Looking at Heleen Van Buul’s geometric patterns, it may come as no surprise that she originally studied to be an industrial engineer. But she says these patterns are often more inspired by nature than anything else – yes there’s symmetry, but there are also translucent overlays and the subtle variations of multiples.
Another string to her bow is the collection of cute prints she designed for kids – monkeys in spacesuits, foxes, whales and lions all make an appearance. Her style is clean and vector-based, with a beautiful palette – there are lots of soft, clear brights like watermelon, powder blue, mint and old gold.
While completing her degree in industrial design at the University of Delft, Heleen discovered that she had a real affinity for 2D work. She decided to continue her studies and got into graphic design, graduating in 2009. Now, she combines her work as a freelance graphic designer with with her pattern designing.
“I had been a graphic designer for a while, mostly doing corporate identities and advertisements. I frequently used patterns as part of my designs and loved making them. Then one day I stumbled upon Spoonflower and just loved the idea of making patterns for fabric. I started by designing a few geometric patterns for some pillow covers in my home.” Now, she’s hooked.
Sometimes just doodling is the spark for a new design, and she often just uses pencil and paper to form her initial ideas. But time is always short, and so Heleen tries to be quite disciplined when designing; “To keep track of the amount of time spend on the design I use an hourglass and give myself a certain amount of time for sketching, before getting to work on the computer.”
Her creative haven and workspace is a small room of her home, filled with all the things that inspire her – plants, seashells and a LOT of drawing and painting tools. Sounds like the perfect place.