Good Textile Design

Up until the end of the Twentieth Century, the vast majority of textile designs were created by people who were trained and specialised in hand painting textile designs that answered a particular set brief.

Croquis or a design concept/sample that implied how the design joined across the fabric or repeated were done and approved before the design was put on actual repeat and completed for production. These designs had a selected, and limited number of colours were painted correctly, done quickly and were exactly what was required both answering the brief for design and production.  They were also beautiful, and some were works of art in their own right.  How this has changed!

Today, most textile designs are generated on computers using various specific and non-specific software programmes. It appears that anyone who can use the software thinks they can design textiles. The truth is however that unless your designer is specifically trained and skilled in textile design the designs they create may not only have a sameness but also have problems with production and even possibly legality.

Let us look at some of the implications this revolution has had on textile design.

Designing textiles on computers can be quicker than hand painting particularly if the design is complex and intricate. But the use of computers has also led to a plethora of textile designs which are of images and photographs downloaded from the internet and manipulated in various software programmes. A vast number of these designs are not original, beautiful, intelligent or even legal.

Computer aided textile design has also shown that, as people use the same software, designs can have a particular style that is dictated by the software. For example line work can be the same from design to design unless the designer is particularly skilled and uses the software in different ways.

Making sure the design is laid out correctly and matches across the fabric design or put on repeat has also been simplified with computer aided textile design still many operators don’t understand repeat and how it works there has been an increase in mirror-reverse and badly constructed repeats where prominent lines, holes and mismatches occur. However, changes and developments in technology and digital printing has led to the greater use of photographs and watercolour technique in textile design not easily possible previously. Many textiles are now designed to work on panels and pattern pieces, and though it is essential that designs are well constructed, in some instances, with this production development, some aspects of repeat have become unnecessary.

Making changes to textile designs created on a computer may also be an issue. It can be comparatively simple as you no longer need to repaint designs or sections of designs to accommodate changes. However textile designers are at the mercy of product developers and buyers who often want a multitude of changes, one after another, on a design they are ‘developing’. These changes can be extremely time-consuming, and they are not prepared to pay for the time it takes as they erroneously believe all changes on digital textile designs are quick and easy.

As digital design becomes more extensive, jobs get advertised that require designers who are both graphic and textile design.  Being a graphic designer does not make a person a textile designer and vice-versa. The notion that people are multi-skilled to do both well is short-sighted and unrealistic. Being good at swing tickets, point of sale and websites is a completely different skill set to being good at textile design in all its variations.

Computers are excellent tools and can make the life of a textile designer easier. Colour-ways become a snap and getting textile designs to a destination is also easier as email and cloud computing has made moving files or designs simple and quick. It also has enabled designers to work across the world without leaving their studio opening new markets and creating new opportunities. But as this revolution progresses and we become more dependent on digital design it becomes increasingly evident that the key to good textile design is to ensure that you engage someone who is trained, experienced and understands the field. Someone who can interpret your brief and stretch your thinking to get the best possible solution in the manner that best suits you and your production be it digital, hand painted or both.

ID Global Concepts is a leader in fabric, accessories, and apparel processes. We add value to client’s operations through consultancy or management contract to ensure the business has the best practice quality systems that are the right fit for your business, customer and meet your value expectations.

Below are the retailer’s ID Global Concepts have delivered quality apparel and accessories to over the last ten years;

Macy’s, Urban, Sears, Marks & Spencer, Myer, Kmart US & Kmart Australia, Dunnes Stores, Debenhams Monsoon Accessorize, Asos, Witchery, Brown Sugar, RM Williams, Coles, Chloe, John Lewis, Disney, Next, Firetrap, Lonsdale, Postie, ASDA, Harris Scarf, River Island, Tesco, Woolworths, Walmart, Glassons, Babies’R’Us, New Look, Target US & Australia, Primark, David Jones, Best & Less, Sophie, Yakka, Top Shop, BHS, Burlington, BigW, Oasis, JayJays, Blue Illusion, Driza-Bone, Just Jeans, Volcom, House of Fraser, Pumpkin Patch, Suzanne Grae, Pelaco, Laura Ashley, Sportsgirl, Ted Baker, Truetex, TableEight, French Connection

If you would like to learn more or wish to discuss other supply chain opportunities, please email us at

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