For this week’s installment of the Textile Design Guide we are gonna have some fun. Meet some of our more eclectic design styles: whimsical, steampunk, novelty, and retro/vintage designs.
This type of textile design features non-abstract, recognizable motifs. We often think of novelty prints as quirky and playful: clouds in the sky, an alphabet soup, or a ghoulish Halloween scene. However, novelty patterns, also known as conversational prints, include an even wider range of fabric designs like historically commemorative designs, photographic landscapes, even imitation lacework. In this manner, they are particularly voguish, moving in and out of style quickly with the market mood. They can be both the height of cool or outdated and kitschy.
While novelty prints can make a big and bold impact, there are more subtle, clever ways to incorporate them. You may choose one large central motif for a cushion cover; alternatively, you may favor a repeat so small the motif is almost lost. Either way, novelty prints offer a daring opportunity to add a little fun to your textile world.
Shop our novelty designs here.
Whimsical designs are essentially a subset of novelty patterns. The distinguishing feature of these fabrics is the casually humorous and lighthearted mood that they are intended to evoke. For this reason, they are great accents for children’s rooms, adding a burst of youthful and playful energy. Whimsical prints offer unique, quirky, and creative points of interest even in adult environments. While they are a staple of the eclectic interior décor style, we believe a well-honed infusion whimsical fabric can offer the perfect centerpiece for even a traditionally inspired room.
Shop all of our whimsical prints here.
Steampunk is a science fiction subgenre that runs wild with the notion of a neo-Victorian alternate world. Imagine that steam power had maintained its position as the predominant source of energy in our society. Aircraft exist but instead of the sleek and modern machines we are used to, they look more like super outfitted zeppelins and steamships floating through the sky. Meanwhile, steampunk fashion is replete with goggles, leather bustiers, and mechanical prosthesis. Classic examples of steampunk within pop culture include movies such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Time Machine.
In terms of fabric design, this style evokes an antique, industrial feel. This means gears, motors, and machinery motifs, the interplay of hard and soft elements, and metallic, sepia, and neutral color stories.
Shop our selection of steampunk designs here.
Retro and Vintage refer to patterns that evoke design elements from the past. In technical terms, “vintage” denotes a fabric older than 20 years that is characteristic of the era in which it was constructed. Meanwhile, “retro” indicates a fabric intended to take on the appearance of a prior era. Within the world of digital printing, retro and vintage are often used synonymously.
There is always a waiting time before a sense of nostalgia begins to develop for past trends and pop culture icons. We are just beginning to see a return of the 90s preference for gingham, florals, and primary colors. More recognizable design styles include the bohemian 70s, the mod 60s, and the kitschy 50s. Using our Customization Tool, retro patterns can be modernized with a contemporary color scheme – or modern designs can be colored to draw on a retro color palette. Either way, these motifs, colors, and designs have proven the test of time.
Shop our retro/vintage designs here.
Check back next week for the another installment of our Textile Design Guide!