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.


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.


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.


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


Here it is in 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.


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.


Here’s a repeating version of my final design.


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.


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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