Spoonflower Design Challenge Recap: Court Sports and Welcoming Walls
Jan 18, 2024

Today, Spoonflower announced the winners of the Welcoming Walls design challenge. This challenge had such a huge diversity of entries, with some prints that make for stunning wallpaper designs. Congratulations to Lemfin Design who took first place with their Dancing Blooms pattern. It’s their first time placing first in a Spoonflower design challenge. So, way to go! Lots of other really cool designs made the top 100 for this challenge.

If you read my last design challenge recap, then you know that I had some issues with my entry for the Welcoming Walls challenge as it was not displaying. I saw a number of grayed out entries so I assume there were a number of us who fell victim to that glitch. It seems the glitch did get worked out at some point because my entry did end up garnering some favorites, and I even had a fabric swatch sale. So, that’s all good.

Moving on this week’s challenge was Court Sports. I feel like it’s been a little while since we’ve had a very specific subject matter challenge like that. I kind of like when things are nice and specific like that. For me it’s a lot easier to settle on a theme for my design. I also think something specific like that has a better chance of generating some organic sales, although my sincerest condolences to anyone who already had a tennis or pickleball design that was performing well on Spoonflower, as the marketplace will now be flooded with competition.

I decided to go with pickleball as my court sport. I know it’s having a bit of a moment, and I don’t have any pickleball themed artwork on any of the print-on-demand platforms where I sell my artwork, so I decided it couldn’t hurt to hop on the old bandwagon. I went with a bit of a retro flower power sort of design with bright colors and my own simple hand drawn style illustrations of pickleball paddles, pickleball balls and lots of bright, groovy flowers. You can see what I came up with on the pillow image above.

Well, I was far from the only designer to create a pickleball themed design for this challenge. I think it was the most popular of the court sports with lots of fun pickleball patterns followed closely by tennis and then badminton. I think those shuttlecocks were just too tempting of a graphic for a lot of designers to pass up having a go at. Sports like basketball and volleyball also were fairly well represented with a few other random sports as well and some designs that did their own collage of court sports.

I always like seeing the different creative ways designers use to depict the design theme. There were some fun animals playing sports, a few pickles playing sports, lots of patterns that featured sports-themed gear and clothing and some that found ways to turn equipment into pretty pattern repeats.

I went through just 12 pages of designs to cast my votes, which does sounds like a lot, but is, in fact, a lot less entries than we’ve seen in recent challenges. I think the very specific theme, might have kept some designers away. If drawing sporting equipment is not really your style, then this was probably a challenge you would skip. I did see a handful of designers who went with a more abstract approach to the theme. So, there’s probably always a way to make your style work with a specific theme if you take a creative approach to interpreting the challenge instructions. The good news is that not only was my entry appearing as it should, but I didn’t see any gray boxes when going through and doing my voting. So perhaps that glitch was fixed. As always, I’m blown away by the amazing talent and creativity on Spoonflower. So congratulations to all the entrants, even though a small portion will be winners of the Court Sports challenge, you’re all winners in my book!

Well, I look forward to two weeks from now, when I’ll get to see what everyone’s come up with for the Forest Biome design challenge. It might be time to figure out what I want to focus on for my entry!

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