Getting Ready for Blueprint

At the moment I am beavering away, trying to get ready for Dot & Flow's first time exhibiting at Blueprint (a surface design and print trade show) taking place this May! After two consecutive years of doing Surtex, it's a little nerve-wracking to change to another show, but having done my research and weighing up the pros and cons, it feels like the right move to make. Only time will tell!

Here's a little teaser of what we'll be bringing to the Big Apple in just a few short weeks :) 

The show will take place just a block away from the Javits centre (where Surtex takes place) at 404 and the space looks great inside. I'm thrilled to see who are booth neighbours are and can't wait to meet some people I have either been following and or interacting with in the design community online, as well as some old design friends. 

 Map of where to find Blueprint by Andrea Turk Cinnamon Joe Studio

Map of where to find Blueprint by Andrea Turk Cinnamon Joe Studio

See you on the other side! 

Periscope Now Saves your Scopes Forever


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Yesterday I noticed a welcomed change to Periscope, your video streams are now automatically saved so they are available for viewers to watch again and again. Before this update, users' scopes were deleted after 24-hours. There was (and continues to be) the option to save your broadcasted videos to your phone, which could then of course be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo, however, this posed a problem if phone storage space is low. 

With the recent and sudden departure of the handy site Katch, an automated service that saved your broadcasts and also tweeted about them and even allowed you to download, share or embed the videos down the line, this new option directly within Periscope will be welcomed by many. 

 Go to setting to make changes to your video preferences

Go to setting to make changes to your video preferences

 

Reasons NOT to save your videos! 

1- One great aspect of the short 24-hour viewing window was the sense of urgency created, which often encourages viewers to either jump into broadcasts while they are live or make a real effort to watch them before they are removed forever.  

Consider keeping special broadcasts or promotional/ interactive scopes set to the 24-hour removal set up to create a buzz. 

2- Monitor your engagement and views after you make the switch. If you find fewer people are showing up to your broadcasts or catching replays, perhaps you should return to the old model.

3- As with everything you put out into the world take time every now and then to step and reassess. Does all the content you have available still represent you and your current goals? If the answer is no, go back and clean up your account so you have only your very best content on show. 

Happy Scoping! Be sure to catch me on Periscope under @natwillsdesign 😀 

 

SURTEX Set-Up Day

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All of a sudden SURTEX 2016 was upon us and it was time to "set up shop" but first, the little matter of collecting our banners and collatoral from FedEx 😂

This year I went for 2 small soft cover portfolio books, they were easy to handle and flick through, and have two came in handy with a booth our size. My Dot & Flow colleagues opted for blurb large square and large landscape hardcover books. There was no shortage of eye candy in our booth, that's for sure!

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Eating Fear For Breakfast!

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Twice this week, I've jumped in and done something that scares me! The first was present to a lecture hall full of university students and the second was last night taking part in a Periscope live broadcasting marathon. 

The thing is, I didn't have to, I could have found an excuse or decided pull out, but hey, where's the fun in that!? 

The Pass The Pencil event ran smoothly enough and it was great to connect with some wonderful creatives both new and familiar. 

"Katch" the Replay

If you would like to grab a cupper and watch the replay it's available on Katch.me along with my other broadcasts. Periscope is still pretty new to me and I must admit I'm not yet 100% comfortable scoping live, but I'm determined to keep showing up and trying to improve each time until I find my groove. Please feel free to follow me (for a giggle if nothing else) and I'll keep sharing my working process, any tips and tricks I come across on my travels.  

I heard a great quote today: 

"Fear shouldn't paralyze you, it should make you move"

This is now my new motto and I hope to keep pushing myself to do more scopes, teach, learn and continue moving forward in any way I can. 

Butterfly Flutter Pattern Tweaking

I've been working on a collection of prints for a fabric manufacturer the last few weeks and though I can't share how the designs turned out just yet, I thought I'd let you take a sneak peek a little look at my work in progress. Here I am tweaking a butterfly repeat pattern.

If you'd like to catch more behind the scenes and new design previews, hop on over and follow me on Instagram. 

Until next time :)

Designer Insights with Natalie Williamson - Yay!

I had the pleasure of being asked to take part in Terrys Fabrics' Designer Insights series recently. Take a peek at my interview below!

Courtesy of: Terrys Fabrics

The Low Down on SURTEX (and a little Printsource info too)!

I've been asked a few questions about my experience at Surtex so I thought I'd share my answers and thoughts here, as it may come in useful for other people too. I've tried to be as honest and thorough as possible, but if I've missed anything, give me a shout.

This year, I exhibited my portfolio as part of Cultivate Art Collective, 9 super friendly, uniquely talented individuals with a wide range of styles and genres available for licensing and sale to various markets. 

What does the booth price/rental actually include?

  • 8’ high side walls and back wall (or corner booths with two walls and 2 open sides)
  • Company name sign
  • Lighting
  • Carpeting
  • One counter (low or high)
  • Three chairs (low or high depending on counter)
  • Wastebasket
  • Pre-show cleaning
  • Daily rubbish removal
  • Overnight storage of artwork
  • Operations assistance
  • And this year we each had a free seminar included with our ticket
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Shelves cost extra, power to the booth (for laptop charger etc.) costs extra, reliable Wi-Fi also costs extra but free Wi-Fi available but only good for the odd personal use as it's a little temperamental and you wouldn’t want to be sitting with a client, trying to load something and have it freeze or cut off on you! You have to log back in each time it kicks you out, again not something you want to deal with when you have a busy client in front of you.

Walls are plain white as standard and you can either decorate them yourself, build certain fixtures or contact the show to use their people to fit it out to your design (but this is very costly).

How does it work when you're a part of a collective? 

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It obviously depends on the individual collective, but we acted as individual artists in terms of handling any sales/requests, but worked together in generating interest in the collective and directed visitors at the booth to the artists with the most relevant work for that particular client but also shared all contacts with each other at the end of each day. This meant there was no competitiveness and we each had areas we were particularly interested in and geared towards, so we were a one stop shop covering most areas, having something for everyone.

Some other collectives were more of a Studio and had a more unified collective style that works for a more targeted audience or a specific market. Both work well in different ways, so it depends on the group you are working with and what your goals are.

Do you have any tips?

Decide on who you are as a collective, A one stop shop with something for everyone, or a collective for e.g. Kids Stationery, greetings and gift.

Decide on the look and feel of your collective, making sure it speaks to what you decided above. This will feed into your booth design and marketing materials you produce and you want to get the right people to stop at your booth and take note. Once you have them there, you can wow them with your amazing work!

Decide how you will handle interest and sales. Do you want to work as  group of solo artists under one umbrella or share all sales equally. Is one person the Admin Queen, who handles it all, taking notes, collecting business cards and so on…?

What would you say was the most helpful thing you brought with you to Surtex?

  1. 3M command strips for quick hassle free installation and removal of banners, etc. without causing any damage to the framework or blank booths (you’ll be charged if you damage anything!).
  2. A notepad and clipboard. It’s a whirlwind and though you might think there is no way you will forget speaking to that one amazing client you had your heart set on, you won’t remember everything they said once they walk away and you get talking to more and more people. Make notes on what they were looking for, what their role is, who their target customer is, when they look for certain seasonal themes, which peaces they paid attention to… anything you find out, make a note of it. If you type faster than you write, send yourself a quick text or email on your phone or iPad.

If you could change anything about the way you showed your work, what would it be?

I would opt for a square or portrait portfolio booth rather than landscape so it takes up less space (width wise) when laid flat. Space was limited with so many of us in the booth so it was a little tight. I also had A3 printed artwork sheets which were pretty handy since I could reorder them depending on who approached the booth and what they were looking for but again, I could save a little table space by taking the size of them down and they would still be as effective.

What's the difference between Surtex & Printsource?

From my experience, Printsource is slightly more apparel and textiles orientated and people are shopping to actually buy/license there and then where as Surtex has a lot more window shoppers and scouts, looking to find designers and particular styles. That’s not at all to say they were time wasters! Many seemed to be the assistant to the person with the chequebook and others were looking for work to present in meetings where the decision of what work to move forward with would be made. Surtex had a wide variety of shoppers looking for everything from repeat patterns to card designs, characters and everything in between. I would say, expect to take contact details and contracts at Surtex, and expect credit card payments at Printsourse.

That being said, many companies like to see a booth a few times at shows before they feel confident to immediately buy from them. They want to know that your business knows what they are doing. With Surtex especially, follow up is key!! Showing is just the beginning. The hard work comes after when you have to be brave and reach out to all those fantastic new contacts you’ve just made. And believe me, I know how daunting it can be!

I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who said they want designers to keep sending them work and that they want you to keep them up to date with what you are up to!

Of course, everyone's thoughts and experiences of the two shows will vary from person to person and partly depend on your style, whether you show as a collective, through an agent/studio or as a solo artist, but I think it's helpful to her about such as massive (and costly) venture such as this, from as many different sources as possible in order to help you make the most of it if and when you decide to show yourself. If anyone has any other questions or insights, please feel free to get in touch, I'd love to hear from you.  

Stop Press! Natalie Williamson Designs make news :)

It has to be one of the most surreal feeling to be mindlessly flicking through the newspapers in front the fire at your Gran's when, POW! There you are in all your printed glory on the page before you :) An excited squeal of "Mummy" quickly sounded from my little one who spotted it too. The article speaks of my designs travelling all the way to New York for the Surtex trade show and give a brief background on me and my designs.

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The Huddersfield Examiner was also lovely enough to feature me on their website accompanied a selection of lovely images of my designs. Happy days!

One Month & Counting til my Surtex Voyage!

This time next month, I will be jetting off to join a group of amazing artists and designers to take part in a Trade Show, Surtex and boy, am I excited! The last time I was in New York I attended a similar show, Printsource and it was a turning point in my career. This will be my first time at Surtex, so I'm a little nervous of the unknown, but I'm sure it will be an equally wonderful experience. Here is my press pack, a little taster of the work I'll be taking to the show.  

In preparation for exhibiting at the show, I have been designing new surface patterns so I'm going with my new and exclusive work! As the countdown begins, my to do list continues to grow. I'm working on little goodies and takeaways for guests, printing, oh and I can't forget my sightseeing list too!

Here I am freezing on Brooklyn Bridge. Fingers crossed I'll get some nice weather this time round :)

First Look! Surface Pattern Designs for License

Tweet tweet! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter for updates and sneak peeks. I'll be tweeting my way through SURTEX this May too. 

Natalie Williamson Designs on The ArtLicensingShow.com

Drum Roll please... The ArtLicensingShow.com is all set to open its virtual doors today at 2pm EST 6pm GMT and I cannot wait! 

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This exciting new site is a place for Art Licensors and Art Licensees to connect in a safe and secure environment, ensuring that fantastically designed products make it to the shelves. 

Join in the festivities and find out more on the ArtLicensingShow Red carpet here

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I'm also getting the honor of networking with other wonderfully creative designers, which I adore! Art Directors and Agents get to browse great art without the hefty airline and travel expenses, all day everyday - what's not to love? 

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