Irene Demetri has been on my radar for quite some time now. As a fellow seller on Creative Market, I was gradually introduced to her expertly crafted patterns through site features and while talking shop in the forums. We featured her work in our “10 Graphic Designers who find Beauty in the Flaws” post last month, and I wanted to get to know more about the woman behind the work and what I consider to be a humble success story. Her designs are deceptively simple and range from primitive dots to fine tuned geometric line patterns. One look at her shop reveals a wide range of authentic looking work that feels fresh, showcased with mockups that make you want to buy and use them right away. It was a pleasure Irene – thanks again!
Did you always want to be a designer? How to did you find your way to selling through online marketplaces?
I always knew I wanted to do something design-related. Initially I wanted to become an Architect, but I didn’t manage to get in Architectural School here in Athens, so I then went for Graphic Design. I loved it immediately and I got my BA followed by a MA on Visual Communication Design. That was many years ago, later, coming out of student life I started working mainly as a UI (web) Designer for quite some time both as an employee and as a freelancer.
Then about two years ago, while in the middle of a dispute with a client (which wasn’t leading anywhere really) and the economic crisis in my country (causing insecure grounds to all freelancers) I felt the need to find another way to make an income for myself and my family. After some research I thought I could try Creative Market, I liked the design aesthetics and quality of the products sold there so I believed there was a place there for me, I applied for a shop and that’s how it all started :)
Your shop largely consists of high quality feminine patterns. Can you briefly describe your creative process from concept to product release for one of your patterns? Do you regularly look to other pattern makers for inspiration?
Thanks Mike, I am so happy you think they are high quality, it is what I work hard to hopefully achieve :). I get inspiration from everything around me in my daily life, my kids, nature, TV and I obviously love browsing Pinterest, Instagram and lately Behance, which are all endless sources of inspiration!
So once I have the idea (and I do have many waiting in line to be turned into products), I work either by hand drawing the patterns first or if it is a geometric set, I’d go straight to the computer. If it is a hand drawn type of set, I’d take a few days researching and drawing in repeat until I have enough material to vectorize and turn into patterns! I then scan all my drawings, vectorize them through Adobe Illustrator, edit them and then create the number of patterns for that set.
After the core product is finished I take about a day saving all file types and instructions included in the product and then (one of my favorite parts) I create all preview and promotional images (for social media) to accompany the final product.
Are you someone who needs to continually out-do yourself or are you content with much of your work?
I know I always try to find ways to better my processes, my products, the user’s experience and the way I present them, so looking back at past products I can see an ongoing improvement. Having said that, at the time of a product release I am always happy with the results (otherwise they wouldn’t be published).
What attracts you to pattern making? Have you always appreciated this art form or did you stumble upon it later in your career?
I think subconsciously I was always drawn to patterns, there is something calming about them how they are ‘in order’ (or that’s just my OCD lol). As a kid I remember drawing patterns in my books, without even knowing the term ‘pattern’ at the time or for any particular reason. Even much later as a web designer I still loved sneaking a pattern or two on my websites whenever possible! So when the time came for me to select the type of product I wanted to produce for online markets, it just came as my first choice that it would be patterns.
About how long would you say a typical Youandigraphics design asset (including preview images) takes to complete?
If everything goes to plan with my daily working hours (being a mum means that at times I cannot work as much as I’d like), then 2-3 weeks.
What do you find to be the greatest struggle(s) for designers selling online?
The hardest thing for me was promoting my work and getting it ‘out there’ for people to see. It was an entire different aspect of being a designer selling online that I had never dealt with before. It took a lot of reading, talking to fellow designers and of course work, practice and oh, I still have a long way to go when it comes to social media :)
How do you picture most of your customers using the patterns they purchase from you? Would you say this leads you to cater to specific audiences more than others (i.e. Instagram users, print designers, etc)?
My audience/customer is definitely on my mind when I create a new product. I want to make something useful to others, that would save them time, something they need. I love when people reach out to me saying they purchased my products so I can get a glimpse of how they use them and what they liked about them. It is impossible though to know exactly who or how one uses my products, so for that reason I can’t say I am able to cater one specific niche of customers. I do find my audience to be mostly female business owners however, which is who I try to cater for in a general sense.
Do you love, hate or feel indifferent toward promoting your own work? How do you reach your audience?
It is honestly a love/hate situation! Some days it comes natural to me to engage with people and promote my products, other days it is more forced and I definitely still struggle with being consistent. My favorite platform where I believe I reach my audience the best is Pinterest, I love how images speak louder than words there compared to other means of promotion.
Is Youandigraphics your full-time job or a side project? If side project, what’s your day-time gig?
At the moment selling online resources is my full-time (dream) job! I also may take on a web design project when a good one comes along, but that would now be my side project :)
Do you listen to music when you work and if so, what are you listening to?
I actually very rarely play music when I work, I find it distracting, which I understand may sound weird to many creatives, but I prefer to work in a quiet room.