At Happy House HQ we're constantly creating new artwork for our products. We work in 'themes' or 'stories' so each new release of artwork has a similar style, colour palette and the icons and characters relate to each other.
We recently finished a theme which we called 'Hipster Girl', and thought we'd run you through the process of developing the artwork.
We initially start researching ideas through sites like pinterest and other blogs. Sometimes we have a clear idea of what we want to do, other times we're just looking for something that draws our attention and gives us inspiration. For this theme, we felt like we needed a theme of random icons as we hadnt done something like this in a while. This lead us to find all this 'hipster' graphic inspiration, and this became the basis for all our artwork.
We brainstormed a list of potential icons and characters, like cameras, sneakers, cats, bikes etc, and then started drawing and illustrating. Most of the time we will draw everything up on our large sketch pads, and scan them into our macs. Some small icons and pattern shapes we will just draw directly on screen. Using Illustrator we turn those drawings into vector artwork, and start to add colour. We created a colour palette based from our inspiration, while we always include pink, there's lots of pinks to choose from. But for this theme, we want a soft but bright colour palette with a few dark and muted tones.
Once we have our colour palette, icons and characters, we create patterns and placement prints. We created fun little sayings that go with each icon and a specialised logo font to suit the artwork. Our patterns are created so some can work in multiple directions, as well as a creating limited colour versions so they will work best on products like bags. We created overall patterns using all the icons, plus a fun red and pink camera pattern, a multi-direct cat pattern, another using soda bottles plus lots more.
Now that we have all the artwork, we put together product ideas. Showing how best the artwork can look on stationery, homewares and bags. Plus creating specific product concepts to suit the theme, like a camera shaped bag. The next step is to upload all our files to our online 'style guide' which is only accessible by our licensees. They then download the files, select which artwork they like for their region, apply it to their product category and send it back to us for approval. Once approved, its on to manufacturing, distribution and into the shops for all our happy customers :-)