Steal These Basic Concepts of Design

Almost every day, I’m called upon to help a client design a piece of jewelry.  Generally the conversation goes something like this:
Client: “What beads go with this bead?”
Bead Worlder: “There are hundreds of beads that could go with that bead.  It just depends on the look you are going for…”
Client: “How many of which kind of beads do I have to buy?”
Bead Worlder: “You don’t have to buy a specific number of any bead.  Just find beads that you like together, and then build a pattern around what you have…”
Client: “I just want you to tell me what to do!”

Okay, I get it.  Designing can be stressful and overwhelming, especially if you are new.  So, here’s how I do it.  I gather a group of beads that I like together.  There are no rules at this point.  If I like them, I put them in the pile.  (Here’s a fabulous pile photo from the fabulous Nancy Linderman.)

Once I have my bead grouping, I lay the beads out in a way that feels right.  This is when I add in items like chain, leather and findings.  I do NOT follow any serious design rules.  I do, however, give a bit of attention to the following design concepts:
1) Odd numbers: I tend to group beads, dangles, etc in odd numbers.  (3, 5, 7, etc)  It just seems to look better.
2) Contrast: I like to have a bit of contrast in my pieces, either in color, texture or size.
3) Balance: I like my pieces to feel balanced.  This is a “feel” thing.  If something feels off about your piece, it’s probably a balance issue.  Try moving things around a bit and see if you can find a better balance.
Here we have a wonderful island inspired necklace by designer Nancy Linderman.  You can find examples of all three design concepts in this necklace.  It’s gorgeously designed, just like your next piece will be!

One comment on “Steal These Basic Concepts of Design
  1. freona says:

    Thank you for the instruction on how to make necklaces. My friend cannot pass a booth with jewelry in it and she usually buys, so this will perhaps curtail her buying. She is trying to buy a house and I fear she is dipping into her savings to buy all her jewelry so by making her jewelry she will have quality jewelry without depleting her savings. I especially love this necklace and regardless of what my friend does I am looking forward to making a couple myself. I have a pearl necklace you made me and it is the most beautiful necklace I have ever seen. Looking forward to a future of beading with you. Freona Downing

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