A textile designer is the person who creates the two-dimensional designs and patterns used in the manufacturing of weaved, knitted and printed fabrics for making clothing, carpets and upholstery. He may also create patterns and motifs used in the production of greeting cards, wrapping paper, materials packaging or decorative ceramics. The patterns he creates for all these industries are normally repeated in the manufacturing process; the designs regularly cover the entire surface or large surfaces of the products.
A beginning textile designer often starts his career as an industry cutter or machinist and works his way up to textile designer. Another common career path involves obtaining a degree in design or a related field and creating a portfolio to present to prospective employers. Since the design industry is so competitive, many aspiring textile designers seek out both paid and non-paid internships to gain experience and establish industry contacts.
Aside from designing new patterns and images, a textile designer regularly communicates with buyers, clients and technical personnel to discuss design industry trends. Subsequent to assessing the projected needs, the designer normally meets with his team to establish design goals based on the information received. They may pair up or independently proceed to the sketch and design production step.
As the creative process moves forward, the textile designer interacts with his contemporaries to get feedback. It is important that his designs and samples reflect the goals they established. Good communication with the client also is important to ensure his needs are met.
After the samples are produced, they generally are reviewed by the designers for quality. Adherence to quality production standards is another area in which the artists regularly check one another’s compliance. Once the designs are approved, they are passed on to the client for final endorsement.
The textile designer’s career path regularly involves using computer-aide design (CAD) tools. The Internet is also an excellent source for the designer to seek new job challenges and research recent developments in his industry. Online sources for distinctive materials from around the world are also desirable, as are sites that cater to textile design exhibitions and trade shows that showcase new and innovative talent.
A textile designer may decide to become an independent contractor if his designs are very well received. He may have a unique talent in combining colors, texture and fabric that makes his designs exceptionally popular. This aptitude may present compelling opportunities to expand his career beyond those traditionally available to a textile designer.