Meet Caitlin Foster: The Dizzyingly Detailed Pattern Designer
By Hannah Watkins

The WGSN Print & Graphic team ask her a few questions, to find out more about her process, inspiration and day-to-day life as a print designer.

Apr 27, 2016

4 photos

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Caitlin Foster has been on our radar for a while, with her eye-catching tumblr jam-packed with oh-so detailed prints and patterns. Her painstakingly hand drawn designs might be minute in scale but they are big on impact.

Check out our interview below:

Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself? And your background in design?
I went to art school and afterwards moved around for a bit, working in almost every corner of the art world for about a decade. While working for various artists and galleries, I always maintained my own studio practice. I’ve been in New York for the past six years, and in that time have been inspired to start working for myself and focus my practice in the design world.

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How did you transition from the world of art and exhibiting to the realms of fashion and surface design?
Discovering Sonia Delaunay’s work was a pivotal point for me, in that I realised that art and design don’t have to be so separate from each other. Sight Unseen asked me to participate in a small project during Art Basel Miami Beach in 2014 and that was the beginning of putting my work into a design context. More projects have followed, and it started to seem like a good context for my work.

How would you describe your print style?
I create very detailed, intricate drawings that sprawl out into pattern. My prints are a combination of the clean, minimalist design and colour palette of the 1960’s, mixed with a bit of a 90s psychedelia, and a flat, contemporary futurism, whatever that is.

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What does your typical day involve?
My studio is a few blocks from my apartment, so I am shuffling back and forth between studio and home all day. Creating my drawings is a slow process, and to stay focused I like to work on several projects in tandem. When I’m making a drawing for a design project, I work in a small scale and then manipulate it in Photoshop. I have some very large drawings on the walls of my studio that I revisit throughout the day to break up the micro focus of the design process. At the end of the day I go running to clear my mind.

Who or what inspires you? And what’s your go-to place for inspiration?
A female perspective in art and design is inspiring to me, and so many truly incredible female artists have been overlooked in the history of modern and contemporary art. Some of my favourites are Gunta Stölzl and Benita Otte of the Bauhaus movement, Hilma af Klint, Sonia Delaunay, Anni Albers, Bridget Riley, Vija Celmins, Yayoi Kusama, Silvia Bächli, and Roni Horn. I like to scour the Victoria & Albert Museum’s extensive textile and surface pattern collection, both online and in their beautiful publications.

What clients have you worked for?
I’ve worked with Urban Outfitters, REI, Sight Unseen, The Verge, Digitas LBi, and Buzzfeed, to name a few.

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How important is social media when promoting your work?
Social media is crucial! I joined Tumblr pretty early on, and by sheer luck started gathering a large following. I’ve gained some great clients who saw my work through my blog. I recently started an Instagram account just for my design work, @caitlinfosterprintshop. Social media is a great way to survey what other people are making and connect with potential clients.

What does the future look like? Do you have an upcoming projects that you can share with us?
I did some print development for a new Japanese athletic wear company that will release later this year, as well as designs for home textiles. I’m planning to exhibit at trade shows in the coming year to grow my business and establish myself more as a print studio. I’d really love to work more in high end fashion too! I’m looking forward to it all.

LIKE THIS? Check out How to design a print collection here.

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Meet Caitlin Foster: The Dizzyingly Detailed Pattern Designer

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