Textile designers usually hold bachelor's degrees in textile technology, textile design or a related field. They need to understand the science of working with fibers and fabrics. Some jobs related to textile design are projected to grow at a slower rate than average over the coming years.
Textile designers make decisions concerning the fibers, colors and patterns used to make fabrics for clothing, furniture and home wares. Appearance and function are both considerations for textile designers. Several undergraduate and graduate degree programs can prepare candidates for this career field, including textile design, textile design technologies and textiles management.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree is typical; master's degrees available|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||3% for fashion designers*|
|Median Annual Salary (2016)||$51,995 for textile designers**|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com
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Textile Designer Job Information
Textiles are used to create all manner of products, including clothing, common household goods, upholstery and industrial equipment. Information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that since the field of textiles provides so many options, there are several career directions for textile designer.
Some designers may choose to focus on creating synthetic textiles. Man-made fibers, such as polyester, fiberglass or rayon, start out as liquids that are then pushed through machines to create individual threads that are woven into textile materials. Synthetic textile designers use computer programs to design the chemical composition as well as the aesthetic patterns and colors of fabrics. They may also design the way in which fibers are woven together to alter the overall textile strength.
Other textile designers work exclusively with natural fibers, including cotton, hemp and animal hair. These designers also use computer programs to design distinctive patterns, and many patterns are woven or knitted into the fabric during textile construction. Some textile designers also use dyes and bleaches to create patterns or color effects on textiles.
Beyond designing the color, look and feel of the actual fabric, textile designers may be involved with turning the textile into a product. For example, textile designers for clothing manufacturers may design particular textile patterns meant for specific articles of clothing. Likewise, synthetic textile designers may design sheets of synthetic fabric that will be molded into specific items.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Although the BLS does not provide exact employment outlook predictions for textile designers specifically, records did indicate that between 2014 and 2024, fashion designers, a design occupation in a textile industry, were expected to experience a 3% increase in available jobs. In 2016, the median annual salary for textile designers was $51,995, for textile designers according to PayScale.com.
Since designing synthetic textiles involves an understanding of chemistry and engineering, a bachelor's degree in textile technology may prove useful for aspiring designers. Coursework includes polymers and engineering, advanced chemistry, fiber processing, fabric development, textile performance, quality control and textile computer aided design (CAD).
Other potential degree programs for this career field include apparel and textile design technologies or textile management. Topics covered within these programs include color and design, textile costs and supplies, textile market research, history of textiles, design methodologies, digital design, digital modeling, textile statistics, textile selection protocols and fabric formation.
Working as a textile designer often requires some knowledge of technology as well as design principles, usually learned through a bachelor's degree program in textile technology or a related subject. This is a diverse field, with opportunities for many specializations, such as a focus on creating synthetic fibers or using computers to design patterns. Job growth in the field may be slower than average over the next ten years.