We had the chance to talk with Victoria Pater, the designer behind Mid Mod Pin. During the day, Victoria designs ‘brands, experiences, and digital products’ in her hometown of Chicago, and by night she is busy creating these high-quality, hand-crafted mid-century themed enamel pins. The pins range from extraordinarily detailed desert modern homes to kitschy retro cocktails, vintage Airstream trailers, and much more. Mid Mod Pins offer the perfect way to display your love of all things mid-century and are likely to fill your modernist heart with delight.
Tell us a little bit about your company and how you got into making mid-century inspired pins.
Mid Mod Pin is a side hustle and creative outlet for me. By day I design software, so I started creating pins as a way to test one of our commerce products. My formal education is in graphic design, so naturally, I’m interested in all things that came out of the Bauhaus movement. Midcentury modern is just good design, so although some of my pins have a modern twist, I try to stick to those traditional design principles.
Explain the creative process. Where do you find design inspiration, and how are the pins manufactured?
I find a lot of inspiration in historical photos or seeing neat homes or architecturally significant buildings in person. My favorite part of the design process is the research phase — so if anything, I have too many sketches, pin boards, and ideas and it takes a lot (of coffee) for me to sit down in front of my computer and put those concepts into Adobe Illustrator. When I do sit down to vectorize my drawings, I often import a hand-drawn sketch, outline all shapes and start filling everything in with colors. I try to keep the designs simple, since translating a 3D object into a flat, 1″ illustration is not always easy. I have a lot of Illustrator files that are half-baked.
Some concepts just don’t turn out to make great pins, but I find inspirations in travel, architecture, educational adventures, and all things tropical and tiki! Once my illustrations are final — meaning every shape is outlined by a metal finish, and the enamel colors are specified in Pantone, I send the files to a manufacturing company based out of Florida. They provide a proof that looks more like the finished pin will look. Once I sign off, I wait about three weeks for the real-deal pins to be shipped. No matter how many pins I create, it’s always a very exciting day to get that package full of tiny goodies.
What are some of your best sellers?
Since we launched, we’ve sold the most of the Tiki Time™ and Piña Colada pins. I do ship more Eames House pins overseas than any other pin — I just think the Case Study House Program and Ray & Charles fans span wide and far. It’s also a pretty abstract pin, so it’s easy to wear on anything, but only the true architecture nerds may pick up on its cool-factor. And then most recently we released the Parker pin because we’re just as into breeze blocks and Palm Springs as everyone else is right now. It’s only been out for about a month and yet it’s catching up to the other top sellers.
What do you love about Mid Century Modern Design?
The mid-century modern design is refined and intentional. It’s not always that “less is more” but that simple, efficient, thoughtful and functional is better than decorated junk. I think sometimes people think of midcentury design as expensive and elitist (because some vintage pieces are today), but the design movement became popular after World War II because of the abundance of new materials created for use during the war. Because of this, midcentury modern furniture and homes were mass produced and accessible to the masses. Who isn’t a fan of quality design that’s available to all?
Thank you Victoria, for taking the time to talk with us. We can’t wait to see which modern icons you choose to miniaturize next!
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