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Textile designer: Job description

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Textile designers create two-dimensional designs that can be used, often as a repeat design, in the production of knit, weave and printed fabrics or textile products.

Working in both industrial and non-industrial locations, they often specialise, or work in a specialist context, within the textile industry. The two major areas of textiles are:

  • interiors (upholstery, soft furnishings and carpets);
  • fabrics for clothing (fashion or specialist, e.g. fire-proof).

Many textile designers are self-employed, while others work as part of a design team.

Typical work activities

Day-to-day respnsibilities may include:

  • liaising with clients and technical, marketing and buying staff to plan and develop designs;
  • accurately interpreting and representing clients' ideas;
  • producing sketches, designs and samples for presentation to customers;
  • making up sets of sample designs;
  • working out design formulae for a group of samples;
  • assessing and approving completed items and production standards;
  • working independently, if self-employed, or liaising closely with colleagues as part of a small team;
  • using specialist software and computer-aided design (CAD) programs to develop a range of designs;
  • experimenting with colour, fabric and texture;
  • maintaining up-to-date knowledge of new design and production techniques and textile technology;
  • developing new design concepts;
  • ensuring that projects are completed on time;
  • visiting sites and other sources of ideas for designs;
  • sourcing fabrics and other materials at trade fairs, markets and antique shops;
  • attending trade shows, as a delegate or as an exhibitor - this may involve representing the company with a display or stand, or appraising the work of competitors;
  • keeping up to date and spotting fashion trends in fabric design by reading forecasts in trade magazines and using internet resources;
  • developing a network of business contacts;
  • if self-employed, managing marketing and public relations, finances and business administration and maintaining websites.

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Written by Gemma Halder, AGCAS
June 2015

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