Get Lost, Repeat

Just a few short months ago—so hard to believe, looking back now!—I was knee-deep in finishing up the final design of my grad project at Emily Carr, Get Lost Journal. After some time away, I’ve been looking back on the eight months of work that this project was and how to document it, so you'll be hearing about it a lot, now! I hope it’s interesting to get a peek behind the scenes and see what I did over the course of my final year in design school, though... 

The first part of the project I want to share is some pattern design.
More specifically, the repeat pattern I made for the inside front & back covers of the magazine:

I’ve been wanting to design patterns for a long time—for me, it’s the perfect little place where design and illustration overlap. I had just learned the basics of how to make a repeat in Illustrator, and I watched Skillshare classes by Elizabeth Olwen and Bonnie Christine to learn more about how to balance a pattern and all that good stuff. Here’s an overview of how I made this pattern in a my-project-goes-to-print-next-week kind of mad rush:

I had already worked a ton on defining the art direction of the magazine, which at this point was almost done, so I had a mood board in place that I had been using to guide the style of the magazine to build the pattern off of:


From there I scribbled down my initial ideas in little thumbnail sketches, as seen below. The sketchbook page is a mix of the pattern girls (some of which I went with), alongside thoughts about branding and layout design ideas:


At this point, I would usually sketch and refine the little thumbnails more before finalizing the artwork, but having to finish the design of all aspects of the whole magazine and this pattern as extra work I’d given myself, I had to go as quickly as possible—confident in being able to draw the girls at a larger scale as I saw them in my head, I moved to tracing paper where I drew them in pencil and moved to cleaning them up with pen fairly quickly. I scanned in the pen drawings, used Photoshop levels to get rid of the visible pencil lines, and live-traced them in Illustrator. Here’s an example of what that progression looked like (from left to right: sketch, pen, and vector):


After vectorizing all of the drawings, and knowing that I the pattern would be tone-on-tone in either turquoise or pink to stay in line with the brand, I started filling in some of the shapes to give it a little visual interest. To balance these visually heavier spots, I started to arrange all the motifs to see how they might work together: 


From there I started playing around with placing the motifs in different ways to make an interesting repeat pattern, trying a few different color-ways and correcting contrast issues as I went along:


And, finally, when I settled on pink as the magazine’s spot color, the pattern was print-ready!


I’m super-happy with how it turned out, but I can’t wait to revisit this pattern! I really love the black and white vector version, and hope to texture it up and make it a little grittier, with a bit more attitude—but that’s something I want to do to the whole magazine, so revisiting this whole project is something I hope to get back to in the next few months.

Let me know what you think, or what youd like to see if I work on it some more!

Want to see more? You can view this illustrated pattern as part of Get Lost Journal in my portfolio, here.