If, like me, you like creating your own surface pattern designs, it can be quite overwhelming knowing where to begin to draw inspiration from. The world we live in is full of inspiring shapes and forms which can lead to unique and personal pieces of work. But, we can also draw inspiration from the unlikeliest places too; such as Microsoft Word!
Yes that’s right! Microsoft Word has an immense library of interesting fonts that can be manipulated to create some really interesting surface pattern designs for experimental textile work. Follow the simple steps below to get you started:
Step 1: Have a play on Word
Explore the fonts on word. Pick unusual font types; there’s loads to choose from! Cursive or bold fonts are particularly good for repeat patterns while fine, swirly fonts produce interesting over lapping designs. Pick the most interesting letters from your chosen font and try enlarging them. If you’re confident on word, flip the letter, elongate it or squash it. Have some fun! At this stage, you could also try repeating the same letter or mixing it with another letter from a different font. This will give you a rough idea of what a pattern repeat might look like.
Step 2: Make your letter stamp
You can create simple stamps from a range of materials such as: potatoes, funky foam, thick cardboard, rubbers and sponges. For my example, I used a compressed sponge which expands when you soak it in water (you can buy compressed sponge from most art supply shops.) First of all, I traced a letter onto white printer paper and then mounted it on some thick card which I then carefully cut out. This became my template. I then used this template to draw onto my compressed sponge. Voila! A letter stamp ready to use!
Step 3: Create your pattern.
This is the fun part! Get out your paints (fabric paint if you’re printing straight onto fabric and play around with different print designs. Why not try:
- Repeat patterns
- Grid patterns
- Random patterns
- Layering up on colour
- Mixing stamps
Now you’ve mastered using fonts as inspiration, don’t stop there! Why not try experimenting with shape on word or using word symbols to create unique patterns. The possibilities are endless so go on, give it a go!