How to become a Textile Designer

Textile designers produce ideas and designs for printed, woven or knitted textiles and many patterned surfaces.

Personal requirements of a Textile Designer

  • Enjoy artistic and creative activities
  • Good drawing and visualisation skills
  • Able to understand and use colour
  • Interested in pattern and surface decoration
  • Creative and able to translate ideas into product
  • Good communication skills
  • Good problem-solving skills

Education & Training for a Textile Designer

To become a textile designer you usually have to complete a VET qualification in textile design and development or textile arts. Skills can also be gained through a qualification in design studies, which may be applied to textiles generally. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a textile designer by studying textiles or textile design at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and visual arts are normally required. In addition, applicants are usually required to attend an interview and submit a folio of their recent work. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in textile design. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Textile Designer

Textile designers may perform the following tasks:

  • design and produce original woven, knitted or printed fabrics
  • design fashion fabrics for clothing, including jackets, shoes, socks, jeans, hats, bags and lingerie
  • design fabrics for homeware items, including chairs, carpets, bed linen and tableware
  • design surface patterns for laminates, wallpaper, plastics, tiles, toys and packaging
  • make drawings of initial concepts and work with various yarns and fabrics
  • make decisions about colour, structure, surface pattern, weight and yarn composition, taking into account the final use of the fabric
  • translate designs into marketable fabrics
  • use computer-aided design (CAD) systems
  • inspect pre-production for colour and quality, and approve these or instruct changes to be made
  • produce finished artwork, storyboards and colourways (colour tone work)
  • prepare the dispatch of design specifications for production/end use
  • liaise with clients, sales staff, buyers and production team, while working to deadlines
  • research and gather information about the target market.

Working conditions for a Textile Designer

Textile designers work within and alongside industries such as fashion, automotive, interior design and technical textiles. They may also work within a studio environment alongside other designers, or as freelance designers working with a client base.

Employment Opportunities for a Textile Designer

Textile designers are employed in a wide range of design and merchandising positions. They are employed as designers by studios, manufacturers or distributors of printed, woven and knitted fabrics. Some go into business as textile designers and some as producers of fabrics working on individual commissions.

Additional Information
After gaining some industry experience, graduates may qualify for full membership of the Design Institute of Australia. Student, graduate and associate membership may also be available prior to meeting the requirements for full membership.
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