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 fields are:
- interiors (upholstery, soft furnishings and carpets);
- fabrics for clothing (fashion or specialist, e.g. fire-proof).
Textile designers may also work in associated industry functions, for example, designing wrapping paper, packaging, greetings cards and ceramics.
Many textile designers are self-employed, while others work as part of a design team.
Typical work activities
- liaising with clients and technical, marketing and buying staff to plan and develop designs;
- accurately interpreting and representing clients' ideas;
- producing sketches, worked-up 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 day-to-day business activities and maintaining websites.