Snapshots from a Geek Convention

Spoonflower and Robert Kaufman Fabrics are sponsoring a fabric design contest with the theme being “Geek Chic”.  As a chemical engineer in a previous life, I have a lot of practical experience with geeky things, so I had tons of design ideas to start with.

I thought I’d do something with chemical symbols, but I couldn’t come up with anything that seemed like an interesting design.  I drew a number of geeky accoutrements, including the ties, test tube, sneaker and glasses below.

geek-components

In the end, I settled on using the skinny tie, the sneaker and the glasses as the components of my designs.  I wanted the designs to look like flowers from a distance, but reveal the geek components on closer inspection.

I played around with the pieces and put together a number of combinations.  Maybe these look more like kaleidoscopes than flowers, but they gave me the effect I was imagining.

geek-examples

Before I went too much further, I wanted to try to settle on a color palette.  I picked somegeek-colorshoriz of my favorite springy colors, and added lighter and darker shades.  These are the colors I used, though I didn’t really use the grays or much of the lighter tints.

Using these colors, I put together a bunch of design combinations which eventually turned into this pattern.

geek-chic-basic

I thought the white background might be a bit too stark, so I added a graph-paper style background to the design.

geek-chic-basic-grid

Here it is in repeat.

geek-chic-basic-grid-repeat

I thought the regularity of the larger-scale elements was a bit too noticeable, so I changed the design to a half-drop repeat.  I had to fiddle around with the placement of the designs to make the half-drop work, much like the steps I used in this earlier post about a half-brick repeat.

Here’s the resulting half-drop design.

geek-chic-half-drop

I made one final change, just because I thought it was geeky.  I flipped many of the elements in the right side of the design to their mirror image (such as the 2 circled in purple below).  So, it’s a half-drop repeat, but with a twist.

geek-chic-half-drop-v4-with-reflection-id

Here’s a repeating version of my final design.

geek-chic-half-drop-v4-with-reflection-repeat

There were hundreds of designs entered, and they picked 100 semifinalists (I did not make the cut).  You can see all the semifinalist designs here.

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I’m a geek.
— Bill Gates

I’m an utterly average, total geek.
— Julia Roberts

The term ‘geek’ for me is like you having a passion, interest in something that is unabashed and you don’t care if people think it’s not cool. You think it’s cool and that’s your thing.
— Dominic Monaghan

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