Making It Work As A Designer: My Essential Tools
I am a picky sort of person. Every morning, I have to have my exact brand of tea, in a certain mug, made in a certain order with exactly so much milk and honey or my whole day is off. Its no surprise then that I only use one particular brand of crochet hook, one specific kind of pen and there is a certain notebook that I can't live without.
While there are many areas in which I am a bit of a miser, when it comes to tools to do my job, I feel that investing in the right things is very much worth it. I pay for Adobe Creative Cloud (Student and Teacher edition, because I have school-aged kids) and Office 365. These aren't necessary and there are free versions like Inkscape available, but as adobe is industry standard and what I know...
Tools for Planning:
My work time is planned out using my Get to Work Book. Its layout of daily lists and goals is perfect for me, as I have so many pieces of work to juggle - the monthly and weekly views help me do that.
My content and social media strategies are planned using my BlogtacularxLollipop Life Planner - which has been so helpful in pulling together various content strategies over the last few months.
Tools for Design Ideas:
Like much of the world, I use Pinterest as a great source of inspiration for design ideas. While I tend to steer clear of it for initial design ideas, it can be helpful to see what else is out there and a great place to store initial thoughts on stitch patterns and ideas.
All of my sketching is done via Adobe Illustrator. I work over a vector croquis for garments and just free hand for accessories. I simply don't free hand sketch on paper as I find I am able to get much better and more useable results by creating a digital sketch. This has the added benefit of being usable for final design submission.
Tools for Designing:
My process for designing is Sketch->swatch->layout the pattern numbers in a spreadsheet->write initial pattern->make the sample->revise the pattern->finalise design schematic->chart stitch patterns. I use Excel for my spreadsheets and Word for pattern writing, but also have used Open Office with no discernible difference in usability. I simply had to get Office for Blogtacular work and use that as all of my templates are in it now.
I am a fan of Adobe and have a subscription to Creative Cloud for my work. I use Illustrator for charting and schematics, Lightroom for photo editing and InDesign for laying out all of my patterns.
I use a range of measurements charts, but generally I rely on the Craft Yarn Council guides for accurate sizing. The Tot Toppers guide is great for hat design.
My favourite garment design book is Knitting from the Top by Barbara Walker.
Tools for Charting:
As I said above, I use Adobe Illustrator for making charts. I have the Stitchin' Crochet Pro font that I then convert into vectors. I then use a hand drawn brush to convert the shapes into the signature style of the Crochet Project.
I have a Wacom Bamboo tablet that helps me when charting complicated stitch patterns as I am able to get more accuracy with the pen than the brush.
Tools for Photography:
My essential kit list is here and hasn't changed much in the last year or so. The only difference is that I am finding I need a wider angle lens more and more and am currently saving up for a 24-70mm L series lens.