Textile designers create designs for fabrics and textiles that are used for clothing and also for home furnishings and paper-based products such as wallpaper. The textiles may be printed, woven or knitted and often have repeating patterns.
You could be:
researching fashion trends for the next season – colours, designs and fabrics
taking into account the cost and quality of yarns, dyes and materials
trying out different colours, textures and fabrics
producing designs, usually by computer-aided design (CAD) software but occasionally by hand, to show to clients
working with technicians, making samples to show design companies or individual clients
working to requirements laid down by a manufacturer
keeping up to date with new designs and production methods, such as rotary and flat bed printing
specialising in one area, such as clothing, furnishing fabrics or hand crafted textiles
attending trade shows and researching new fabrics and designs.
Pay rates vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting salaries for qualified textile designers in the UK tend to be in the range of £18,000 to £20,000 a year. With experience this can rise to £25,000 to £30,000 a year. Senior textile designers may earn £30,000 to £40,000 a year.
Some textile designers work freelance. They charge a fee, which varies depending on the work and their reputation. The better known you are, the more you can charge.
You would be based in an office or studio.
You will spend a lot of time working on a computer, designing and changing patterns.
You may also spend some time in factories, with production staff, to oversee the work.
You may have to travel to meet fashion designers, buyers, production managers or individual clients.
You might also travel to meetings and trade fairs in the UK or abroad.
You would normally work regular hours, but you may often have to work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines.
You usually need a degree in textile design, art and design or fashion with a specialism in textiles. It may also be possible to gain entry with a Higher National Diploma (HND) in textiles or fashion textiles.
Degree courses in Textiles, Fashion and Textiles Design and Design for Textiles are available at the University of Edinburgh, Glasgow School of Art, Heriot-Watt University and Robert Gordon University.
Glasgow Clyde College offers a joint degree in Textiles - Specialising in Weave and Print with Heriot-Watt University. Years 1 and 2, leading to a Higher National Diploma (HND), are completed at Glasgow Clyde College, before transferring to Heriot-Watt for years 3 and 4 of the degree.
For entry to an HND you need 1-3 Highers or a relevant National Certificate (NC) or National Qualification (NQ), for a degree, normally 4-5 Highers, including English and Art and Design.
You also need a good portfolio of designs relevant to the course you wish to enter.
If you are very talented and have an exceptionally good portfolio, you might get into college or university without the necessary Highers.
You could start by taking an NC or NQ (formal entry requirements are not always needed) or a Higher National Certificate (HNC) (2 Highers for entry) in similar subjects. This might get you a job, perhaps as a textile design assistant, or lead on to an HND or degree.
For art school courses you need to apply through UCAS. Some courses have a closing date of 15th January and others have the closing date of 24th March.
Entry to this career can be very competitive. You could find work with textile manufacturers (which are mainly in the Northwest and Midlands of England and the Scottish Borders) or with specialist design studios (mainly in the London area). You may find jobs advertised in the specialist press.
Creative and Cultural Skills is the Sector Skills Council for advertising, crafts, cultural heritage, design, music, performing, literary and visual arts.
Creative Choices is their career information website.