I recently read the book The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice by Todd Henry. I scribbled a bunch of take-aways from the book, but ONE line in particular grabbed my scattered attention:
Successful, consistently brilliant people do the little (too obvious, too simple, too commonsensical) things that no one else is doing.
So many times when I’m working on a new design or creating a composition for a Spoonflower design challenge, I try to be clever. Make something no one else is making. Think of the problem from a unique angle. After all, that’s what all the coaches and advice I’ve read up until now suggest.
I often think of the scene from the movie Contact where Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey discuss Occam’s razor, a principle of philosophy. In essence, the Occam’s idea suggests that the simplest explanation is often the best one.
The simplest design might be the best one.
The most straight-forward approach to the design challenge could be the right one.
With these thoughts swirling around in my brain, I focused on obvious, crowd-pleasing elements for my Modern Farmhouse design.
Tenth place – but you guys, I won a prize!
As my husband so aptly pointed out this morning – I never win anything. He’s not being mean; he’s right.
Let me introduce you to the design first, and then I’ll share more of the juicy details.
What is Modern Farmhouse Anyway?
Do you watch the show Fixer Upper? I haven’t made the plunge into the land of Chip & Joanna Gaines, but I would probably like it from what I’ve seen of their merchandise collection adorning the aisles of Target.
From what I understand, “modern farmhouse” describes the Gaines aesthetic to a T. For obvious marketing reasons, Spoonflower couldn’t make the direct link to Fixer Upper, but clearly everyone else did.
Since I’m not super familiar with this look or the show, I dug around in Pinterest and made a list of words. A super-big-I-won’t-bore-you-with-all-6,283-of-them list.
Here’s the abbreviated, two-bite version of what “modern farmhouse” means to me:
- Cozy, comfy, charming
- Wood – reclaimed, planks, pine, shiplap
- Metals – wrought iron, rustic, industrial
- Neutrals – cream, beige, gray
- Textures – layering for contrast and interest
In terms of color, I tend to reach for bright, exciting color palettes, but that is NOT part of the modern farmhouse look.
Clearly, I needed a helping hand with color inspiration and turned to Pinterest (again). I focused on the two muted palettes below, but I customized the final color scheme to add more of my personal favorite – turquoise.
My Design Process – Motifs and Layout
With a color direction established, I went to work translating the abstract idea of “modern farmhouse” into an actual design.
For some reason (there is rarely an explanation for the things that fly through my brain), I fixated on a kitchen theme. If the heart of modern farmhouse is comfort, then the heart of comfort in the home is the kitchen.
Two ideas presented themselves: a collage of cookbooks and a collage of kitchen elements. For a hot minute, I loved the cookbook idea. But, then I remembered I had hours, yes only HOURS, to complete this design.
Cookbooks would take too long, so that idea moved to the back burner.
What do you think of the cookbook idea? Don’t let my silly sketch sway you!
For the sake of time, I chose to draw farm animals, vintage-y kitchen tools, antique silverware, and include typography.
Here’s my sketch for this layout. As you can see, my drawing skills are A+ awesome sauce.
(Haha – no. No, my drawing skills are not all that, but they get the job done. What is going on with the pig that looks like some kind of hippo-rhino mashup?!)
Just keepin’ it real, y’all.
I tend to design in black and white before making the leap to color. Below you can see the monochromatic elements before I arranged them in repeat.
The black and white felt like it could come alive with some chalkboard and metallic textures.
What do you think – yay or nay?
Sing for Your Supper – A Modern Farmhouse Print
I once worked for a family that sang together before they ate dinner. This simple tradition became a pillar of their family culture and their personal means of saying grace. I found that idea so incredibly foreign from my own experience at the family dinner table that I never forgot it.
Do you sing together as a family?
Apparently, the idea of “sing for your supper” means:
If someone has to sing for their supper, they have to do a job before they are allowed to do something they want to do. (source)
And really, isn’t that true?
In order to eat, we first must shop, prep, and cook. With today’s trend toward more local ingredients, humanely-raised meats sourced from farmers, whole foods, and from-scratch cooking, we’ve a LOT more work to do.
But yes, I think it’s totally worth it.
I allowed the elements to dance with one another, playfully interacting across the canvas until the repeat worked itself out in Illustrator. I then brought the design into Photoshop and added the oh-so-important shiplap texture.
Shiplap happens to be a hallmark of the modern farmhouse style. And, I adore the look of it. If I ever redo my own kitchen or bathroom, you can bet I’ll be sneaking shiplap in somehow!
The textured wood planks in the background pull the whole design together giving a rustic-yet-refined vibe.
My First Spoonflower Top Ten Design!
Sing for Your Supper placed tenth in the latest Spoonflower design (see the results and other winners here).
You guys – I am over the moon!!
This tenth-place win means several SUPER amazing things.
- I received a $20 Spoonflower credit to use toward anything on their site.
- My design will be featured in Spoonflower’s marketing emails, granting exposure to their entire subscriber list.
- Sing for Your Supper is available for purchase now – no proofing required!
If you voted for my design, I’m reaching through your screen to give you a big hug and say THANK YOU! I am just completely shocked, amazed, delighted, and SO thankful.
Note that you can purchase the design in two directions – horizontal and vertical. If you want continuous yardage (for the shiplap to run continuously along the length of the fabric), or if you want to make tea towels (adorable!), make sure to purchase the vertical design.
A Pinch of YOUR Creative Genius Needed!
Since this design struck a chord in Spoonflower fans – it received over one hundred favorites! – I’d like to develop coordinating prints and create a collection.
But, y’all, I’m stumped.
What would YOU like to see in accompanying prints? Egg polka dots? Silverware stripes? Just the shiplap? An alternate version with metallic textures and a chalkboard background?
You are such a creative bunch that I can’t wait to hear your ideas.
p.s. – Thanks again if you voted. You made my WEEK!
Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Using my links helps me keep creating designs like this one at no extra cost to you.