Textile Designer: Career Profile, Job Outlook, and Education Requirements

Research what it takes to become a textile designer. Learn about the job duties, education requirements, job outlook and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Textile Designer?

A textile designer is a professional who blends artistic and production techniques to create patterns for apparel and other fabric products to meet market and functionality demands. This often involves extensive research of the market and fashion trends, and working with other professional designers when creating designs. Like many other fashion designers they often create a distinct theme for their designs. The use of computer design programs is also often crucial. The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Technical production, graphic design, apparel merchandising
Key Responsibilities Create patterns for fabrics, design with software, sketch ideas
Job Growth (2014-2024)*3% for all fashion designers
Median Salary (2015)*$63,670 for all fashion designers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Textile Designers

Textile designers create patterns and prints in fabrics, for personal and household goods such as furniture, rugs, bed linens, towels and clothing. In this role, you'd generate design ideas from reference materials, current trends and specific client instructions. Job responsibilities range from programming computers for print machines to hand sketching designs, using your skills in identifying color arrangements, knowledge of certain fabrics and awareness of current design trends. Designers usually work as a part of design team, which includes technical designers, merchants and other vendors.

Job Outlook

Competition for textile designer positions is expected to be slower than average, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The BLS predicted that fashion designers, who are similar to textile designers, would see an increase in demand of 3 percent between 2014 and 2024. Consequently, candidates typically outnumber available jobs. Design firms that create clothing for mass-market consumption should have the best employment opportunities, while high-end luxury design jobs are much scarcer.

Education Requirements

As an aspiring designer, you can earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a Bachelor of Art in Design or a Bachelor of Art in Textile Design. A general textile design degree program contains courses on product development, merchandising, textile evaluation, apparel design, surface design, woven design, marketing and accounting. Some colleges even offer internship opportunities with companies such as Vera Wang, Elie Tahari and J.C. Penney.

Along with earning a degree, textile designers must prove their artistic ability through sketches or samples of prints. These samples are often part of a portfolio of work, which acts as a visual resume for your employers. Textile designers are also expected to understand design software programs due to the increase of technology use in the textile industry. Illustration software such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop is frequently used in addition to traditional pen-and-paper sketches.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Aside from textile design, fashion designers may also work to create designs for clothing, foot ware, accessories and costumes. Outside of fashion design, there are a number of other types of designers that must keep up with their market of expertise, available resources, consumer needs and aesthetic values. These include florist for flower arrangements, jewelers for jewelry, graphic designers for printed media and industrial designers for just about everything else.

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