Top 10 Tips For Successful Textile Print Designers
In my previous article titled “What Does A Textile Print Designer Do?” I described what a textile print designer did and what their responsibilities are working as part of a fashion design team.
Now that we have describes the job of the textile print designer I would like to discuss what it takes to be a successful textile print designer. The world of fashion is always changing and it is important to adapt and continue to learn your trade.
We couldn’t cover everything about the fashion textile print business in just one post! This article is part of a 5 part Fashion Textile Print Business Series. If you are considering becoming a textile print designer check out the other articles that are part of this series at the bottom of the page.
Below are some tips that will keep you on the cutting edge of the industry and make you a valuable member of the design team.
1) Researching Trends
To stay on top of trends it is important to regularly shop the market that you are designing for (i.e young menswear or swimwear, etc.). In addition to making regular shopping trips one needs to attend trade shows such as Print Source in New York City each season. Here print service companies from around the world show their latest collections to designers. Here you can get an idea of textile print trends happening in all categories. It is an excellent resource! There are also other online trend services that might be available you such as WGSN.
2) Presentation Skills
It is very common for a textile print designer to give seasonal trend presentations to their prospective design teams each season. How you present your research is just as important as what you present. You are essentially selling your ideas to your design team. You have to prove to them that you know what you are talking about and that these are the best trend ideas to move forward with and include in the line. So, do your homework and try out some different presentation styles. Depending on how you will be presenting you may want to try a video presentation, PowerPoint slide show, or a large board presentation. Don’t forget to give your customers (design team) something to walk away with. A print out of your presentation that they can take with them and refer back to is a great idea.
3) Keep Up On CAD Systems
There are many different CAD systems being used in the industry today. Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, NedGraphics, or Koledo are just a few. Even if the company you work for only uses one it is extremely important to at least have the basic knowledge of the others. You never know when that company may change systems or you may want to switch companies. Staying up on the technology will raise your value in the marketplace.
4) Knowledge of Printing Techniques
The most valued print designer knows their limitations. Having a clear understanding of printing techniques and their limitations will make you a smarter textile designer. To gain this knowledge you can attend seminars or take classes offered in the various printing techniques, dyeing and finishing. Cotton Incorporated Cotton University online courses are a great FREE resource.
5) Work Smarter Not Harder
It can take a long time to design original artwork. You don’t want to have to start from scratch with every single design. A smart designer will build their own well of textile motifs, textures, and brushes. For example, if you design a beautiful watercolor design with flowers and leaves, you should save each individual motif so that you can use this same motif in a different design. Prints are subjective. When you present your work, if the designer wants to make changes or does not want to use a particular design, you can still use the individual elements of that design to make a totally new design in less time.
6) Build Your Own Library
Trends change every season and it is useful to have resources to use to get started on your designs. There are many textile motif books available that are a great resource to add to your library. As mentioned above you can also build your own library (physical or electronic) of textures, motifs, brushes, etc. Having this resource library will help you have a starting point for your designs. It will also help you work faster!
7) Stay Connected
If you are employed as a textile print designer working for a company it is a good idea to build your contact list of print service companies that you can call upon to purchase new prints each season. People move around a lot in this industry, so keep a stack of business cards from the various print design houses, connect with them on LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. Many print studios come in from out of town, so you want to be sure you know when they will be available. You can also get on their mailing list so that you are aware when they come out with new collections of prints.
Also, get on the mailing list of print trade shows such as Print Source, so you will know about upcoming shows coming to town.
8) Build Your Own Email List
This tip is for those who have their own textile print business or who are freelancing as a textile print designer. I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay regularly connected with your customers. People move around a lot in the fashion industry. Be sure they have a way of getting in touch with you when they move! Connect with designers via LinkedIn. Ask them to follow you on Instagram. And send out a monthly newsletter informing your customers of the latest collections, trends, etc.
9) Sell, Sell, Sell!
A successful print business is one that spends as much time on sales as it does on design. Don’t wait for the designers to come to you. Schedule those cold calls every time you have a new collection of prints to show. Stay informed of your designer’s calendars and when they might be looking for prints for the next season so you won’t miss the boat.
10) Anticipate Your Customers Needs
If you offer the most amazing customer service to your customers they will come back to you over and over. As a textile print business you need to anticipate your customers needs and make it a no-brainer for them to buy from you. Make sure your prints are in production ready repeat for them. Offer color separation. Offer add-on services such as color way creation for them. Give them the file whatever form is easiest for them to download. Offer them trend research so they can make an informed decision why they should buy from you.
Fashion Textile Print Business Series
This post is part of a five part series. Check out the entire series here:
- What Does A Textile Print Designer Do?
- Top 10 Tips For A Successful Print Designer
- How To Build Your Own Textile Print Design Business
- Interview With Neil Elliott, Founder of PatternBank
- How Top Textile Print Designers Keep Coming Up With New Ideas