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February 10 2012


February 08 2012

Sponsored post

December 31 2011


Collaborative COLOURlovers Project: Spoonflower Quilt for a Queen

So many great things have happened on COLOURlovers in 2011, but one major, behind the scenes project that only a very small portion of members have been aware of was a quilt project straight from the heart of the Group: COLOURlovers on Spoonflower.

Group administrator, leader and very involved COLOURlover, Penina, wanted her group to be something more than just a group of people who loved the idea of fabric. So one fine day back in July 2011, after coordinating ideas to make a digital quilt from the group member creations, she had the thought, “What’s stopping us from making a real quilt?!

Penina wanted this quilt project to have purpose and to involve as many group members as possible. This also meant that the final piece would need to have a good home at a single location; so who would get the quilt?

Before designing began, group members had to decide on a theme. Unknown to one another, a handful of COLOURlovers independently suggested the same idea, a Cancer Healing Quilt. Many offered the idea with a particularly beloved COLOURlover in mind, o2bqueen, (a.k.a. Linda) who had shared her personal cancer journey (which she is still going through) on her COLOURlovers profile. With that in mind, the secret project started...

Official Spoonflower color test swatch created by Penina 

And so began the first COLOURlovers on Spoonflower cooperative project: a queen-sized quilt made from colors, palettes and original templates submitted by members of the COLOURlovers community.


This turned in to much of a learning experience for many COLOURlovers (see the postpartum "what I learned thread in the group here) including Penina as the project coordinator and group leader. Under her very involved leadership, the project began when members voted on a seven color palette.


Project Colors Links by ycc2106

Next, each contributor combined the chosen palette colors in the variation they thought best featured their submitted template. This is where some COLOURlovers learned exactly how the protection of works literally works on COLOURlovers. After learning the in and out of the COLOURlovers rules, some participants were unable to be involved since it required the submitting of your own template.

During the last days of pattern submission, a couple of colors seemed to become the most prominent choice as the background for many of the patterns. At this point, additional COLOURlovers were invited to participate and their submissions helped reestablish the balance of colors which provided enough squares for the quilt to be queen-sized.

Completed submissions were printed via Spoonflower. There was some discussion on how how this was to work as a collaborative project. Between COLOURlovers copyright restrictions and needing to order from a single Spoonflower account, each participant had to email their SVG of the colored Template to Penina who put them in to a group run, not for sale status, account on Spoonflower called, COLOURlovers on Spoonflower.

This solution actually turned out to be beneficial to the group on COLOURlovers because it has since turned in to a feature group on Spoonflower where Penina can utilize it in a number of ways as it showcases the group and member designs on Also, she has provided a link to each pattern (on COLOURlovers) and put the username of the designer in the details. Lastly, this established group can also be used in the future for more collaborative Spoonflower projects.

pictured, Dannielle (aka sundancer)

The swatches were sent to a talented charter member of the group, Dannielle (a.k.a. sundancer), who enthusiastically volunteered to sew it.

Originally, meant to feature the finished quilt on the blog in October for Breast Cancer Awareness month, Dannielle’s timeline for sewing up a queen size quilt was insanely short as swatches were arriving in the first weeks of October.

left: Dannielle / sundancer: All the swatches cut to size and ready to sew! right: Special Thread

She began cutting the fabric as soon as the package arrived. Shopped for additional materials for the quilt’s back, border, binding and batting at her local fabric store. With her own unique thread, she sewed by hand and with her sewing machine. Although she has made many quilts for others, she admits “I’ve never made a quilt that fast!

During the four weeks it took to finish the quilt, Dannielle joyfully continued, even when her personal responsibilities intensified unexpectedly. Group members posted encouraging comments for her and she posted photos of the quilt as it progressed. Excitement really began to build as fellow COLOURlovers saw Dannielle’s loving heart and high standard of excellence reflected in the quilt’s construction.

As her deadline neared, Dannielle says she gave up a little sleep and postponed some housework to get the job done. She also had numerous fights with her sewing machine that threatened a delay. Ultimately, these arguments were settled by her seam ripper, which Dannielle calls “a quilter’s best friend.” Finally ready, the quilt was sent off to ketisse for a special lunch-date delivery to o2bqueen / Linda.

left: ketisse, right: Linda / o2bqueen - having lunch!

After all the months of work that was put in to this top secret project, not to mention, keeping it a secret, the tension started surpassing the excitement, what if Linda / o2bqueen did not want us to surprise her with a quilt centered around her cancer? What would we do with it then?

left: ketisse, right: o2bqueen / Linda

This was clamped as quickly as the hesitation came when Linda excitedly and warmly responded to our reaching out to her and she welcomed the gift, overjoyed:

" I love, love, love it. It's gorgeous, ingenious, inspiring, and joyful, and every time I see it, I will feel loved. How can I ever thank you enough for such a gift?"

"Not till I read your note did I realize how many people were involved in the project. I teared up big time. And I thought to myself, "However did they all keep this secret from me?" I do hope the experience was fun and rewarding for all of you." - Linda / o2bqueen (provided by sundancer / Dannielle)

It so happened, the very week ketisse was due to try to meet with and deliver the quilt, Linda was having yet, another recovery surgery and this meant so much to her to have something positive from the community she so loved and it was delivered in time, right before her 6th surgery.

o2bqueen / Linda holding the folded quilt to take home

Best wishes to Linda (o2bqueen) on the road to healing on behalf of the entire COLOURlovers on Spoonflower members. Many members were still a part of the process even when they were unable to submit a custom template.

Finished quilt

Funding & Sponsorship for this project most generously provided by Spoonflower:

Printing a collection on Spoonflower as a Swatch Sampler will save you money when assembling a project like a quilt.

You can order a batch of swatches for all the designs in a collection in a single 'swatch sampler'. A sampler for a collection of 1-5 designs is $12, 6-15 designs is $20, and 16-30 designs is $35. At as little as ~$1.20 per swatch, this is the most cost effective way to order swatches at Spoonflower. Swatches are the same quality fabric as ordering a fuller selection of fabric.

Be sure you are familiar with the color changes (Spoonflower Color Guide), before printing an entire collection. Creating a color palette for an entire collection and then printing a proof swatch is the smartest way to avoid a major mistake and waste of money.

Templates used for this project and laid out in a digital quilt which links to the Spoonflower version of each template, which in turn links back to COLOURlovers (kindly assembled by ycc2106):


Much of this story and content of this article was written by Ketisse. Posted as a collaboration with my editing and a few portions written by me (mollybermea).

November 22 2011


November 17 2011


October 24 2011


September 22 2011


Seamless Lite New Features: Custom Shapes & Shape Galleries (How-To)

COLOURlovers spend countless hours creating amazing Patten Templates using Seamless Lite. Today, we are happy to announce some amazing new feature updates to the in-site seamless pattern design process.


Along with the new features, Seamless Lite has been given some big love and a smoother, speedier designing experience should be noticeable.

"Save as Shape" Tool

You can now save individual elements using the newly installed “Save as Shape” tool. This will allow you to keep those wonderfully complicated design elements you have been creating for a single Pattern Template. Only NOW, you can re-use those awesome pieces in any number of Pattern Template variation by using, “My Shapes” located in your Shapes Library on Seamless Lite (when you are logged in).


 How To Use "Save as Shape"

In Seamless Lite, create a shape from multiple shapes using the preexisting shapes in the Shape Library. Select all layers that make up this custom shape. No need to group these either, when you save the shape as a single element it will automatically group it and give it the name you give your shape upon saving,

Select your shape layers and click, Save as Shape" in the layer tools area. 

Preview your shape element, give it a title, description if you want, tags and then Save Shape.

That simple! At this point, shapes cannot be shared with one another (unless you do that privately - it's your choice).

Shape Galleries: A Place to Show Off  Your Abilities!

A new gallery for all of your custom shapes, will be added to your profile page the moment you create and save your first shape with the "Save as Shape" tool.


Gallery element for your Shapes (above)

Gallery view of your shapes allows the same filter-view options as other creations on the site.

Each shape has its own information page just like the other creations on Everyone has the ability to LOVE, FAVE and SHARE this shape made by you! Additionally, you have the ability to download the .SVG file, located under the, made "with Seamless Lite" link and DELETE or EDIT the shape profile under the OPTIONS drop-down.

Shapes will also stream on to the homepage of as they are being created. So let's see what you got?!

September 08 2011


August 26 2011


August 15 2011


Plywerk - Naturally Display Your Artwork

Introducing...PLYWERK, an eco-conscious photo mounting and art panel company based in Portland Oregon. They work with professional artists, photographers, interior designers, point and shoot photographers, parents, and everyone in between!

Art pieces are a made up of your print adhered to a Plywerk Panel to create a beautifully natural piece of wall art. Gorgeous bamboo or maple are offered for the wood options.

Plywerk Anatomy 101

Bamboo & Maple Plywerk Panels

COLOURlovers has recently become a Pro Partner of PLYWERK. Why is this super notable to mention? Because you're going to get the best, most amazing deals ever when you create an account (which is free). These deals are customized to COLOURlovers Members Only under the Prodeal membership (which is also free). Pretty sweet huh?

COLOURlovers Creations On Your Wall...

You can mount anything photography, graphic design pieces, etc. I'd personally like to see some fantastic patterns from the community mounted on these!




FIRST: Create A New Account on

NEXT: Sign Up For A New Account.

Make sure you check the box under, "Prodeal Signup?" which will unlock the Pro Partners selectors where you'll be able to enter your COLOURlovers information.

Want to see COLOURlovers work on a Plywerk piece?

I'd love to see your COLOURlovers + Plywerk piece. Plywerk offers a layered PSD file for you to mask your creation. If you want to play around with it, the file link is located on the Prodeal page here (bottom - left).

Let's see what ya got!

August 06 2011


Copyrights: Are they always Black and White?

Hello COLOURlovers!

Copyrights are well known topics that continually float around the community. So I've snagged someone in the business of creating and selling vector artwork to explain in laymen's terms the crazy in's and out's of copyright (with digital art). I'd like to introduce to the blog authorship, Ray Dombroski, founder of The Vector Lab ( and a COLOURlover himself.

Enjoy the post ~ Molly Bermea / Blog Editor



Intellectual Property and Copyrights

Whenever an artist creates a new original work in the United States as well as in many other countries, it is automatically covered under copyright protection.  With the use of licensing, that artist can grant certain additional rights to others. A license can be written to give someone else the right to resell the art or create derivative works (remix or change the art), for example. These licenses are important when it comes to using stock art or clip art for your own designs.

Stock Art: Know Your Source

In a COLOURloving world where we are trying to keep our karma points high, it’s important to pay attention to what our fellow artists’ intentions were when they created the stock art we are using. The number one rule is to know your source. Whether you purchased the art from a reputable website, copied it off a friend’s CD, or scanned in some 18th century ornaments from the pages of a clip art book, it’s wise to read their usage license. If you don’t know who the artist is or the company that owns the copyright to the art, it’s best to move on and find another source.

How to Decipher a License

Most stock art websites have mind-numbing license contracts that cover permitted uses and restricted uses of their licensed art. In addition, most have lengthy standard and extended licenses. Thankfully some stock art websites are nice enough to offer a quick reference guide for their permitted/restricted uses and standard/extended license options. As an example,'s quick reference guide is located here.  Each company has a different contract, but below I’ve called out the most common provisions.

Typical Stock Art Permitted Uses - Standard License

  • - Small Print Runs
  • - Advertising and promotional products
  • - Books, Magazines, Newspapers
  • - Internet Banners, Video
  • - Promotional Prints and Posters not intended for resale
  • - Individual (or one-seat) license. Not to be installed on multiple computers.

Typical Stock Art Permitted Uses – Extended License

  • - Large print runs
  • - Use of the licensed material in products for sale
  • - Multi-seat license

Typical Stock Art Prohibited Uses (For Either Standard or Extended License)

  • - Use the licensed material as part of a trade mark or logo.
  • - Post the licensed material in any format that enables it to be downloaded or distributed.
  • - Distribute, resell, lend, or gift the licensed material.

The Big Question

So can I sell my patterns if they contain stock art covered under this sort of license? What if I purchase an extended license that covers items for resale or electronic items for resale? What if I take multiple vector files such as a floral pack of flowers and swirls and recolor them and create my own combination?

If the re-sold pattern is a vector file (such as an SVG, EPS, AI, PDF) then the answer to these questions is generally a “no.” This is because the two prohibited uses (posting & distributing the vector file) mentioned above would be violated. The reason for this is that the vector line work in these kinds of files stays intact and the stock art can easily be extracted and re-used for a different purpose by the new purchaser.

But the answer can be "yes," if the re-sold pattern is a pixel image or another flattened format such as a JPG, PNG, GIF, PSD, or TIF. If you are reselling the pattern you may be required to purchase an extended license that covers “items for resale” or “electronic items for resale.” Also check to see if the licensing contract has a pixel or DPI resolution limit on the items you are reselling.

Creative Commons

Some artists and designers offer their art under what is known as a Creative Commons License. Wikipedia has a really good breakdown of how this licensing system works – From that website I have called out the main points that are relevant to this article:

Original Licenses:

  • - Attribution: Licensees may copy, distribute, display and perform the work and make derivative works based on it only if they attribute the work to the author or licensor.
  • - Noncommercial: Licensees may copy, distribute, display, and perform the work and make derivative works based on it only for noncommercial purposes.
  • - No Derivative Works: Licensees may copy, distribute, display and perform only verbatim copies of the work, not derivative works based on it.
  • - Share-alike: Licensees may distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs the original work.

Selling Patterns made with Creative Commons Art

Back to our previous questions about reselling vector patterns that contain Creative Commons art, you are allowed to do so if the license is Attribution alone or Attribution + ShareAlike. If you are not reselling the pattern, but just giving it away, then you can also do this if it’s Attribution + Noncommercial + ShareAlike.

All Creative Commons Licenses require attribution of the original creator. So be sure to include the following:

  • - Include any copyright notices (if applicable)
  • - Cite the author's name, screen name, or user ID
  • - Cite the work's title or name (if applicable)
  • - Cite the specific CC license the work is under
  • - Mention if the work is a derivative work or adaptation

For us COLOURlovers, the world of intellectual property is not always completely black and white. But I hope it brings some understanding and discussion to the subject. Let's get out there and create!

Get Some FREE SVG Pattern Elements

Ray was kind enough to give the community some artwork to make their own patterns in different variations. Use them together, mix 'em up with the COLOURlovers shapes or your own custom shapes! Since Seamless Studio came out, he opened up a section of his site literally to help COLOURlovers who may not have access to vector software. This is the Pattern Elements Section.

These coupons are available until Aug 31, 2011:

Coupon: CL-TVL-PE (Free - Pattern Elements #01)

Coupon: CL-TVL-20 (20% off orders on

There is also an additional FREE SVG Pattern Download that has been available in the Pattern Elements section of

Direct SVG Files: You Don't Need a Vector Program!

These vector pieces are not only super cool to grab up this month (for FREE), but they come as SVG's! This means that you don't have to have any vector editing software to use them. Simply download them and import the SVG files straight in to Seamless Studio. How cool is that?!

Imported SVG shapes will go straight to your My Shapes  in the collections library in Seamless Studio.

The Vector Lab's, Pattern Elements are automatically offered at no complicated extra charge a, FULL EXTENDED LICENSE - which allows you to re-sell your patterns you create with them.

Now go create!!

Demonstration / How-To Video:

Creating Seamless Vector Patterns from TheVectorLab on Vimeo.

August 05 2011


Lover Feature: Designer, Shawna Crouch aka "sec9586"

Some of you may already know our own sec9586, some of you may have just heard of her as the designer of the Betabrand plaid pattern, "Betabrand2" in our contest, "Color a Plaid Shirt Contest by Betabrand + COLOURlovers". Either way, we're featuring her today so you can get to know her even better!

Shawna Crouch, aka "sec9586", is the owner / operator of CrouchDesign. She attended Murray State University, where she graduated with a BS in Studio Art/Graphic Design in 2009, and specializes primarily in print design. Along with her designing day job, she runs a small shop on Zazzle as CrouchDesign, where she offers freelance design services. She also has an Etsy shop,  AquaNetNightmare, set to reopen September 1st, 2011 which will offer jewelry, cards, invitations, stationary and drawings.

Shawna continually uses COLOURlovers in every which way for both work and fun. Let's take a peek at how she does it...

Using COLOURlovers in Daily Design

COLOURlovers: How do you specifically use tools to work with a client in getting a perfect color palette?

Shawna: The first thing I do is to ask them what type of look they are going for. In doing so, I sometimes ask them what their favorite restaurant or hotel is, which can sometimes help show me an example of the style they like. After a preliminary discussion of their style, I direct them to and ask them to choose three color palettes they’d like me to work with. From that point, I can design a pattern in Seamless, work on the mock-up and work with them to get a design that they were imagining.

COLOURlovers: How exactly do you get clients to send you palettes to use?

Shawna: Usually I have clients email me links to the palettes, OR I have them download the AI or ASE swatch files (to email me) - depending on which is easier for them. Everytime that I have had them do this, it has gone very smoothly. Usually only issue being that they send more than three palettes because there are just so many wonderful color combinations to choose from. Then we get to play the elimination game, which can be a daunting task in itself!

COLOURlovers: What COLOURlovers tools do you use specifically, and how?

Shawna: When I use, I almost always use COPASO to create my palettes. COPASO allows you to make palettes with custom widths, but I mainly use it for the simple fact that I can use photos to pick colors from and use a scratch area to keep all my ideas organized.

Since I've just gotten the COLOURlovers iPhone App, ColorSchemer, I'm really looking forward to utilizing it in every day work. Being able to access and creating palettes on the fly will be an amazing tool. I imagine having a client sitting right with me saying, “Hmm, I need to see some color options for our company’s new look”. All I'll have to do is pull up the app and create the palette on the spot! It will definitely speed up this part of the process.

COLOURlovers: I know you've also recently got a copy of Seamless Studio. Do you use patterns a lot in your work already? If so, how will having a copy of SS on your desktop help out?

Shawna: I do try to use patterns in my work, because they can add subtle qualities that make a design much more interesting. Using the website is awesome because I can tailor the pattern templates to my needs, and then color several very quickly. It’s also exciting to find hidden gems among other users that create amazing templates.


Seamless Studio expands the limitations of making the templates in so many new directions. I have a lot more control over what shapes are in the pattern and better yet, getting the colors exactly how I like them for the big picture.

Being able to create organic shapes makes it so much more fulfilling to use the software and website to my full potential as a designer.


Shawna's current Fav's


I find it fascinating to see how our community uses COLOURlovers for both work and play and We have so many unique freelancers and small business owners. I'll be on the lookout for more Lovers to showcase here on the blog.

So how do you use COLOURlovers?


header design credits:

August 02 2011


July 13 2011


MadPattern Educational Series: The Awesomeness of Patterns

Patterns are way easier to make than you may think, you just have to learn the tricks. That's where I come in. It seems like the pattern world is real hush hush about their techniques and the tools out there are nothing short of awful - besides the COLOURlovers Seamless Pattern Maker and my own resources at In this Educational Series I'll be helping you understand the different types of patterns. Let's first start with getting you Lovers up to speed on some of the universal laws of patterns.

Pattern Types

 Pattern examples A, B, C, D (P1, P4, P6M, P3M1)

It is mathematically proven that there are only 17 different types of pattern symmetries. this is a surprisingly nice and natural way to organize the patterns you see around you.

Do you notice the symmetries?

Do you see how pattern A is just a bunch of images in a grid while pattern B is a motif rotated around its center four times?

Notice how pattern C has a naturally formed six-sided shape in it while pattern D has three naturally formed three-sided shapes.

Each of the 17-different types of patterns has a noticeable quality to it that you can learn to recognize. It actually takes a while to get good at, but it's a pretty fun game you can play while walking around throughout your day. For more information about some of the mathematical background, I recommend you read this Wikipedia article on it called, Wallpaper Group.

Pattern by Type: P1

We are going to focus on the type of symmetry in pattern A, called P1. P1 is the mother of pattern styles because it is the easiest to understand. Over the next few months, I will be continuing these educational posts to encompass all of the 17-different pattern types.

That Repeating Square - The Cell

Every pattern has a square/parallelogram that becomes the repeating part (that's the tile that you would make your desktop or website background). From here forward, this tile will be referred to as the Cell.

The biggest difference you'll notice later in this Educational Series, is that P1 has only one cell, whereas other pattern types have a smaller unit that can be reflected/copied/rotated to generate the cell. P1 has the least amount of symmetry, which means that it distorts your original art the least. This makes it ideal for showing off your artwork clearly within a pattern repeat. It'll be good to note here that the COLOURlovers seamless patterns are a P1, using the Cell for pattern repeats as seen in the Seamless Studio shot (above).

Getting to Know P1: Donut World

P1 is a donut!

Situation: Imagine you're standing on top of a delicious gigantic frosted donut. You hear there are sprinkles on the other side and decide to walk around (this donut has gravity, so you wont fall off). Once you've gotten to the sprinkles you keep walking and you end up back where you started at frosting, yay! Weird though, to be stuck on this giant donut, it seems like as far as we walk in that direction, we will keep just seeing frosting, then sprinkles, then frosting again, etc. We're trapped!

Here's yet another situation you can walk yourself through: You're standing on a vanilla frosted donut. Your buddy told you that the other half of the donut is chocolate glazed. Cool, lets go investigate. You walk around the top part of the donut and sure enough you find the chocolate frosting. Ok, so we head back around the donut, and now we are back at the vanilla side again. If we keep walking, we will continuously see vanilla, chocolate, vanilla, etc...

Ok, but what is the point? The point is that we have experienced a space that has this funny quality that no matter how far you walk in any direction, you'll just keep seeing the same things over and over. Not a terrible situation considering we’re on a donut. The world of your donut, is the world of P1, and actually, when you look at normal p1 patterns printed out, what you're really looking at is your donut world unfolded onto a plane.

donut world unfolded onto a plane

Notice if you're standing on the chocolate glazed area and you walk vertically, you will pass into the vanilla frosted section, and then the chocolate section again and on and on. Same as the donut, but it looks very different, not as delicious.

The point of this exercise is to help you see that patterns are not just things you see on fabric and around the world, they are abstract spaces that have been unfolded onto a plane. So remember, when you look at patterns, you are really looking at an infinite world of wonder.

Hands-On Learning: Making Plaid (next time)

So ok, we've learned a little. Next time we will focus on understanding and creating a plaid. I'm going to show you how you can break down a pattern, and build it back up again from scratch. Stay tuned...


June 18 2011


Seamless Studio Design Tutorial: Nine West Contest Feature

With the release of Seamless Studio BETA, there have been some fantastic creations submitted. We're pretty excited to see designs become more and more intriguing with the new features this enhancement of the original seamless pattern maker allows.

An opportunity popped up for us to showcase how you can use Seamless Studio as an amazing design tool for things outside of I'll be using a real-world design contest for some Nine West totes - hosted by talenthouse.

The idea is pretty basic, which is perfect for this tutorial. We are going to apply a pattern from Seamless Studio (BETA) to the Nine West Tote Template PDF.

You will need:

  1. Latest Release of Seamless Studio (BETA)
  2. Photoshop (I'm using CS5)
  3. Nine West PDF Tote Template - Downloadable Files: 9W Tote Template (PDF)

Make sure you read the contest Guidelines - the design should reflect a theme of 'Spring Summer'.


  1. From Seamless Studio, export your pattern as a JPG or PNG.


  1. Open the exported file in Photoshop.
  2. Make it a Pattern (Edit > Define Pattern...)


Now let's apply this to the template file. Open the PDF you downloaded if it isn't open already. Here's where you can get completely technical or keep it simple. I like simple.

I chose to simply use the Wand Tool, make selections of each area I wanted different, and use the Paint Bucket to drop in my pattern or color on to a NEW LAYER for each section.

Wallah! My finished product ready to save as a JPG and upload to the contest.


Pattern size Tip

Your Seamless Studio canvas will default at 200 x 200 pixels, which allows you to upload to You have the capability of changing the size to suite your needs on a project like this.

For example, I didn't like how small the pattern was when I originally used it at the 200 x 200 size, so I enlarged my canvas to 600 x 600 - which then meant I needed to enlarge the graphic I originally laid out.

Here are three swatches on one tote to compare sizes between: 200x200, 600x600 and 1,000x1,000:

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