My daughter looked at me in horror when I said I was going to have homework. I explained that I was actually excited about it, but I don’t think she could quite believe it. The truth though is that taking part in Winter School is a good remedy against the winter blues. Especially when the first assignment whisked us off to Africa.
I had signed up for the ‘intermediate’ track, with the others being ‘beginner’ and ‘advanced’ and my trend brief was ‘New Dawn’. You get plenty of visual inspiration as part of your course along with companies to research and a break down of the trend’s influences, ie earthy, abstract, layers etc.
To be honest I was a bit lost to begin with.
My head wanted to turn it into something more familiar. I like dense patterns, intricacy and detail, whereas this was sparse, architectural and abstract.
My head turned to surf trips in Morocco. I had visited some years ago and I loved the architecture and the earthy pigments that painted the buildings. The rugs and patterns were also a great source of inspiration, but this trend nodded towards the more simplistic and less decorative styles.
It was interesting to use space more deliberately and I started to appreciate how simple lines could actually do a lot of work. Things might look easy when it comes to this style, but everything is actually very deliberate and takes confidence to pull back and have restraint.
The second brief was a like an exhale of relief. Winter School has a strong community based Facebook page and after collectively struggling outside of our comfort zones - the floral based ‘open country’ trend was greeted enthusiastically. I took the opportunity to get away from my iPad (for a bit) and crack open the watercolours.
It was fun to do some painting before importing my flowers and leaves into Procreate and tidying them up. I then got a bit experimental and layered the flowers and messed around with some options.
You get some nice mock up images as part of the course - the image below being one of them - and I really enjoy seeing what my work looks like on actual products.
I’ve had a lot of fun working on these briefs and seeing how other designers have responded to them. Winter School isn’t just taken by wannabe designers, but also by professionals showing that there is much value in trying something new, no matter what your level of experience is.
There is a Summer School by Make it in Design which is the same format, just in the summer. I’m not sure whether I’m going to take part yet as I’m signed up for Florals and Nature - a Design Masterclass in March - also by MIID.
I have got a busy year planned for myself - shall tell you more about it next time.