One-on-one with Florence Dostie-Ménard; Behind PEPPERMINT's Patterns
You are about to put on your new kit that was recently delivered to your door. You chose it for its colors, its freshness and its design. But what do the patterns really mean? What are is their vision, history and evolution? Basically, what do they represent and where do their results come from?
Graphic design is an integral part of the answer and my goal today is to shed light on the process and vision behind the creation of the patterns for the PEPPERMINT 2020 collection.
First of all, who am I? A great enthusiast of graphic design, creation as well as cycling in general, particularly mountain biking. I have been self-employed as a graphic designer for a few years and have had the pleasure to work with the PEPPERMINT team on the creative development of the 2020 collection. My role? To take part in the creative process surrounding the choices of colors and the artistic direction of the collection. To propose, imagine and design original and personalized patterns for the clothing line. To apply the selected patterns in different ways on digital models of the products that I then offer to the team. So, if you feel like learning more about this process, I invite you to read the rest of this article.
WHAT IS GRAPHIC DESIGN?
First of all, what is graphic design? To sum it up briefly, graphic design is the art of everyday life. On any given day you come across the work of a graphic designer over and over. It's part of all the packaging that you see, any logos that you come across, all the web pages you visit and even your books, magazines, your favorite t-shirt, your grocery bags, your shower curtain and, of course, your new cycling kit. In short, it is a marvelous profession, very omnipresent in our modern society and shapes our relationship with a product or a brand. Have you ever chosen a product based on its packaging rather than its content? No need to tell you that a thoughtful, well-crafted and eye-catching design is worth its weight in gold. All this and adding an artistic and distinctive touch to the elements that surround us.
Although a creation can be worked first by hand, everything transposes to the computer before it is finalized. Then, from this digital file, it is possible to print the creation or to integrate it into a web design. Personally I divide graphic design in a broad sense into several branches: graphic design, visual identity (more commonly known as branding), digital design, illustration, layout (for example a magazine), packaging and retouching or photographic editing.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS
Now that you know a bit more about graphic design, what role does it play in designing the pattern that is on your new jersey? Here is how.
1- Research & inspiration
Once the artistic direction and colors of the year are established, then comes the stage of creative research. This is a really crucial step in the inspiration process. It allows you to get your head around what is already happening in the world of cycling, what remains to be explored and what has already been widely exploited. In addition, this step allows for a more elaborate graphic vision to create something refined and out of the ordinary. All of this while keeping up with the trends of the moment.
Inspiration can be found in many places. Online, of course, but also in elements that we see in the streets, mixes of colors that appeal to us, textures and patterns that are found in nature. Sometimes inspiration comes at rather unexpected times. So this is an important step to blend interesting ideas and designs that will be aligned with the artistic direction of the collection.
2- Creative experimentation
After research comes experimentation. It is a design stage that aims to explore several different avenues based on the ideas found in the previous stage. In reality, several ideas also emerge during experimentation. This is a step that can be done on the computer as well as by hand. It's all about taking out the brushes, the paint, the blank canvas and testing different graphic avenues. Or search for pictures online or go take some pictures outside and work them on the computer to do something creative that will look great on a jersey or even bike shorts.
3- Finalization and testing
Once the experimentation phase is over, draft patterns will be offered to the design team who will provide comments and suggestions. Subsequently, the best options, which best corresponds to the vision of the collection will be selected to be fine-tuned, finalized and prepared to ensure that the file technique, its resolution and its dimensions are well adjusted. After that, I love the phase of testing patterns in all kinds of color combinations to assess their potential. It's always nice to watch a pattern come to life quietly and come across color options that make us excited.
This year the collection is divided into 5 color groups: Glacier, Oasis, Trail, Golden Hour et Originale. These are mini-collections among the entire 2020 collection that bring together pieces of similar colors and moods. This way it’s easier to combine your choices according to color palette and thus develop your own range of gear that goes well together.
4- Application on mock-ups
The last but not the least step is the application of the designs into digital mock-ups. This step is the one that transforms an idea into a more concrete vision. It's about experimenting with different color combinations and positioning patterns in all kinds of ways in digital model to design something distinctive, vibrant and one of a kind. The creative team then evaluates the different options and provides feedback and proposals. Thus the best options will be fine-tuned and selected to offer a wide variety of products and reach a clientele with diverse preferences. In short, whether for tops, bottoms, accessories and any other element with a design, they are imagined according to this process while respecting the artistic direction of the collection.
Now here's a description of five patterns from the 2020 collection, to add a little visibility to the lines described above or simply to satisfy your curiosity.
Among the PEPPERMINT 2020 collection is the Crystalized collection. This is a set of songs with a particularly flamboyant pattern. The objective was to develop an eye-catching visual, which would stand out for its elegance, originality and vibrant colors. Each gradient has been worked individually to develop a perfect harmony between the triangles. In addition, this pattern recalls that of the Flag present on several pieces of the collection and the collar of the jerseys. In short, a collection to discover this summer!
➼ Sunset & Pines
The Sunset and Pines pattern fit particularly well behind the 2020 collection’s main vision. They are inspired by the magnificent landscapes that surround us and pay homage to nature, but more specifically to the mountains. These designs are images found on the web that have then been tweaked on the computer into distinctive patterns. They offer a variation on the traditional transition between two colors on a garment. They express a quiet strength, an almost unpredictable power and the desire to discover new heights with courage and ambition.
The Mood pattern is a minimalist and refined pattern. The idea was to develop something that was geometric but would at the same time differ from the solid-colored lines that can be found on pieces of bicycles. All this while retaining the cachet of a refined approach. It's a pattern that starts from a very simple idea, but which seeks an eye-catching result for both the ups and downs. They are delicate pieces which coordinate well with several elements and are ready to accompany you for hundreds of kilometers with confidence and style.
What a great project to have taken part in with the PEPPERMINT team! A real breath of creativity to have contributed to the development of the 2020 collections.