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Behind the Pattern
Each season, our team of designers creates new patterns for our decors. At their worktable, Audrey and Julie draw, exchange, and fine-tune their designs until they've come up with the most modern and unique patterns that have Simons' signature touch.
While visiting our web office, they agree to shed some light on their color-filled world. During our enlightening and inspirational discussion, they show us their work for the new fall patterns and, as a bonus, their favorite designs this season.
Let’s go back to the very beginning: Who are the designers behind Simons Maisons’ exclusive patterns? What inspired you to become designers?
I’ve always been artistic. When I was little, I would redecorate my room all the time! My parents constantly encouraged me in doing this. It’s always been a part of me. I studied interior design in CEGEP, and then did my bachelor's degree in graphic design. Since I couldn’t choose between the two, I did both! My work here at Simons is the perfect combination of my two passions. I couldn’t ask for anything better!
I’ve always drawn. I studied visual arts in CEGEP, and then I did my bachelor’s degree in graphic design. Within graphic design, I was really interested in illustration and also publishing design. Then, I saw an ad for a designer position at Simons…
In your everyday, when it comes time to draw a pattern, do you do as much freehand drawing as you do working with graphic design software?
I use both, but it's true that more often than not, I start by sketching it by hand, and then finish it using the computer.
I work more often directly on the computer or the iPad. This technology has evolved how we work; because of it, I can draw using the stylus. From time to time, I'll take out watercolours or do freehand sketches, but that's more rare. It depends on our preferences and also on the type of pattern we want to create.
And obviously, before getting to the final version, there's an entire underlying creative process. How do you start a new pattern?
We find inspiration everywhere, on clothing, in home decor, while travelling, in store windows we pass by on the street—all around us really. You just have to be observant and keep your eyes open! Then we ask ourselves, “Where are the trends headed? How do we translate them into our work in order to present them to our customers?”
I also find a lot of inspiration online, whether it's on Instagram or Pinterest. I love discovering new artists, new companies, inspirational blogs, etc. There are so many times when I say to myself, “Oh! I have to save that!” Inspiration never takes a day off. It's something that feeds you daily.
Once you've got an idea, how do you bring it to life? Take your patterns for fall, for example?
At the very beginning, we set up a data bank with all our inspirations and photos. Next, we do a preliminary triage during which the themes emerge, and then the color palettes. For instance, the Fall 2019 collection is divided into three themes that will evolve over the course of the season. It's at this time that Julie and I will sit at our drawing table in order to create our prints. This isn't individual work, on the contrary; we work together and in close collaboration with the team of buyers for Simons Maison. We exchange ideas, take inspiration from what everyone has observed on their own, decide what patterns will be printed on which items, and then we share and make sure that everyone has the same vision for the new collection.
And what does this new collection for fall have in store for us?
Three themes that completely complement each other! The first theme, called Creative Space, comes at the very beginning of the season. These patterns give off a feeling of spontaneity and have a bit of wow-factor. The prints are joyful, unusual, playful, and show pencil strokes. We play with colors and shapes, and find typographic prints of positive sayings that will make you smile. We feel like we can have fun with our own decor!
The second theme, Studied Simplicity, debuts in September and presents a much calmer atmosphere that's the complete opposite of the first theme! The colors are softer and cozier, and the patterns are fine and delicate. The prints fuse Scandinavian and Japanese influences to create a Scandanese style with a simple decor in which it feels good to relax. For example, the minimalist windowpane check is a very prominent pattern in this theme.
Finally, in the Supernatural Nature theme that's arriving in October, we get a sense that nature is slowing down and drifting off to sleep. The colors are deep, rich, and lush. We find lots of prints of dried flowers, ferns, and carpets of plants inspired by the undergrowth… It makes us want to hunker down in our cocoon!
It's really interesting to see how the themes, without intersecting, complement one another and evolve over the course of the season. In the end, there's something for everyone!
Yes, when talk about Simons' signature touch, that's what we mean! The ability to identify with unique and accessible patterns that everyone can enjoy.
And how does it feel when you finally see your creations in store?
It's always a rush! Especially in the beginning when you see your very first products in store. Then, when I go over the houses of friends and family and I see Simons items, I feel very proud!
Yes, particularly when there are projects that you really enjoyed working on and you can't wait to see them in store!
Out of your creations, what are your top picks for fall?
I have a real soft spot for the terracotta tablecloth with fall leaves. It's pretty new to use this color for a tablecloth and the end result is perfect! Warm and bright, it really embodies fall and at the same time, it has a timelessness that makes it perfect for decorating a summer table as well.
Other than that, when I draw projects for kids, I keep them in mind for my little ones… My recent favorite? The flannel dinosaur sheets!
As for me, I'm really fond of the black graphic flower pattern that's embroidered and printed on an ochre background!
Yes, bright color and cozy botanical patterns are a perfect transition into the new fall season…