Genue Inc.
February 8, 2017

Playful Polka Dots


As designers, it can be so easy to get carried away in the process of our designs. It’s always fun to sketch detailed drawings, or put together complex, multi-hued color palettes. While this way of working can yield beautiful results, it’s important not to get lost and forget to go back to the basics once in a while. After all, while the flashier prints are what draw the customer in, simple designs are what they usually end up buying. So it’s important you make sure you include plenty of simple, yet creative designs in your collections.


For example, even though dots and stripes may seem a bit boring, they are a crucial to have in your collection. At the last trade show I went to, buyers asked to see those more than anything else! Think of it as a fun challenge- how can you do a creative, fresh take on a basic print?


Polka dots are a really fun classic to try this with. Simple, versatile, and you can really play around with what can be considered a “dot.” Polka dots are timeless- they have a bit of a retro feel, yet have always remained current and relevant. In fact, fresh takes on the polka dot have been very trendy in fashion right now. So what can you do to give this trend a try and put your own spin on it?

Of course, the most obvious way to make any design truly and uniquely “you” is through your personal design “hand” or “signature.” Everyone has a drawing or design style that is completely their own. A true test of solidifying your style is to create a simple design like a dot, and still be able to let your hand shine through. Is your work more bold and graphic? Or perhaps it is very sketchy, with beautiful lines? Maybe you like to use mixed media, such as cut paper or photographs. Bring what’s special about your process into the design and it will be #genuinelyyou!


Another thing to try is placement of your motifs. Placement is a subtle, but clever way to change up what would otherwise be a run-of-the-mill design. Think about the classic polka dot- it’s usually seen in a perfectly spaced half-drop. How would the design change if the repeat were more uneven? What if the dots are placed very far apart, or very close together- or even both within the same repeat? Mix up your spacing, and this minor tweak could change the whole look of your design.

Scale is another effective way of shaking up an old standby. Put a new spin on the dot by playing with the size. A big, bold circle looks drastically different from a tiny, delicate dot. Think about what the print will be used for- if it’s clothing, a very large-scale, bold polka dot in contrasting colors could look really cool! For bed linens, a very small dot in a neutral, harmonious color way could create a beautiful surface.

Need to expand your polka dot portfolio? Give some of these tricks a try in Genue ! Happy designing!

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