Careers in Printed Textile Designing

Last Updated on 15/01/2021

Careers in Printed Textile Designing

Jahanara Akter
Fashion Designer & Ex-Lecturer,
Dept. of Fashion Design
KCC Women’s College (Affiliated by Khulna University)
Khulna, Bangladesh


Printed Textile Designing
Textile design generally refers to the process of creating designs for knitted, woven, printed and mixed-media fabrics. A textile designer creates designs, patterns for fabric and develops fabric structures. The textile designer needs to be able to understand how to produce a design for a particular fabric type. Textile designers have great scope in printed textile design. Now I’m discussing about careers of textile designers in printed textile design.

Printed Textile Designing
Fig: Printed textile designing

There probably isn’t such a thing as a typical professional printed textile designer. Practitioners working today may be employed by a single company, may freelance or (increasingly commonly) have a portfolio career that involves working in a range of different ways, oft en simultaneously. Some print and pattern jobs may be done by (say) graphic designers or illustrators, whilst printed textiles designers may find themselves designing for a whole range of products other than fabric-based ones.

Practitioners essentially are creating commercially viable print or pattern to fulfil the need of a particular client requirement. It is important to understand that the work most printed textile designers do is generally a very small part of a complex production process that involves a large number of other people. It is also necessary to know that how a design looks may change significantly in the time between the designer finishing it and it going into production. Designs may be re-coloured, re-scaled, have elements removed or changed or be used as inspiration by other practitioners rather than on a product.

The functions of printed textile designers
Designers answer briefs. The content of a brief may be very vague or conceptual or it may be highly detailed, but in most cases, a practitioner will be given some kind of outcome to design for, and some indication of what imagery and colour to use. The process essentially involves using this information to create print or pattern designs that meet the needs of the client. In turn, these designs are essentially a set of instructions that the client’s printer, contractor or manufacturer will use to transform a product, surface or substrate.

The role of printed textile designers
It can be helpful to think of the role of the printed textile designer as supplying a service rather than a product. As a working practitioner, you need to be able to balance a range of technical skills (putting designs into repeat, for example, to understanding how the print process will affect the way color is used) with the aesthetic decision-making needed to visually answer the brief. This service is one link in a long chain, but one that has a highly significant impact on the final product. In business terms, applying print or pattern to a product is a method of increasing its desirability. In purely functional terms, printing a design onto, say, a furnishing fabric has no effect on its performance – it won’t make the sofa cover last any longer or feel any different from one in identical fabric with no print. However, the style that the pattern creates has a major impact on the customer’s decision of what to buy and gives the manufacturer the chance to increase both the allure and the profit margin.

Areas of printed textile designing
Printed textile designers most commonly create designs for use in the following areas:

1. Home / interiors
Designs for furnishing fabrics, bedding, curtains, blinds, wallpapers, carpets, rugs or any other surface in any interior space that can have pattern applied to it. Can also include kitchenware / ceramics and similar products and may overlap with gift ware.

2. Fashion
Print and pattern for men’s, women’s or children’s garments, footwear, accessories or any other related product.

3. Giftware / stationery
Designs for wrapping paper, cards and any stationery that has pattern on it – notebook cover, files and so on.

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