Brenda Deguara is a freelance surface pattern designer based in Sydney, Australia and the face behind Pattern & Repeat.
A dedicated Patternmash designer, submitting to every theme since January 2015, I thought it was about time we got to know Brenda a bit better!
To view Brenda’s Designer Profile and complete Patternmash submissions, click here.
How did you first begin your career as a surface pattern designer?
Beginning in 2012, I spent two years studying design. The following year was filled with internships and it was at the end of 2014 that I made a decision, fueled by my love for pattern, to create Pattern & Repeat, a freelance surface pattern design studio and to be totally committed to creating a life in design.
Tell us about your average day working on Pattern & Repeat.
For me the day starts with a morning cup of tea, followed by usually spending the first part of the day catching up with emails and following up inquiries. Next on the agenda, time is allocated for creating posts for the Pattern & Repeat social media pages and keeping on top of updating them.
I usually spend afternoons working on designs, and this could just be an afternoon of researching trends, colour ways, sketching, scanning work, cleaning up artwork, it really depends at what stage my design is at. Some afternoons this will change and I will just spend time creating backgrounds that may be used at a later stage, or painting a single flower from a photograph I might have taken.
In a perfect world, that would all go to plan! Some days it can be the other way around and that’s okay too. As long as each day I’m moving forward and growing as a designer and building my portfolio, with dreams of one day soon selling my my designs on a freelance basis or creating my own line of products.
What is the very first step you take when beginning to design a new collection? Does it grow from an idea or does the idea come after you begin to sketch?
The way I sit down to work on a pattern or to start a new collection is by putting pen to paper. I usually start with a selection of words that help me begin a process of mindmapping. This was something I was taught while studying with ISCD (International School of Colour & Design) that has stayed with me till today. It’s a process that has become very helpful, especially when creating a full collection.
I then like to combine materials from my own sketching or something I might have painted, with a found image or one from my own photos, it totally depends on what I’m trying to achieve.
From striking geometrics to more textural prints and conversationals, your designs – particularly those for Patternmash – are packed with variety. What type of print do you most enjoy creating?
I guess for me, geometrics seem to come naturally, although they don’t always start their journey with that intention. Once I scan my initial drawings I find it’s within the next process of tracing, colouring and just really playing around that I sometimes find a hidden gem. This process allows me to find something more than just a petal and has allowed me to create some of the patterns that you now see on Patternmash. What starts out as one thing can totally transform into another.
What and who are your biggest design influences?
Anyone who knows me will confirm that it’s never just one thing that influences my work. There is definitely a variety of design eras and designers that spark my interest…
I love the geometrics you find in retro prints from the 60’s and 70’s that are always big, bright and bold. I also can never walk past the grown up elegance of Art Deco design. Again, here you will find a strong geometric influence in architecture, furniture, and homewares. Lastly, I have to admit my ongoing love affair with romantic, vintage floral prints, be it tiny row by row prints or larger than life, free flowing florals.
Among my favourite designers are Amy Butler who has this amazing way of designing stunning florals. Then there’s Parson Gray’s geometrics and the way Kaffe Fassett uses brights in design. I also love Orla Kiely’s striking simplicity and of course, beautiful vintage Liberty prints.
You are currently designing for your 5th consecutive Patternmash brief. Which Project have you enjoyed most and why?
Firstly let me say that I have loved all of the Patternmash briefs. For me though, “The Landlady” would still be right up there as one of my top projects. This may be because it was my first Patternmash brief or that I am a big Alfred Hitchcock fan. Maybe even because it incorporates another love of mine, books. I got to create a book cover as part of that brief, which was a lot of fun.
You have a free day but print design is strictly forbidden! What will you get up to?
A free day away from designing, hmm…what to do? Catching up with friends for coffee is always a must. Going out for ice-cream, browsing a bookshop or visiting the library – there is something to be said about turning the pages of a book. Seeing a movie, I still think some movies are so much better on the big screens, don’t you? I’m also loving the resurgence of handmade crafts at the moment, so starting or finishing a project is always delightful.