Pattern is Everywhere: Q&A with Payton and Brian of Flat Vernacular

07 Jul, 2016

DODOcase picks the brains of Artists Payton and Brian from the design company Flat Vernacular! 

What is your design process at Flat Vernacular? Our design usually starts with inspiration, which comes from many places. For instance, this year we’ve been looking at geometrics, altered geometrics, printing processes, layering, and natural materials. The concepts and ideas are then discussed between the two of us. We then go our separate ways to work individually on our ideas. After we’ve both visually articulated the concepts, we meet to discuss. We’re both instinctual in our process.

Often our patterns come from small doodles in my notebooks, or from Brian’s love of exploring materials and process. Deciding what patterns make the final cut is usually easier than deciding which colors to use, which is typically the most difficult part of the process. From there, we screen print samples of the patterns in our studio, and then screen prints the final colors at our printing facility in upstate New York.

How did you get involved with DODOcase? We had been interested in extending our patterns and vision to other objects when DODOcase contacted us and suggested a collaboration. DODOcase was a great company to do this with for many reasons. It was perfect timing, and a match made in heaven. What about DODOcase made you want to do this collaboration? We had seen DODOcase at J.Crew and thought they were splendid. DODOcase holds similar beliefs about design and manufacturing, and that was vital and as company’s we have similar mission statements that fall in line with how we approach making our products. DODOcase produces in the United States and are reviving manufacturing using an old artisanal method of making something contemporary, which is right in line with Flat Vernacular’s focus and method of making. A partnership between two small companies similarly intent on manufacturing in the USA only strengthens us both, as well as other American producers. They’re a small company like us, and their product is well designed.

How did you decide on these three patterns for DODOcase? We wanted to highlight each of our particular styles. Beastly Guardians is one of our favorites; Eyelets has an interesting character, and Full Bloom Remix is our latest and greatest. Can you talk about the designs of each pattern and what you’d like people to take from each? Beastly Guardians pattern is more of a traditional pattern. One of our first ones, it now has the pleasure of being in the permanent collection at the Brooklyn Museum. The idea behind the pattern is that each of the individual beasts is the protector of the person whose home they reside in – the fierce look each animal has (minus the mild Pigeon) is one of positive protection.

Eyelets is a tongue-in-cheek pattern. From a distance, Eyelets appears to be a pattern constructed from lace. However, upon closer inspection, the viewer sees that the ‘lace’ is actually made up of individual eyes. It’s meant to be both tongue in cheek, and even a little bit creepy. The idea behind the pattern is positive, though – eyes are a common design element across many cultures. In our case, we fall in line with the idea that the more eyes in a room, the better off you are- since the eyes are our ancestors watching and protecting us. Also, the more eyes that are in one room, the less likely someone will be to steal or misbehave.

Full Bloom Remix is one of our new explorations into pattern making. It utilizes imagery from our Full Bloom pattern, but in a new way – it’s printed out of order, or “off-register.” It’s part of our recently released concept for 2013 entitled “The Layers Project.” The Layers Project pushes patternmaking to an interesting new level through exploring printing process and non-matching wallpapers. It’s meant to be joyful, colorful, and fun.

Are you going to carry your iPad in a customized FV DODOcase? Absolutely. I (Payton) am an iPad owner and as an avid reader of printed books I love that my technology will be housed in a book form. The iPad is so handy to take to meetings and to give presentations for Flat Vernacular. Also, it’s perfect for when I can’t sleep and want to watch Downton Abbey from the comfort of my bed. Is there anything else you’d like for us to know? Pattern makes Perfect! Paint is boring; Pattern is best!

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