Surface Designer Spotlight: Lau Hernandez

Join me in welcoming our first surface designer spotlight participant for Sketch Design Repeat, Lau Hernández!

I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know Lau over the past few years. She’s always been an active participant in our Facebook group and I finally had the opportunity to meet her in person this year at Surtex. It’s been an absolute pleasure to watch her career blossom and I’m excited to share her story with you today!

Please Introduce Yourself

Hi, I’m Lau Hernández and I’m from Dominican Republic. I studied Fashion Design at New School on NYC and worked for 10 years in the apparel Industry for brands such as Under Armour and Wacoal. In 2017, I switched over to Surface Pattern Design because I wanted to start living a creative life.

Tell us a little bit about your design journey.

In 2015 after my second child was born, I suffered postpartum depression. I hated my job and dreamt about a creative career. So I started 2 separate projects, 1 designing kids parties printables and the other where I helped fashion designers with their digital needs. In both projects, I knew I needed to learn Adobe Illustrator, which I hated from fashion school.

So I started searching online for courses that taught Adobe Illustrator for fashion. I found Skillshare and took a couple of pattern design classes by Bonnie Christine. That was in 2017 and I immediately fell in love with the surface pattern design.

At the same time I didn’t wanted to continue at my job and started to craft my pattern career so I could quit my day job. I worked on my designs from 2:00-6:00 AM because I needed to have my portfolio and website ready to start contacting companies.

In 2018, I started researching the business side of surface pattern design industry and took Bonnie’s Immersion Course. Then I discovered Shannon here at Sketch Design Repeat and took all of her Skillshare classes.

So for the past 2 years, I’ve been working full time as a surface pattern designer and in July 2019, I started a platform called The Happy Pattern where I share what I have learned about the surface pattern design world in Spanish.

Buckfeet Shoes designed by Lau Hernandez |
What did you struggle with most as a new designer?

My biggest struggle has been to continually contact companies because I have to admit that I contact companies just once. But thanks to Shannon’s advice on regularly contacting companies, I’ve gotten a little better at following up.

I also struggle with the fact that companies either don’t answer me back, answer saying my style doesn’t fit their needs, or say they will file my designs for when they need new designers.

What advice about the surface design industry has been most helpful to you in your career so far?

The fact that there is room for everyone. Because in the past I have tried different types of businesses but quit because many people were doing the same thing. In this case, with my pattern career, I know I have something to offer and someone will in fact like my designs.

What has been your favorite client collaboration to date and how did you find them?

Probably my first collaboration with a local company in my country, Medias Cardinal, who manufactures socks. I connected with them by networking with friends.

I was at a friend’s gathering and someone there fell in love with the Bucketfeet shoes I had designed (and was wearing at the time). So they mentioned they had a friend that works for a sock company and thought I’d be a great artist to collaborate with. So he called her on the phone and introduced us.

The same week, I sent them my portfolio and 3 months later, they contacted me with a design project for a collection of socks.

Medinas Cardinal Socks designed by Lau Herandez |
When you look back at your design journey so far, what are you most proud of?

That I have decided to continue trying no matter what. When I’m not having positive results I feel like I should give up, but then I remember all the times I’ve given up in the past so I make the decision to keep trying.

Where do you see yourself in your career three years from now?

I want to exhibit at Surtex and license my patterns with companies in different niches such as fabric, stationery, party goods, and home decor.

What advice would you give to surface designers who are struggling?

If something isn’t working, take some time to stop what you are doing and analyze what’s working and what’s not.

Take time to rest, but do not give up.

Look inside yourself and around you and decide what it is that you want to achieve and start planning the steps you should follow in order to accomplish that. You have something amazing and unique to offer the world.

Where can we find you?



Did you enjoy reading Lau’s story? She has such a positive outlook on the industry, doesn’t she? And she’s absolutely right! As I often say, your art DESERVES to be seen!

And if you’d like to be featured on the SDR blog in the future, you can submit your story right here.

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