Pink Lily Prints: How it Started & How it's Going
Buying team members Alison and Shelby D., and graphic designer, Shelby R., give insight to how Pink Lily exclusive prints are created.
How it Started
How does the process start for designing prints for clothing items?
Alison: Everything starts from an inspiration piece. Whether it's a wallpaper, an item we saw walking down the street but we wanted to tweak it, or just a color palette in general, we always start with a basis or an idea of inspiration. From there we tweak the things we don't love and keep the things we do. Sometimes it takes one drawing and sometimes we change just the ground color five times before we confirm it with our graphic designer.
Shelby D: In addition to what Alison said, we also review all of our bestselling styles from the previous season and brainstorm what we can bring in that is similar in style, new colors/prints to add to that style, or an updated change we can make to the style to bring in for customers who purchased the previous season and might want an updated piece.
Shelby R: The buying team has a sheet they created with pattern ideas on it. So they will add a reference picture and then add notes based on how they want it to look different. For example, they might add a floral pattern but then add that they want completely different colors and for the flowers to be larger and closer together. Then usually look around for some reference images for flowers and get started drawing everything out!
What does the overall design process look like? Do you look at multiple versions of a print idea before deciding on the final print?
Alison: Typically, it's a lot of back and forth between us and Shelby (our graphic designer) to make sure it's exactly what we want. A lot of times we land on a color palette long before the actual design is complete. This allows us to play around with what colors are ground colors, which are main points, and which are accents to finalize which version of the same print and color scheme we love.
Shelby D: Once we finalize a print design from Shelby, we often get it sampled on an actual garment or swatch of fabric to see the way it prints on fabric. Often, the colors will look completely different printed on actual fabric than it does on the computer screen which will sometimes result in more changes being made to the graphic file. There are also times it is printed and comes out too large or too small in print scale which will result in the graphic file needing to be resized.
Watch the Island Fantasy Printed Aqua Romper come to life!
What’s the next step after a new print is approved?
Alison: After a print is approved, we add it to our deck of exclusive Pink Lily prints to use now and whenever in the future. We will add a couple of bodies to start the sampling process and continue narrowing down until we find the perfect body for that print we love.
When a print is designed, do you always know the body of the style or accessory it will go on?
Shelby R: I usually don't. Mostly because we use patterns for several different items sometimes. So this year I made several tropical prints that we used for swimsuits, blouses, dresses, cooler backpacks, and can holders! Therefore, I usually try to create the patterns so they can be scaled up or down depending on what they end up being used on.
Alison: Very rarely. A lot of our exclusively printed items are from a print inspiration and we have to trial and error the body so we can find the perfect body for that print, color scheme, and the size of the print. For example, I wouldn't want a sweet pastel ditsy floral on a body that I would wear out or to a party the same way I wouldn't want a tropical print on a body that I wouldn't typically wear except on vacation if it wasn't my "day-to-day" style.
Shelby D: There are some prints we design for the sole purpose of a body we are needing a print for. For example, the tiger print Alison mentioned was designed only for that swimsuit we produced it in.
How far in advance do you work on prints for each collection/season?
Alison: We work months in advance on these prints. Most of our spring prints were drawn in August/September of 2020. For reference, the Sea of Abyss swimsuit and the Seaside Escape swimsuits just went live on April 9th so 6-7 months in advance is typically when we are designing the prints.
How it's Going
Do you have a favorite print/body style that's been designed?
Alison: I love swimwear, so some of my favorites from this season are the Sea of Abyss and Seaside Escape Pink Tropical swimsuits.
Shelby R: Definitely Sea of Abyss bikini! I love the print and the body of the swimsuit together!
If a certain style does well, do you often design multiple prints for it such as the back in my heart romper?
Shelby D: Yes, bestselling bodies from previous seasons are one of our main focuses for designing new prints for upcoming seasons.
What would you say is the most trending/bestselling print right now?
Shelby D: This spring we have seen a lot of our striped prints and small-scale floral prints do really well. Some of the trending prints we have seen take off recently include patchwork prints, monotone animal prints, and some resurfacing gingham patterns.
From a sketch to social media: one style, multiple prints
BACK IN MY HEART ROMPER
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Additional featured photos by @lipstickheelsandababy, @lyndima, @thriftytigers, and @aurorajacynda.