Kate D. Spain is an illustrator and pattern designer, and creator of the KD Spain brand, based in Connecticut. She has an extensive background in licensing, having worked within the product development sector for over 15 years. She currently licenses her drawings and patterns to the leading manufacturers in the world. Her collections aspire to bring the vitality of the outdoors into people’s homes. She is also a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. So we are proud to bring you the Designer Insights of Kate D. Spain.
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1) In your own words describe your unique style and creative aesthetic?
Bold, fresh, and original hand-drawn patterns in vibrant harmonious colors. I love gardening, so when I decorate interior spaces, I treat them much like a garden landscape by including a mix of materials that add color.
2) When starting a new project, what is your creative process?
As an artist and designer of patterns/images, my creative process starts with things I’m curious about, something more I want to visually explore and study. And then it centers on drawing and color.
3) Out of the creative people you have worked with, who is it that you respect and admire the most?
Mary Rose Gearon, whom I collaborated with in creating six lines of colorful plates for Crate and Barrel. I learned so much from her ability to see from the design perspective as well as from that of the consumer. It made me a smarter creator/designer for my clients. Mary Rose moved on after many years with Crate and now, with her husband Jens, leads a boutique design/marketing consultancy called Global Brand Vision based in Boston.
4) When looking for inspiration is there a particular thing you do to get inspired?
The patterns I create are often a result of being a careful observer of details. Photography is a way to document what/how I see and helps me to zoom in on the details to record what I encounter…flowers, leaves, colors, natural shapes and textures.
5) What has brought you to this point in your career? And what is your advice for people looking to follow in your footsteps?
It took a lot of hard work and perseverance to get my work out into the market through fortunate collaborations with smart, productive people and companies. My advice? Be true to your own sensibilities, be a really good listener and work really hard.