The People’s Print is a pioneering design enterprise that aims to create and enable communities of people all over the world with a passion for designing and creating their own textiles.
The People’s Print specialise in promoting and publishing new making concepts for textiles combining traditional and digital technologies, open source, co-design, centralised print bureaux and participatory design. An example of their publications is co-director, Melanie Bowles’ book Digital Textile Design (co-authored by Ceri Isaac, Laurence King 2007), a tome in the digital design field for its step by step tutorials for generating high-end DIY prints for fashion.
The People’s Print co-directors, Melanie Bowles and Dr Emma Neuberg, came together in 2011 to combine their skills and expertise in traditional textiles practice, technical innovation, digital media and pedagogy. They run co-design print seminars and workshops for both private and public sector clients, the most recent being the V&A during the exhibition Postmodernism: Style and Subversion, 1970-1990. Clients are given the tools and skills for developing print designs and co-creating a design identity for a specific product or theme.
In the public sector, participants enter a project agreeing to group ownership of the co-created product at the outset. This means the incentive is there to create something that works for the group and represents it in a cohesive fashion. This is a powerful tool pioneered and honed by The People’s Print to offer significant social and cultural benefits to those who engage in the process. This is making for social good but in a cool, fun, real life kind of way! The group gains exclusive rights to the co-created designs and can forever develop their community’s design identity autonomously.
In the private sector, The People’s Print toolbox offers new methods for envisioning future products and co-design identities. In a world where participatory design is becoming increasingly important to consumers, addressing methods of co-design as an integral part of product development is key to brand survival. It’s also central to a brand’s sustainable development strategy. The People’s Print give brands an edge on the competition with their expertise in co-design processes and thereby enable customer bases to expand exponentially.
The recent V&A group of “postmodernism” participants, named the Born To Be Wild group, developed the first ever co-created, co-owned swatch book of digital fabric designs outside of a corporation. Each member of the group owns the rights to the digital files to print on demand whenever and wherever they wish. This swatch book pioneers a new methodology for digital textile print identity development, community generation, cultural and social identity and a springboard for entrepreneurship. Melanie and Emma are excited by this prospect in light of globalisation and the sense of community confusion that it can bring – remember the summer riots across Britain (2011) where global brands offered the only sense of cohesive community symbol? By harnessing new technologies and new working methods, the People’s Print pioneer ways to counter the negative effects of mass consumerism, fast fashion and globalisation.
The People’s Print is about investing in people’s innate creativity and giving them the confidence, vision and tools to create bespoke products for themselves and their communities. Melanie and Emma aim to promote their methodologies internationally to empower individuals whilst simultaneously harnessing the power of their social networks and communities. The People’s Print methodology offers a platform to stimulate emotionally durable design and maker’s autonomy while reducing the omnipotence and environmental destruction of fast fashion and fast culture.
Using playful methods of DIY, handmade and traditional techniques re-mixed with digital medium, The Peoples Print offers an exciting new toolbox for designing for and with the people: Ready to Share, Ready to Print, Ready to Wear!