Last time we gave a bit of an insight into how Janet creates a new collection and how she chooses the colours. This week we will talk about the creative process involved in making the fabric books.
This is a much bigger task than it sounds! The fabric books are used to sell the fabrics via our stockists and distributors and so need to be not only a representation of the collection, but also Barker & Barker as a brand.
The books need to draw you in and take you on a story through colour and design. The finished books need to catch your eye and encourage browsers to turn the pages, and engage with our products.
Walk into any interior design studio or fabric shop in Cambridge and you will be met with rows upon rows of fabric books- it can sometimes be quite overwhelming! The trick is to create something that will stand out, show the fabrics in the best possible way and ultimately be the most memorable.
The design of the books begins on the cutting table in the studio. After receiving the final colours and designs of the fabrics from the mill, it is a case of matching colours and different designs. The lead fabric in our new collection ‘Dierama’ had already been chosen but what colour was to be the lead?
Janet has to group the fabrics in colours and then make a decision as to the order. Janet had to use her creative eye again to decide which designs sit better next to one another so that the colours flow.
Making sure colours compliment each other is very important. The colour spectrum helps us to use colours effectively, making sure we show complimentary opposites to their full potential. For example, blue and orange are complimentary opposites, as are red and green.
Another important thing to consider is the design and repeat of the fabrics. This can be difficult to show in fabric books- it would be lovely to have books that show the full repeat of some of our fabrics, but they would end up being too big! Janet had to choose the part of the design as a representation of what the rest of fabric looks like. They then have to be positioned in a way to show the maximum amount of the design in a smaller scale.
Once the layout had been decided it was time to get a bit more creative! The easiest way to show our book producers exactly what the books should look like, is to make a mock up.
This involved a lot of cutting and sticking and labeling- the showroom resembled the Blue Peter studio for a while but it was for an important cause! The layout of a fabric book should take you on a journey through the colours and designs of the fabrics. They should show which designs and colours co-ordinate and sit well together. They should also give the buyer extra options, ideas and inspiration about what would look good in their interior.
We have people in our showroom who say they are looking for one thing, see our fabric books and then choose something completely different because of how the fabrics have been presented in the book!
Once the book makers have received our mock up, they start work on their own mock up.
Here is one we had made recently for our Best of Europa / Premier book and also a first look at the new Dierama book in its mock up form.
It’s a little rough around the edges but its always an exciting moment as it means we are a big step closer to seeing the finished product. The fabrics will all be in place, sealed and stepped in the right order and labeled with the names and compositions.
Then it is a case of proof reading and checking everything down to the smallest detail (we wont bore you with those!) and choosing the imagery.
We will talk more about the imagery in the final installment of this series next week (and maybe even show you the full collection!)