A design theme is the underlying objective that ensures the textiles designs are on trend and will continually come into the textiles market. There is a wide variety of themes that could be used and here is a variety of them.
FLORAL – the most important basic textile design. Abstract; stylised; realistic.
ETHNIC OR FOLK – also known as folklore; peasant; provincial. Includes all forms of plants, flowers, birds, animals, human figures, scenic subjects, geometrics. Can be highly stylised, realistic, sophisticated, naïve.
MONOTONE – designs of only one colour with white. Modern and traditional.
PATCHWORK – derived from patchwork quilt traditions. Also appliqué patterns that appear to be stitched.
LIBERTY – classic blouse-sized florals, often with a fine outline. Originally from Liberty’s of London.
CHINTZ – a glazed or polished cotton, beautiful florals with trees, birds and animal and human figures. Combining realistic and stylised motifs in the same design. Originates from India.
CONVERSATIONAL – realistic or stylised motifs that tell a story. Can be campy and fun or sophisticated and high style.
BATIK – imitates the wax resist effect. Usually exotic florals and ethnics.
PAISLEY – a curved abstract palm motif derived from the cashmere shawls of India that were woven in Paisley, Scotland. Can be set and conservative or bold and dramatic.
GEOMETRIC – composed of abstract shapes such as squares, triangles, circles. Can be very ‘free’ or mechanically set.
FOULARD – also known as madder, tie-silk, cravat. Carefully drawn, geometrically styled floral, paisley or Persian motifs.
ART NOUVEAU – sensuous, flowing, organic lines, with motifs taken from nature and plant life.
ART DECO – clean, geometric lines, formalised modern and angular. Motifs can be derived from flowers, plants, Egyptian art, animals and human figures.
CONTEMPORARY – usually non-figurative, either modern and crisp, or painterly.
BOTANICAL – realistic and well drawn botanical motifs as found in illustrated books on flowers, plants, herbs. Detailed, fine, pen line drawing and lettering.
TOILE DE JOUY – means ‘cloth from Jouy’ in France. Finely illustrated stories of current events or romanticised landscapes and figures.
SCENIC OR LANDSCAPE – designs in which the motifs are placed in a horizontal layout and, when combined with the subject matter, suggest a scene. Can be rural or cityscape subjects. A realistic style of drawing tends to be used.
COUNTRY FRENCH – originating from carved woodblocks from 18th century Provence, France. Rustic look with an Indian and Asian influence. Often bright in colour. Small set patterns and large chintz florals.
TROPICAL – motifs and colours inspired by lush, sunny tropical regions of the world. Flowers, leaves, trees, animals, birds, insects, fish, figures and geometrics. Primary colours. Often tossed, all-over motif layout.
TAPESTRY OR WARP – designs that imitate the look of elaborate embroideries or woven jacquard fabrics. The vertical, (warp), or horizontal, (weft), threads are emphasised by paint or by pen and ink. Graph paper can also be used as a guide.
WEAVES – similar to the above, but extended to include effects such as straw, flax, bamboo, rattan, cord, wicker, basketry, knits, crochet, etc. Can be used as independent designs or as background effects.
NEO CLASSICAL – refers to any style that uses ancient Greek and Roman forms as a starting point. Acanthus leaves, plaques, griffins, floral urns, swans, horses, lions. The flowing curves of baroque, Empire, English Regency. Layouts are formal, balanced, harmonious, implying power, solidity and tradition.
DAMASK – printed damask designs imitate the original fabrics woven in 13th century Damascus. Elaborately patterned, formal, all-over or striped layouts.
DOCUMENTARY – inspired by or adapted from a decorative historical document or fabric. Can be from any culture. Usually a fairly close approximation of the original.
CALICO PRINTS – small floral, close coverage, 3 or 4 colours plus white. Also tiny geometric motifs as well as stripes and plaids. Traditionally used for dresses and aprons, frequently for patchwork quilts.
THE LINGERIE FLORAL – dainty, small, usually widely spaced designs. Rosebuds, daisies, nosegays, ribbons and butterflies. Clean, delicate pastels.
‘LITTLE NOTHINGS’ OR ABSTRACT – small, simple shapes in 1 to 3 colours. Geometrics, dabs, wriggles, crescents and commas. Usually a tossed open-spaced layout. Often the same design is done as light-on-dark and dark-on-light.
ORGANIC TEXTURES – found in nature and includes woodgrains, reptile skins, sand, pebbles, grasses, clouds, sea shells, bird feathers, fur, leather grains, etc.
ARTIFICIAL EFFECTS – using a stipple brush, sponge, toothbrush to spatter, tissues to blot, or any number of other techniques to create a textured, irregular appearance.
GRAPHIC TEXTURES – these are geometric in nature with a simplified, clean and stylised look. Their appearance from a distance gives a strong, all-over textural quality.