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Print design or textile design is a subdivision of graphic design and a form of visual communication wherein the designer creates visually pleasing graphics based on a number of themes that can be printed on tangible surfaces such as fabrics, wallpapers, ceramics etc, using various techniques including engraved wood blocks, silks screens, sublimation method or through digital printing.
One can start by creating artworks using paint and brush or directly using softwares like photoshop or illustrator. On a practical level, it starts with creating motif elements predominantly florals, birds, animals or textures and recomposing them to create seamless repeat patterns that can be used for printing on various products.
The early textile design dates back to thousands of years and due its biodegradable nature, earliest examples are rare. However some of the oldest examples of textiles were discovered in the form of nets and basketry dating from neolithic cultures in 5000 BCE.
Few of the more recent names that may be of interest to you from the last few centuries, well known for their art and designs are Jean-Baptiste Pillement, William Morris, Josef frank etc,.
Chinoiserie from Nouvelle Suite de Cahiers de Dessins by Jean-Baptiste Pillement
Img src : wikipedia.org
William Morris-Trellis wallpaper, 1862 William Morris-woodblock printed fabric, 1873
Img src : wikipedia.org Img src : wikipedia.org
How to get started as a print designer?
A keen interest in drawing or painting in general can be a starting point to becoming a print designer. Print designing can be a very fruitful career, not to mention you get to create art and see your art come alive in the form of various interesting products.
If you are already a graphic designer or have talent in creating art using any medium, it can be a great idea to try a career as a print designer. However even if you are none of the above but still have an interest in becoming a textile/print designer, you can very well start your journey right now.
Initially it can be a daunting task and a seemingly impossible goal to achieve however with proper research,learning and some patience to put in the right amount of effort, you can very well be on your way to becoming a successful print designer, freelancing for various companies or creating your own line of products using your prints.
What education do you need as a print designer?
The conventional route is to get a degree in textile design from a design institute or a university; however in today's day and age, you can easily get started through a huge number of free online resources or a few paid ones depending on your budget.
The key is consistency in your learning and practise.However a disclaimer here is that a huge number of major retail companies or manufacturing companies still look for a degree or course certificate to hire a print designer.
Where can you find a job as a print designer?
Around 24% of graphic and print designers tend to be freelancers/self-employed, and they find jobs on their own. However a huge percentage of textile/print designers work in the manufacturing industry related to fashion or home decor fields collaborating with the design teams of fashion houses, retailers and buyers.
Hence, a great place to start is applying for a position at a retail group, export houses and smaller fashion brands or brands related to home decor.
How to put together a portfolio.
Planning and creating a layout for your portfolio is as important as the work you add in it! Depending on the style of your work, you need to create a layout which does not overshadow your actual pieces of work. It is always best to keep the layout design as minimal as possible so your work is the focus and for an overall professional look.
What to add on your portfolio :
Selection process is another very important aspect of building a portfolio.
Industry professionals have no time to flip through endless pages of work that do not interest them so choose only the best pieces for your portfolio along with proper contextual resources such as processes and inspirations in the form of texts or visuals.
Add the best of works in the beginning so as to hold the attention of the viewer at first glance.
Portfolio Formats :
It is advisable to print a physical copy of your portfolio apart from having a digital copy saved in a pendrive. However for extra caution, a copy can also be saved onto your google drive or any cloud service that you have access to.
It is recommended to have different versions of the portfolio of which PDF, Powerpoint and individual JPGs are seemingly popular as a backup format.
Online portfolios are a must as it is most convenient for someone reading your email at a potential company that you´d applied to. Since every online platform has their own image dimensions, you can adapt the layout to fit the dimensions of the platform.
Tips to get hired as a print designer
Internships : If you have the time at hand, an internship at a print studio or a fashion brand can come in handy not only to learn and build your skills but to get a job at the same company after you've completed your internship.
Social Media : Have a social media presence showcasing your work and other materials that may help a potential client to get to know your style of work better.
Online Portfolio : Online portfolios are the fastest and most convenient way for a potential company to see your work. Online portfolios can range from platforms like Behance or your own website using sites like wix, squarespace to name a few.
Forums/networking : Join forums and communities in the design world especially related to textiles, print and fashion, as you might find some job opportunities that way.
A career as a print designer is quite a fulfilling one for those interested. It definitely takes quite a bit of time and patience, not only to wrap your head around different aspects of the field but also to practise the skills needed. However, thanks to the internet you have access to a plethora of online courses both free and paid. All you have to do is to get started, work on your skills, obtain the necessary knowledge and improve upon it.
Now this article gives you some of the basic yet important points on how to get started as a print designer but there is a whole lot of information that I will touch base on various aspects of this field in detail in my future articles.
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