Edsel2084 1:12pm, 3 September 2011
I am having trouble understanding the nuances of "ditsy print."
From their definition:
"This is a contest for ditsy prints, or small-scale scatter prints that are popular on clothing."
I get the small scale.
I sort of get scatter (items floating on a background, not connected?).
Wikipedia has no entry for the term.
The word ditsy in plain English means disorganized or spacey.
The only examples I am seeing on the internet say "ditsy flower print."

So, does ditsy mean that objects must be in multiple orientations, rather than in orderly rows (ala a cat toss design) or does it mean the theme must be novelty, or that there must be a whimsical element?
Or am I totally off track?
sef_lopod 7 years ago
I'm sure it primarily means multiple orientations. What I'm less sure of is whether any symmetry is permitted at all (beyond the basic lattice repeat). I'm also not sure that the items have to be absolutely separated from each other (ie no touching or overlapping at all and on a completely plain background).
GrannyNan2 7 years ago
I thought the main idea was SMALL no matter the layout or design.

I could be wrong.

But most of my search revealed tiny tiny prints of all sorts.
ill-fated smash [deleted] 7 years ago
This is just my slightly educated opinion, but Ditsy Prints to me represent small scale scattered multi-directional motifs, typically florals but wouldn't have to be (I have a quilting weight top made of fabric with tiny stars scattered all over it). I think of it as old fashioned quilting or flour sack fabrics.

As for layout, even if you scatter the motifs and make it seamless, there may still be a bit of grid like pattern that emerges if one motif stands out more than the others. Usually you can see some of the background between the motifs, i.e. they are spaced apart to some degree, but again I'm not sure if that is set in stone anywhere either.
beebumbledesigns 7 years ago
A ditsy is a small allover pattern. Can be packed, open,grid, just really refers to the small scale.For example in a collection you'd typicaly have a Main, a secondary, an allover, a ditsy, a stripe and blender, along those lines. Kind of like a calico.
Google ditsy prints and look for image search instead of web, comes up with some good examples for reference.
candyajoyce 7 years ago
I had the same confusion but after doing a little searching have concluded that its just a small scale repeat, mostly floral available commercially but could be anything.

It confounds me that Spoonflower contests will have such a broad range, a little while ago one of their contest seemed so defined ("civil rights toile") and then the "ditsy print" brief is so wide. I kinda like it!

Edsel2084 7 years ago
The contest themes vary to allow for the widest variety of participants, or so it seems.
The crayon napkin could not be done by computer graphics.
The restricted palette designs require at least some level of computer tinkering, if they are not done electronically from scratch.
The children's art could only be entered by children.

This one will be very easy to enter and very difficult to vote for because the field will be so wide open. A narrower theme such as fireworks provides its own criteria for voting. Does it look like or evoke the feeling of fireworks or not?

Birds, likewise, will be easier to vote for because you have the criteria of color use and similarity of subject matter.

Ditsy is wide open--any color, subject, art style and techniques.
The entries won't be anything alike except for scale.

I too like the variety of themes. It includes everybody at some time (though not all at the same time), and excludes everybody at least once. Gives everyone at least one chance some week.
Joan McLemore 7 years ago
In some ways it will be a harder contest too...........
It might be somewhat difficult to stand out from the crowd. So I wonder what kind of creative solutions there will be toward creating unique designs.
Edsel2084 7 years ago
Harder to calculate a strategy to win, yes.
That, of course, assumes that strategies actually can be created to win.
I am not convinced they can. If they could, you would not have one winner. You would have 60 winners in every contest (which you do, but not vote-wise. You only get one #1 or at best a tie).

But yes, I know what you mean.
Now that I have a definition for ditsy I am stumped.
You want something dramatic and creative, and attention-provoking.
But should it be bright or dark, realistic, or abstract...
I think I will look through my design archive and pick something in small scale that I really, really like, rather than make something from scratch. If it is a favorite of mine maybe others will like it too.
sef_lopod 7 years ago
That plan will work best for people who are closest to normal - ie whose tastes match the modal average. But it's not a bad plan, nevertheless.
GrannyNan2 7 years ago
My friend that is into fabrics alot says tiny print is the main criteria.
paragonstudios Posted 7 years ago. Edited by paragonstudios (member) 7 years ago
Its being shown in the swatch size so the detail can be seen so I'd say they should both be quite small prints though scattered prints can come in any size just not so large for this contest. Bee has the right idea I do google searches of images if I'm not sure of what their asking for, it gives you mostly a good idea of what's wanted
Sloan 1974 7 years ago
This is a really good book - page 51 has some examples of "ditsies"

The author describes them in a not so flattering way - calls them the bread and butter of the twentieth century textile industry because they were staples, not necessarily stylish. The examples shown remind me of little calico prints and that sort of thing. I am guessing Spoonflower wants us to come up with ditsies that ARE stylish :)
Edsel2084 7 years ago
Same could be said for plaid, stripes, and dots.
Though I am not sure that describing something as the bread and butter of the industry is disparaging.
Sounds kind of positive: it is a genre that sells.
sef_lopod 7 years ago
"This is a really good book"

It's much cheaper in the US than the UK.

People's ideas of "stylish" are going to differ markedly! However, the being a very small scale repeat is obviously important and the multiple orientations scattered part is almost certainly also important - given that the ability to cut the patterned cloth in any direction might well be part of why it's a staple of the industry.
ill-fated smash [deleted] 7 years ago
Oh, yes that book is a great resource! I used several scans from an older edition that book as examples when I was TA for a textiles class. It has great classifications for textile designs / repeats / layouts, etc. Thanks for that link, one day I might buy it (I'd only had access to university library copy before).
sef_lopod Posted 7 years ago. Edited by sef_lopod (member) 7 years ago
Kim has posted a clarification / explanation on the Spoonflower blog of what they intended by the term ditsy.
ArtbyJaneWalker 7 years ago
Um, my doesn't qualify, then. It is geometric.
sef_lopod 7 years ago
Too geometric?
GrannyNan2 7 years ago
Ok I seem to see a pattern to the fabric swatch in the blog. Yet it says "no definable pattern". I would think it very hard to put something in repeat and it not create a pattern of some sort.

I think very tiny is still the main criteria. The ability to match on all sides for seams. With minimal alignment aggravations. Is something I was told it has to. But that can be achieved with tiny print of almost any pattern.
sef_lopod 7 years ago
Yes, it is alignment issues that anything noticeably geometric would be likely to cause.
ArtbyJaneWalker 7 years ago
This is what I submitted...

Greyhound Geometrics Ditsy Blue ©2010 by Jane Walker
Edsel2084 Posted 7 years ago. Edited by Edsel2084 (member) 7 years ago

So this would or would not qualify as ditsy?
It has the tiny scale, and it is floral (though I understand that is not a requirement) but it is in defined rows.

I am still not catching on to how one makes a link on this forum.
I can not post the image to flickr because the repeat only exists in Spoonflower. I don't know how to capture the repeat from them and there is no repeat on my system.
sef_lopod Posted 7 years ago. Edited by sef_lopod (member) 7 years ago
{ In reply to Jane }

I would guess that was somewhat on the borderline (ie some voters might well rule it out). It's clearly not as easy with that one to fake things lining up on seams where the fabric runs at different angles as it would be for a messy floral. However, It's not as bad as diagonal stripes (which are the thing worst affected by the Spoonflower image squashing bug).
sef_lopod Posted 7 years ago. Edited by sef_lopod (member) 7 years ago
You can't use bulletin board style tags here. It's fairly strictly HTML. You also have to grab the correct image address (from behind the scenes) if you want to embed an img tag and not just get the URL for the whole page (for linking back to Spoonflower with an "a" tag).

With its double mirrors, that one looks far too rigid to me for it to work as a "ditsy" print. But other people's views of the important factors of the definition may differ.
Edsel2084 7 years ago
Maybe Kim will pop in and tell us a nay or yay on whether the free floating on a background element is a requirement.

And thanks sef, for posting the image.
Now, could you send me a message explaining the code that did it, where you got that, and the format it went in.
I can keep the instructions in my electronic notepad so I could do it myself next time.
sef_lopod 7 years ago
This is the code deliberately disabled by replacing the angle brackets (less than and greater than signs) with bulletin board ones:

[img src="http://www.spoonflower.com/design_thumbnails/0074/6307/rrScanImage020a_shop_preview.jpg" /]

You have to examine the source code for the page to find the specific name of the main image view but it will always look something like the above - with the design number broken into 2 directory style segments and some sort of "preview" in the name, which is otherwise based on the name of the file you uploaded but has a random number of letter 'r's at the start.
ceruleanverde PRO 7 years ago
I'd say that design doesn't meet the criteria for ditsy, based on what I have seen looking elsewhere, although it is very beautiful
Scrummy Things PRO 7 years ago
wow, that really is amazing ~ totally stunning. But not ditsy.
Imagine throwing confetti in the air and seeing where it lands. Ditsy confetti. Little and random. Scattered :)
ArtbyJaneWalker 7 years ago
I just spent several hours reworking mine to be Ditsy! Well it is supposed to be a holiday, so I can play if I want to, LOL! I don't have it ready to upload yet.
sef_lopod Posted 7 years ago. Edited by sef_lopod (member) 7 years ago
I only read an hour ago that it's something called Labour Day in the US. That's a somewhat misnamed holiday! Perfect for labouring on a labour-of-love piece of artwork though.
raspy pencil [deleted] 7 years ago
Liberty has a huge catalogue of ditsy prints and you can find dozens on the internet for better representational examples or inspiration. www.flickr.com/photos/sophie4sophie/2757661766/
ArtbyJaneWalker 7 years ago
Ok, this is my final version:

Greyhound Geometrics Ditsy Blue ©2011 by Jane Walker
sef_lopod 7 years ago
Odd that you chose to keep the threesome of dogs together all the time instead of scattering those individually. I think it would take someone with more experience of using these messed up things in real applications to know whether that's adequate scattering now since, naturally, I prefer the well ordered version.
candyajoyce 7 years ago
Spoonflower have now clarified the term 'Ditsy' on their blog.
ArtbyJaneWalker 7 years ago
Sef --I simply hate the way the dogs look separate, LOL! I also like the early version better, actually, but it does not meet the criteria for the contest while I believe this one does. Anyway, I have to get back to work today.
raspy pencil [deleted] 7 years ago
Jane, perhaps the dogs don't lend themselves well to theme as they don't allow the pattern to be as free flowing and chaotic like ditsy prints tend to be, however dog paw prints may give you that freedom whilst still remaining with your greyhound theme? I do however like your design above I just think there is too much structure.
ArtbyJaneWalker 7 years ago
My only reason for entering was that I thought I had a design that already worked. When I realized it didn't meet the definition, I played with it a bit. I don't have time to play anymore, but thanks for the suggestion anyway!
GrannyNan2 7 years ago
I think it kinda depends on if you look at the three dogs as 3 or as one design element together. In small enough repeat it would be easy to align for sewing.
sef_lopod Posted 7 years ago. Edited by sef_lopod (member) 7 years ago
I've realised that I do already have an adequate example uploaded to Spoonflower of what I meant by "whether any symmetry is permitted at all". Ignoring the underlying pentagonal hints, I'd say the beans looked fairly well scattered - just in a symmetry type that people aren't as good at seeing as they are some others. (It's more obvious in the doubled rotated form where the mirror axes line up with the horizontal and vertical instead of being diagonal.)
Would this work? Or does it need to be more scattered and unorganized?
sef_lopod 7 years ago
In my opinion that's not scattered enough. A lot of that is because of the linking lines (just as with my one!). Without the lines and with something in each of the larger gaps, you might get away with it.
protective desire [deleted] 7 years ago
Just my two cents, but when I think of a ditsy print, I think of it as being three or more colors (although they can be shades of the same color) on a base color and irregularly scattered.

I've been sewing garments for 30+ years, and my mom let me choose all the fabrics for the clothes she made for me before that. Ditsy prints were a huge part of my wardrobe for decades before i got old and gravitated more towards "classic" solids. So, in my earlier incarnation, Sef, I wouldn't have called your design a ditsy, but if you changed some of the coffee bean flowers to tonal variations, it would have qualified as a classic ditsy.

And Maya Bella, you've got just the colors and the scale for what I would have considered a classic ditsy, but you're right -- it's a little too regular. Can you mix it up a bit?

Of course, what I'm articulating is certainly not in the Spoonflower rulebook, which doesn't offer many rules at all. And I'm certainly not the last word on what voters will like -- none of my favorites have won any of the recent contests, although a number have made the top ten.

Just my two cents and a middle-aged woman's sense of what she immediately thought when Spoonflower announced there would be a contest for ditsy prints.
sef_lopod Posted 7 years ago. Edited by sef_lopod (member) 7 years ago
"tonal variations"

Oh I wasn't implying that that design would currently qualify nor saying anything about colours at all - merely about the degree of scattering of elements despite adhering quite rigidly to an advanced symmetry group/lattice (and then about the importance of not having linking lines which gave the game away).
protective desire [deleted] 7 years ago
Sorry Sef, I didn't mean to imply that I thought you intended anything of the sort. I just thought your design was an excellent example of something I would have thought of as a classic ditsy if it had more color variation.

And I do think of color variation as one of the qualities of a ditsy, although, as I said, that's not how Spoonflower defined it. I just used the example of tonal variations because one of my favorite ditsy prints of all time was a dress in which the print design (which was essentially quite simple like yours) was done in shades of blue. It was simple, effective, and I adored it.

I just wanted to add this option because I thought defining a ditsy as "three or more colors on a base color" might lead people to think I didn't consider a tonal palette appropriate for what I consider a classic ditsy.
sef_lopod Posted 7 years ago. Edited by sef_lopod (member) 7 years ago
Another counter-example, ie of non-ditsyness, for a different reason would be this one. While it could be used quite happily in different directions than its current notional down direction (see other thread about fabric nap and multidirectionality), because of its regularity it would be really obvious if you mixed up more than one orientation when sewing pieces of it together.

And that's where your example would also come a-cropper at the moment, Mayabella. Those scallop shapes are very uni-directional and the wire lines make this blatant. Removing the lines and filling in the gaps a bit might disguise it enough but, paradoxically, it would probably be better to have started off with more symmetry to favour more than one direction (or none of course!). I think it's really interesting the way the brain responds to these things.

A ditsy print should be able to cope with being made into a flared skirt without the angled seams being obvious or being made into a shirt without having to worry about matching up the design on the sides, pocket piece or collar etc.
protective desire [deleted] 7 years ago
Good points, Sef!
Joan McLemore 7 years ago
Mayabella, it is a great design, but for this design, it has the appearance of a vertical stripe to me. If you see the pink dot, it forms a vertical striped effect.

I do love the design alot though.
sef_lopod 7 years ago
I've finally wasted(?) the necessary time today to generate a proper example of how a very orderly design can still manage to look relatively ditsy. The little localised sections which superficially look nice and orderly (square grid and triangular grid but with the elements at subtly different angles) don't persist across the entire repeat.
nezumiworld PRO Posted 7 years ago. Edited by nezumiworld (member) 7 years ago
I do like a bit of order also, so to keep my Mini Cogs pattern with some feeling of control, I kept the cogs in the same direction but they are also randomly scattered if that makes sense : ) I think it is still classed as a "ditsy print." even with a little order
sef_lopod 7 years ago
I suppose it depends on whether the directionality of the cogs affects people's ability to use pieces of it in different directions. Cogs was one of the semi-subversive ideas I was considering too! :-D

It will be interesting to see which way the majority of voters jump though - ie whether they care about size, randomness, specific colours or particular elements (eg kawaii flowers or something!) being a certain way.
protective desire [deleted] 7 years ago
Sef and nezumiworld,

I think those are both wonderful examples of ditzyness!

Order within disorder is a wonderful thing.

As for what voters will like, well, I'm just one. The rest, who knows? But I like!
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