CHAPTER 1 8
DESIGN IN CONTEXT
CHAPTER 2 36
CHAPTER 3 70
THE DESIGN PROCESS
CHAPTER 4 118
MANUFACTURING, MATERIALS AND
CHAPTER 5 150
DESIGN IN PRACTICE
CHAPTER 6 184
BECOMING A PRINTED TEXTILE DESIGNER
FURTHER READING 203
PICTURE CREDITS 207
Printed textile design is a creative fi eld of practice and a dynamic and exciting industry that encompasses fashion, interior fabrics and wallpaper, cards and stationery, as well as textile art and craft. Printed textile designers develop the images, patterns and colours that are intrinsic to the aesthetics, application and successful sales of these printed products.
Printed textile designers work as part of a large industry. The designs they create may be used by fashion brands or in products for soft furnishings and interior design for retail sale to consumers. They may also be used in ‘contract’ products or corporate clothing for hotels, hospitals or other companies. Because printed textiles are ubiquitous, the contribution of the print designer can often be overlooked while the product application becomes the focus. You are probably more likely to know the names of several fashion designers than the identity of a textile designer – they are generally anonymous. Printed textile designers can work independently, in design studios or directly for retailers or manufacturers.
Printed Textile Design is about the skills, knowledge, techniques and processes needed to pursue a career in printed textile design. With case studies from practising designers, inspirational examples from the industry as well as practical activities, the book reveals approaches and strategies to support your development in becoming a printed textile designer.
Printed textile designers work within a context that requires them to be able to initiate and interpret design inspiration, taking into consideration consumer trends, fashion forecasts and design requirements of different market levels, and to do so through an understanding of the heritage and history of the design styles and printing processes of this fi eld. By placing printed textile design in this broad context, this book recognizes its inherent value and its contribution to design and culture.
Developing experience in the fundamental design skills of drawing, colour and repeat will enable you to begin the process of exploring and developing your design inspiration with a clear sense of direction. The design development process that you pursue may take you through digital design and/or the print room to explore a range of visual effects; this book describes a range of such processes to support this part of your journey.
The book also explains the commercial aspects of the market, as well as examining ethical parameters in terms of your design choices of fabrics, print processes and dyes. Understanding the impact of these materials and processes, the decision-making process and the supply chain for different markets, products and price-points is essential to give you a broader understanding of how the industry operates.
Through case studies, the book demystifi es the design process and shows how creative and skilled designers are able to develop new and exciting work while responding to the commercial demands of the industry. Finally, the book describes various opportunities for working within the industry, along with methods that will enable you to prepare your portfolio and make approaches to the industry for internships or jobs.
Printed Textile Design offers an holistic perspective on the role of the printed textile designer. The book also functions as an essential guide to enable you to become fully aware of the context, design fundamentals and industrial parameters of the printed textile design industry.
DESIGN IN CONTEXT
In this chapter we will defi ne the context within which printed textile designers develop and resolve design collections for manufacture in the fashion or interior markets. When printed textile designers are considering how to respond to a design brief (an outline of the project’s design parameters) they will begin by synthesizing and considering their knowledge and experience of four main strands, or components that provide context for the project: design inspiration; design styles and print heritage; market levels; and trend prediction. The interpretation of these strands will form the backdrop or foundation for the designer’s creative work.
Design inspiration will be specifi c to the brief the designer is working with, and might include a concept, theme, colour palette and product application. The fi rst step may be creating a mood board to assist the designer in maintaining a focus for ideas. The mood board may include the designer’s own or found imagery to suggest ideas for colour, image, texture, style or product application.
Printed textile designs tend to be organized into style categories, of which the four main ones are fl oral, geometric, conversational and world cultures. Each of these categories has sub-sections; understanding their characteristics enables you to communicate and respond to a design brief by articulating a breadth of design ideas, both visually and verbally. The heritage of historical printing processes infl uences and shapes printed textile design, not only through the varied techniques used to transfer images onto cloth, but also through its visual library of image qualities, from which you can choose for image-making purposes, according to the style you wish to develop. While some of these processes are now redundant or exist only in small niche markets, the styles that are associated with them have their own qualities of line, effects or layouts.
Textile designers must also be aware of the framework in which the industry operates, which includes market levels and trend cycles. Market levels, which can be described as being high, mid or mass, defi ne the price-point of a product and the type of consumer who may purchase it. The market level infl uences the decisions that designers make in relation to the development of their design collection. We might fi nd that the same types of image may be simplifi ed or made more challenging, depending on whether the market level is low or high. A higher pricepoint may mean that the product uses more luxury fabric or more complex processes than would a product with a lower price-point, where mass production requires standardization and cheaper raw materials.
Textile design and manufacturing function within the ‘fashion system’, which enables the industry to control the process of ‘planned obsolescence’ by creating demand for new products while enabling retailers to minimize risk. This is done for both interiors and fashion through international trend prediction and fashion forecasting companies. Trend changes are processed and communicated through colour cards, publications, the Internet and at trade fairs. These tools are intended to guide the design or development of products for a particular season in terms of mood, colour, image and materials.