Who says a rainy day has to be dark and dreary? Slipping on a pair of women's boots from Western Chief will surely brighten any dark and rainy day! This is thanks to our women's Western Chief designer, Melissa Franulovich. Consistent with her light and cheerful demeanor, Melissa designs boots that will bring a smile to your face with their fun and whimsical patterns, while keeping your feet dry in their stylish and water-proof silhouette. Read on to learn more about Melissa's process of designing.
WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR YOUR DESIGNS?
I often come up with inspiration for prints during a brain storming process involving puns, rhymes, and alliteration. I love a good pun and I try to channel that quirk and fun into my designs. My favorite thing to do is combine two different themes that would really resonate with our customers to make a fun, unique print with an even more cleaver style name - like Buffalo Chicken, Patterned Poultry, Floral Fauna, Camoflorage, etc.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WOULD SURPRISE MOST PEOPLE ABOUT DESIGNING FOR RAIN WEAR?
One thing people might be surprised to learn is just how long it takes to get from the point of an idea to the actual day it hits the shelves. We start brainstorming prints and designing for a specific season a little more than 12 months before product would hit the stores. Some prints we come up with while designing for one season are sometimes developed, then held for the following season instead. Another surprising part of the process would probably be how much of our product is handmade and how many pieces there are to every shoe or boot we make. Just one of our boots has 22 components!
WHAT MEDIUMS DO YOU USE/PREFER?
We use either Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. I prefer to use Illustrator. We also do some hand drawn sketches.
CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH THE PROCESS OF DESIGNING A PRINT?
- Idea/concept brainstorming.
- Draw the icons/different parts of the print.
- Decide on the repeat you want – half drop, standard, etc.
- Arrange the icons in a square or hexagon shape and arranging to get the layout just right.
- Apply a desired color palette to the print.
- Create the pattern repeat.
- Fill a boot CAD with the repeat pattern and scale it to get the desired repeat and print size for the boot.
- Any final tweaks to the print you feel are necessary – adding more detail, a background print, adjusting print density, color changes etc.
- Convert the colors in the print to Pantone codes.
- Spec and send off to the factory for sampling!
WHICH STEPS TAKE THE LONGEST?
I spend a lot of my time tweaking the layout, density, and colors to get the print looking just right! Sometimes we have to receive several samples before the product looks exactly how we want it.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT DESIGNING FOR WESTERN CHIEF?
There are many things I love about designing. We always excitedly anticipate the arrival of samples from the factory. Seeing the product in store on the shelves, and then on people wearing them out in the real world is incredible! My favorite part about designing for Western Chief is getting to have fun every day, designing whimsical, quirky prints that brighten people’s day.
Take a look at some of Melissa's designs from our most recent season:
Have questions about this blog post? Leave us a comment and we'll get back to you!