There a plenty of ways to create as a designer. Everyone has its own way of doing things. But I’m pretty sure everyone will agree with me that these 5 mistakes are really to be avoided, if you want to create something truly original ! Graduated as a Fashion Designer from a fashion school in Paris, + owning my own creative textile studio, I had to find my own style, and stick to it ! So here’s the 5 biggest design mistakes I want to avoid, and so should you !
Are you making these 5 common mistakes as a designer ? Keep reading to discover them ~ and correct them ASAP !
- Design Mistake #1 : Not looking at other designers, because you’re afraid to copy
- Design Mistake #2 : Starting with the final product already in mind
- Design Mistake #3 : Sticking to one medium, one way of doing things
- Design Mistake #4 : Not knowing about fabric properties and textile theory
- Design Mistake #5 : NOT having a Creative Process, & following your inspiration only
Design Mistake #1 : Not looking at other designers, because you’re afraid to copy
I understand your fear. No one ever wants to be called a copycat ! And no one should ever try to copy, to steal someone’s work. But trust yourself and your abilities to create something amazing, and you’ll create something better than what you’d ever thought of !
But why is it actually super important to look at what other people make ?
Let’s start by reminding you what designing actually is : a creative process with several phases, including Incubation, Divergence, and Convergence. Those super theoretical words simply means that you start by ingesting a loooot of outside informations, then modify those design ideas to get something new, and then select the best ideas.
In other words, designing is about looking at various places for inspiration, whether that be art, design, literature, cinema or whatever else you wish, to create your own designs. It’s about taking small ideas, concepts or details from a LOT of different inspirations, and come up with something new, that mixes all of your inspirations together. And the last step is refining your ideas, selecting the best ones.
So designing has always been about mixing ideas together to create something new, and it’s never copying, unless you don’t make something new and different enough.
The creative process is what ensure you don’t copy. If you want to learn more about what the creative process is, check out this article : What is a creative process ?
I also developed my own, 5-Steps Creative process, and if you use it, you’ll even learn that the more outside inspiration you can get, the better ! The goal is to find concepts and ideas from various places, and then extract them, mix them, and change them to create your new ideas. That’s the only way to have new inputs, because always searching in your own head is like going round in circle, with the same ideas all the time.
Conclusion ? You should find as many sources of inspirations as you possibly can ! And then use your genius to invent something new out of all your references !
Design Mistake #2 : Starting with the final product already in mind
If you are a fashion designer in a company and your job is to make only blouses and shirts, then obviously you’ll kinda know what type of product you will end up with. But the idea is to avoid thinking about the end result, and focus more on the research phase. That’s how you think outside the box and are more likely to get crazier and more innovative ideas !
If you followed my 5-Steps Creative process, you might have seen that I don’t talk about the final product until the very last step. Why is that ? I believe you should go out of your comfort zone, aka the field you already know everything about, to discover more artists and designers, and create something new out of it !
Leaving the end result to the end helps you stay freer in your creativity and creative process, allowing yourself to explore more possibilities.
Design Mistake #3 : Sticking to one medium, one way of doing things
We are creatives, and we DON’T have to do things in only one specific way, thank God !
We love to test things, experiment, try new mediums [Yes, please try that new pen or paper or paint or textile or whatever your fancy, just to see what you can make with it 😍], find new ways to think and create. We love having creative freedom ! Having it helps us create better designs, have more ideas, and express ourselves exactly how we want it. That’s a gift ! So why would you stick to that same old pen, that same type of fabric or that flower embroidery ? Please don’t !
Fabric, especially, is a super inspiring material ! If your end product is made of it [hello fellow fashion, textile or interior designers !], touching different types of fabric and see how they behave will inspire you new shapes and applications !
So make a point of always trying new things and mediums, keeping you informed of the new things available, and see how easily you’ll get inspired to create something new !
Design Mistake #4 : Not knowing about fabric properties and textile theory
I recently found my first creations, when I was in my first fashion school (around bachelor level), so at the very beginning of learning how to become a designer. I didn’t know anything about fabrics, how they behave, how they are made, and what’s a cheap or quality fabric. And boy ! Oh does it shows ! The concepts and fabric manipulations I used were not that bad, but that cheap lining ? That wax cloth on a jacket ? WHY, but WHY did I do that ? [To my defense, we were encouraged to use also non-traditional or even not textiles in our designs to be more creative… but still !]
Just changing the fabrics I used, with the same design ideas, would have made a total difference.
So if you want to do something that looks expensive, and of good quality, I strongly recommend you to learn about fabric theory ! It will help you :
- Recognize all the different fabric types ; so you get aware of the infinite possibilities you have !
- Recognize a good quality fabric from a cheaper one
- Know what fabric will be more suited to your creations [let’s keep the wax cloth on kitchen tables please]
- Get a more professional look
- and so much more !
So have a look right now at my Textile Knowledge articles and start to learn all about fabrics !
Design Mistake #5 : NOT having a Creative Process, & following your inspiration only
A common mistake, or misconception, is that designers just get ideas out of thin air, and start to draw. While that might be the case for some super experienced and talented designers and most artists, it’s not the truth for most of us !
Related : 4 MYTHS about Designers and Creativity
Designers need some structure to create, because ultimately, we create in order to answer a design problem. Have you ever felt like you can’t create if you don’t have any guidance from your company or your client ? That’s totally normal ! This is what designers do ; they find creative and aesthetic solutions to problems.
The Creative Process give them structure, and allow them to get their best ideas out !
So only following our inspiration is not only way harder for us designers, but also less productive because we thrive with constraints and love finding creative solutions to a problem.
Related : Free Guide ! The 5-Steps Creative Process for Designers
Do you agree with these design mistakes ? Have you ever made any ?
For sure, in the beginning, I was guilty of not knowing enough about fabric theory, and not nailing my creative process perfectly !
What about you ?
Don’t worry if you have made some design mistakes in the past, because I can help you improve !
Download my 5-Steps Creative Process to get the framework that will make your design projects so much easier to create !
And for all that textile knowledge, get to the dedicated section on my blog !
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Floriane Schmitt is a textile designer, sharing her knowledge about textiles + creativity. She graduated with honors at a Parisian fashion school in Fashion Design & Fashion Business, and started her career with Flo Home Delight, her creative textile studio. Discover her collections on www.flohomedelight.com. She is also teaching creative souls how to become better designers, using textile as a main medium.