Just Fine Design & Buildings

Quick guide to the most important tools for a fashion designer

by , on
July 8, 2018

Ah, fashion. I have a soft spot for it. That is why I sat down with a friend of my which happened to be an aspiring fashion designer to discuss what are the basic tools needed to start a promising fashion career. We won’t go into the nitty gritty details or list step by step what you need to do. We will focus on the tools that you’ll definitely can’t go without.

Remember, in fashion design competition is fierce. Latest fashion trends change quicker than ever. You never really know what is going to be trendy the next season. However it is extremely satisfying to create clothes you customers will love to wear. Something that will stand out in a crowd. Clothes that make a statement.

Design tools can help you minimize mistakes, work quicker and the final result will be much more aesthetically pleasant. You’ll be able to capture and create the new ideas quicker and evolve much quicker than ever.

  1. Draping tools
  2. Dress forms – there are tons of options here. You can buy dress forms in different sizes (2, 4, 6, 8,10, 12, 16) either full or half body. You can choose to invest in a single adjustable form or go really basic and get a display dress form. The later type is the most budget friendly one and will suffice for those starting out. You can upgrade to a professional form later.
  3. Ironing – if you are just stating out an iron and an ironing board would suffice. Don’t invest too much in professional instruments yet. You will have covered the basics without spending too much on it. You can even borrow then if you are strapped for cash.
  4. Sketching
    • Analogue – you can stick with the time tried and tested sketchpad, pencil and rubber to make your sketches. Even if you use the digital touchpad for your designs or computer assisted design tools, I highly advise you to keep a small sketchpad in your handbag. Many times, great ideas strike at the most unusual of places so you definitely want to be prepared to capture the precious ideas on paper
    • Digital
  5. Sewing machine – this is a must have. Again, start small and upgrade later. Of course, you should get a durable machine, don’t get the cheapest one as those are not made for regular use and break too easily. From my research getting a Singer machine for dressmaking is a great start. You’ll get a heavy duty professional machine for making clothes plus a Serger that will make your designs look much better later.
  6. Fabrics and patters – get different types and designs of fabrics. You should already have enough knowledge to choose accordingly
  7. Pattern making tools – curves, tracing wheels, measurement tapes, tracing paper, pencils, scissors and rulers, cutting mats

Evolution of the Safety Boots

by , on
April 10, 2018

Safety boots are special type of boots made with protective features. Those features might be steel toes, electrical hazards protection, oil and/or slip-resistance, steel shank, steel or composite toes, metatarsal guards. Some jobs require additional properties like waterproofness, insulation, size zipper for snug fit and quick putting on. Some have laces, other have zippers and some are slip ons.

The vast majority of models, types and makes on the market in overwhelming. However, that was not always the case. There were times when there was no protective footwear and many injuries occurred simply due to the lack of adequate protection on the feet.

The first steel toe boots were invented at the end of the WWII in Germany. Originally meant to protect the feet of workers who used to wear either wooden clogs or leather boots at work.

The history of the safety books dates back to the early 20th century. With the boom of the industrial jobs, people needed to address the safety issues as well. It was an end of an era where simply replacing the injured worker with a new one was quicker and cheaper than introducing safety measures. Larger companies were pressed by new laws and shifted their focus on their worker’s safety. Things started to get serious. The first baby steps were taken in the right direction.

1970 – the US congress enacted the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act). There was governing body which had to ensure that those standards were enforced. One of the introduced changes required user of special protective footwear in places and job sites which pose danger to the foot.

Work boots as fashion statement

The variety of styles, types and colors is largely due to the boots having to follow the current fashion. The first adopters of steel toe footwear were the Skinheads in the 1960s. The boots were very dangerous due to the steel toe and could make serious injuries in street fights. Later the style was adopted by Punk, Metal and other subcultures as well.

Safety footwear comes in different styles, lengths and types today. While the typical work boot ranges from 6 to 9 inches in length, there are many others that are either lower or higher and are meant for specific purpose. Design has not changed too much from the early safety boots, but the manufacturing and construction process are much more advanced today as compared to the pioneers.

Communicating Your Way To Stress-Free Design Projects

by , on
March 6, 2018

Proper communication is key for any successful design project

Your talent and hard work on a design project are just half of the factors which are essential for completing it successfully. Proper communication with your customer before, during and after the process is crucial as well.

You may have created a perfect design for a website ordered by a customer but once you show it to them they can be dissatisfied with the end result. The main reason for such unpleasant situations is the lack of proper communication between you and them.

Often, designers fail to meet the expectations of their customers and end up with unhappy clients who have a product which is nothing like what they wanted. Another problem is the failure of the designer to explain how the product will help accomplish the goals of the client, and often due to complaints, the designers are forced to spend hours reworking a project and turning it into something which has nothing to do with their expertise, talent and best practices.

This is why, the following communication practices are essential if you want your design work to be appreciate and if you want both sides to be happy at the end of the project:

  1. Get everything in writing before beginning a new project

This is especially important if you want to save time, money and frustration of having to completely redo a project after you are done. Make sure that you sit down with the customer and specify the exact process, the timeline, the expected results and the shared responsibilities. This will save you from unpleasant surprises after taking up a new design project.

  1. Let the customer know how you can resolve their problems

You need to make sure that the client knows that you can not only simply do the work you are being hired for, but that you are the best person to choose for this particular job and will help them achieve their goals or resolve any problems with your professional end product.

  1. Clarify the goals and successes of the project

Get this in writing too. Write down the goals which the customer has for this project as well as how the success rate will actually be measured.

  1. Set up weekly meetings or calls

Arrange that you and the customer exchange information regarding the progress of the project at least once a week. Make sure you let them know what stage you are at and what is yet to be done on a regular basis.

  1. Stick to the project scope

Do not be tempted to wander away from what is included in the scope of the project. Instead, stay focused on doing exactly what you are being paid for. If your client comes up with additional requests outside the scope agreed upon them make sure that you let them know that this is not part of your agreement and thus cannot be expected form you if they are not willing to pay for the additional services.

  1. Set clear boundaries

Inform your client about your working hours and working days, so that they can get in touch with you if necessary only when you are working, and refrain from contacting you when you are resting or outside of the set timeframe.

Efficient communication will make your and your customer’s life much easier and the design project work much more enjoyable.

Starting a brand new design project from scratch

by , on
February 16, 2018

When you are about to start a new design project you may feel a bit daunted by the idea of all of the various project stages which you will need to go through including: the brainstorming, sketching and discussing ideas, feedback exchanging, prototyping and drafting. All of this may seem quite overwhelming when you are at the start line.

Don’t worry! Here are some tips on making this entire process less nerve-racking and to help you remain motivated and excited about your new project instead:

  1. Break down the workflow in smaller steps

This is the first thing you should do before beginning work on a new design project. Make sure that you create a proper plan and timeline which gives you sufficient time to complete each small step instead of rushing it or panicking because you don’t have time. Proper planning will allow you to relax and will help motivate you.

  1. Make sure you sketch any ideas you get

In order to enhance your creative flow, jot down and sketch any single idea you get during the brainstorming stage. This will help you assess your current creative flow and whether or not it is at optimal level at the moment.

  1. Work on the different assets to allow you to visualize the end product

Although it is all about the user experience, but for us designers the visual aesthetics are an essential element of the design project, right? So, have some fun with the colors patterns or fonts in order to visualize the end result. Don’t get too carried away though and let the visual dictate the user experience!

  1. Discuss the new project with others

Feel free to discuss the design with your colleagues, family or friends. This will help you get out of a creative slump and help improve your move and get those creative ideas flowing. This is an easy and fun way to get your project flowing in accordance to your planned timeline.

  1. Work on the problem solving features of your design

Yes working on the visual part is possibly the best part of design, but the important and main part of your design project should always be solving user experiences in the most creative way. This is why you should release your creativity and do some sketching in order to work out the perfect solution. It is exceptionally motivating to look at the progress you have made at the end of the day!

  1. Do the brainstorming in the morning and leave e-mailing for the evenings

Going through all your e-mails first thing in the morning can take up too much of your precious time and energy, so try focusing all your attention into brainstorming your design ideas instead? Fresh ideas come from fresh and rested minds, so leave the exhausting e-mail reading and replying for after work.

So, set up your plan and get out your sketchbook out now – you will find it is much easy to kick start a new design project if you follow these six simple steps.