Flower Power

rosesThe Rose Festival is now upon us here in Portland, and is a celebration of all things Portland and Roses. Indeed even a short neighborhood walk is a delight to the senses with roses and peonies blooming everywhere. Even as I sit here in my studio, I am surrounded by Peony leaves that have fallen off the fluffy flower arrangement on my desk.

It got me thinking about the origin of the floral theme that is so prevalent in pattern design and I came upon this great article on the history and language of the floral in textiles. In summary floral motifs originated in Japan, followed by China and India, and flowers symbolized different things about the status of the wearer. European traders brought Eastern textiles back to Europe where they became highly coveted status symbols. When the Dutch and British began designing and and attempting to print Chintz, they were heavily influenced by Eastern floral motifs but struggled to re-create the printing detail found in the East for quite some time. Finally in 1759 when a cheap production process was developed, Chintz made a comeback but was only available for the upper echelons of society, for these detailed motifs could only be printed by master craftsmen. The industrial revolution made it possible to print highly complex themes such as florals for the masses, making them a very popular theme across the board. Today, florals are a staple in every sector of the market and the theme continues to evolve, though takes cues heavily from vintage sources.

As print designers we are always on the look-out for good flower photos that we can use as inspiration for our floral designs. If you’re lucky enough to live in a place where flowers bloom everywhere, get out there and snap some photos! However, if you lack this resource where you live or it’s not Spring or Summer as you read this, we do have some photo packs that will help. The first is our Romantic Blooms photo pack which features photos of roses, peonies, poppies, hydrangeas, camellias etc. We took these photos especially with the print designer in mind, that is, there are full flowers in the frame, and often there are multiple angles of the same flower. Our Spring Flowers photo pack features photos of  daffodils, crocuses, iris, magnolia and more. These are great for using as drawing and painting inspiration.

If you’re looking to create some photographic prints and need some technical or creative help, check out our this tutorial which shows you how to crop an element out of a background, design your print, and create a repeat in photoshop.

Need some more design or technical resources? Drop us a line and we’ll consider your request!

-Claudia Brown