behind my drawing board so to speak, Nat gathers more info' from the charities representative and from there I start to get some ideas. Nat is great at getting right to the point and gathering valuable information. She knows how my mind works and she knows what things I need to know. I am not an overthinker per se, just a deep thinker.

Looking at a charities website doesn't just give you basic information about them and their clients, it begins a personal thought process, stimulated by empathy that builds from reading accounts from the very people they help.

Sometimes a solid idea comes straight to mind that then allows me to try various ways of producing it and seeing what it is the best at displaying what I am trying to convey. Other times I have to wrestle with several ideas until I can see which one is the strongest. This usually gets run by Nat via messenger who, if she starts the reply with ... I know I need to do a bit more work on it. 

Always I have in mind that it must appeal to a wider audience than the charities clients or supporters. We are not in the business of making fun run designs that are great for a fundraising occasion/day but not really a day to day fashion item. We are so keen on not providing throw away clothing that is great for a few wears and then hides in the back of the wardrobe until you decide to donate to the charity shop. Our products need to be a go to item for any day/occasion.

We want also there to be many layers to the design; to promote conversations, awareness of the charity and just to be a flippin' great design to wear. There's lots to think about and rough sketches to be made before I get a design to where I want it to be. Once I get the thumbs up from Nat - who always wants to know what I feel about the design - she makes a Look Book for each design and presents it to the charity.

The look book contains photo's of the design placed on the garments, and my thought process in creating the design. I also include what each piece of the design is hoping to convey and, will bring note to any of the charities branding that has been included. This can be font type, colours used and the emotions that each carries.

Whilst it is important that the charity knows the level of thought and care that goes into a design, as well as how we have honoured their clients and brand, you don't necessarily need that information to enjoy the product. The litmus test for us is... would you buy it and wear it? If we give it a resounding yes, it's all good in our hood!

Once we get the OK from our charity for each design, I then start to list each item on our store, adding model shots to each so you can see how it 'would wear'. By that I mean, how does it look on a body?

It's a lengthy process from start to finish but one that is truly satisfying. And, knowing that you have played a part in getting awareness and support for a charity you care about is priceless. 

Over the next few days I shall be letting you know just what the thought process was behind individual designs, as well as letting you know a bit more about the charity involved. 

Much love

Sue x

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