I had a revelation this morning that I couldn’t wait to tell you about. 

For years I have understood the importance of being intentional about the things you create. Creatives tend to create when the mood strikes. But, if they want to jump to the next level, there needs to be a bit of planning involved in the creative process or there is no cohesion to the body they create.

It hit me this morning that creating in collections is actually the key. 

For the past few months, I have have completed a course in surface designing called Immersion with Bonnie Christine (BTW, I highly recommend this  course and her membership site! I have learned so much from Bonnie!! She has such a big heart and wants to help creatives achieve their goals.) I also have been a member in her Flourish membership for the past year. Creating in collections is what she “preaches” to her surface pattern designers. 

The process is rather simple when it comes down to it. A collection evolves from gathering inspiration along a defined storyline. The mood board is a visual spring board that keeps a designer on track. Each individual motif is drawn, keeping in mind that there needs to be a ton of motifs to pull from which will be edited down to the ones that work. A colour palette is established and the motifs are coloured accordingly. Everything is pulled together in a cohesive fabric collection that is displayed in some kind of output whether it be an online portfolio or a physical book.

This concept of creating in collections is brilliant, though, and can be applied to all different kinds of creative practices.

Let’s look at a decorated living room, for example. An interior designer pulls together inspiration on a mood board that defines a specific storyline and keep the theme in mind. A colour palette is established. The individual home decor objects are gathered, being aware that some will be edited out. The output is the room which contains the carefully curated and arranged objects.

A fashion collection is a grouping of clothing put together in a look-book or a fashion show. A garden is a collection of plants grouped together by a landscape designer.

An art portfolio is nothing more than a collection of paintings, a collection of your best work, put together in some form of output which could be a book or an art show. An instagram account (or the output) is a collection of photographs, images and thoughts. A blog is a collection of writing pulled together in a website. 

Creatives can focus on crafting the perfect individual motif, clothing, painting, decorative throw or social media post. But when they start looking at the entire collection, a sense of professionalism emerges. It is the collection that sets the amateur apart from the professional. 

The process for creating in collections for all creative genres can be boiled down to these simple steps…

  1. Gather inspiration
  2. Define a visual storyline to establish a clear direction with a mood board
  3. Establish a colour palette
  4. Create all the individual pieces with surplus to be edited down – the more you create the more you will be able to see your personal style and artistic voice emerge
  5. Pull all the pieces together into some kind of output

When you take the time to step back and look at the big picture of your collection, instead of focusing strictly on creating the individual pieces, you can finally start designing the creative life you want.