What exactly is a Textile Designer?

Textile designers transform two-dimensional graphic patterns into knitted, woven and printed fabrics or textile products. They decide the type of weave, yarn and the thread count of a woven fabric as well as finish, color and/or printed design.

Traditional textile designers created patterns with watercolors and other hand rendered techniques; thereafter, their artwork was translated onto point paper (graph paper) which weavers used to set up construction looms. Today there are both vector and bit based computer aided programs for rendering graphics that are specific to the type of end good being produced.

Textile designers have an astute understanding of production aspects such as fiber, yarn and dye differentiating them from graphic designers as they provide technical weaving instructions for loom execution. Most textile designers are highly specialized within their chosen field of interiors (upholstery, soft furnishing and carpets) or fashion fabrics for apparel which are very specific for the end good use (shirting, suiting, socks, ties, scarves etc). Their ability to render graphic artwork permits cross designing printed paper goods, packaging and ceramics.

Many textile designers are self-employed, while others work as part of a design team. Typical employers or clients are manufacturing and processing companies (cloth or soft furnishings), fashion brands/clothing retailers, design studios, cosultancies or interior design/decorating services.