Scissors Pattern Design

Scissors All

Finding The Scissors

The scissors design came after my Water Pistols design, so I was on the lookout for more props for children. I found these safety scissors in Wilko. Small, chunky and bright, see-through red.

Shooting The Scissors

The scissors had to look bright and see-through. Backlighting from beneath didn’t look right. So the scissors were shot with side lighting and fill-in reflector on the opposite side. My original idea was to have a design that showed the scissors in stages of opening and closing as above. So I shot all the combinations needed. Back on the computer I used a clipping path to cut out each of the seven stages from fully open to closed shown above.

Converting To Illustrator Files

I used Illustrator’s Auto Trace to convert the seven photographs into just six colours each. I then converted the six colours to different opacities of the same hue. It was then possible to use the same image using different colours beneath to colour the scissors.

Simplifying The Design

I spent at least a day trying different combinations of the scissors opening, but none of them looked as exciting as simply open and closed. Inverting the closed scissors helped with the pattern. The angle of the open scissors was used as a guide so that the crosses of the open scissors looked rather like buttoned fabric.

Colour Combinations

There are now 36 colours in my swatch library. I worked through each of the colours for the scissors combined with each of the backgrounds, totalling 1296 combinations. The scissors have a blue spot covering the hinge, so I also altered this too where it added more interest.

Coding The Files

To be able to go back to Illustrator and recreate all the images it is important to code them in a way that can be reproduced. Here my designs are all taken from design E. The first code relates to the colour of the dot on the hinge, then the colour used for the scissors and finally the colour of the background. So for instance E 33 36 31 means the dot is colour 33 – black. The 36 refers to the scissors – this is bright red. Then 31 for the background which is bright cyan blue. Rolling your mouse over the image should display its code.

Most Successful Colours

Perhaps the most appealing designs are the very simplest colour combinations. Now the scissors are varying transparencies of white it is possible to remove the background layer that would normally colour the actual scissors. Hiding this layer makes the scissors much more transparent, taking on only the colour of the background. Look out for designs coded like this; E 31 X 31.

Placing The Pattern In A Location

To give context I combined a selection of finished designs with a straight-on shot of the chair used in my design for mid century modern chairs. Adding a fake carpet and simple skirting board. For every image I altered the colour of the real chair to complement the surface patterns. For each design I also created a simple version that was just the pattern, to show how the design could be used for fabric, lampshades, and other surfaces.

Creating This Page

With so many colour combinations it would be impractical to show all of them. Here I have chosen a selection of combinations that I feel are interesting. Smaller screen sizes are designed to display less colour examples.

The Future

The pattern would be great for wallpaper but also fun for gift-wrapping and fabric too. I would love this design to have another life taken up by a manufacturer. Please contact me if you would like a high resolution file or to talk about how we could work together.