Your portfolio is an essential tool to prove to potential clients what you can do. It lets you showcase your personality to the world, outline the services you can offer, and demonstrate your creativity and skill. 

But where do you even begin assembling a portfolio that appeals to your ideal clients? Keep reading to find out. 

This guide will show you how to create a textile design portfolio to kickstart your career and land your dream jobs. 

We’ll cover:

  • Things to consider before creating your portfolio
  • How to create a textile design portfolio
  • How to succeed as a textile designer

Things to consider before creating your portfolio

Before you start putting together your textile portfolio, here are a few points to consider:

What is your niche? 

First, you need to determine what your style is if you haven’t already. Do you specialise in modern patterns, natural materials, fine silks, or hand-painted prints? 

Putting a name to your style helps you build a portfolio that will appeal to your target market. In turn, you’ll increase your chances of attracting more clients. 

What is your target market?

Once you know your style, think about who would be interested in using your textiles: your target market. 

Take time to figure out:

  • Their age and gender.
  • Where they work. 
  • What their interests and fears are.
  • Why they’d want to work with you.
  • How to get their attention.

For more details, read our guide on how to define your target market

What is your goal?

You also want to decide what you hope to achieve by building a textile design portfolio. 

Do you want to:

  • Convince a specific company to hire you as a freelance designer?
  • Use your portfolio to increase brand awareness for your business?
  • Land a particular role on a project?
  • Add textile design to your fashion portfolio?

Whatever your goal is, defining it is a crucial step when figuring out how to create a textile design portfolio.

See also: how to achieve your business goals.

How to create a textile design portfolio

Once you’ve answered the questions above, follow these steps to build a stunning textile portfolio that screams style and talent.

Create a digital and physical version

These days, any potential client or employer will expect you to have a great-looking website in addition to your physical portfolio.

The online version

Thanks to template-based website builders, you don’t need to be a professional software developer to create a professional digital portfolio. 

Here are some sites you can use:

Use these tools to create an online portfolio that shows off your personality and skills. Play around with different themes and features until you find a look you like. 

At a minimum, your online portfolio should include:

  • An introduction to your business.
  • A collection of your best work.
  • An About page that describes who you are.
  • Your contact information.

If you use Instagram for your artwork and textile designs, embed it on your site. You can add links to your other social channels so people can find out more about you. 

Your physical portfolio

You’ll also need an actual book to present your designs to potential clients or employers. How else can they see what your designs look like in real life and feel the materials?

Your physical portfolio should include:

  • Samples of your textile designs.
  • Your artwork.
  • Details about your process.
  • Your qualifications and experience. 

You can buy portfolio books (called padfolios) in any art supply store or from online sources like Amazon

Select three to five collections

Once you have a website and padfolio ready, it’s time to start adding your designs.

If you don’t have finished work already, make three to five collections to use in your portfolio. Try to build collections with at least three designs in each (but no more than ten). 

It’s good to create a story for each collection so you can present them in a compelling way when meeting with prospects. 

Show your colour palette

It’s good practice to show the colour palette underneath your designs to demonstrate how you think about colours and apply them to your creations.

As you know, colour is a massive part of textile design and highly specific to different industries. 

For example, when working with home decor, you typically want to soften your colour palette and use more neutral colours. 

On the other hand, if your focus is high-end fashion design, you’d probably go for bright colours and bold materials.

Tip: Include colour chips and swatches underneath your designs to show the viewer how you think about and interpret colour in your design work. 

See also: Finding your style: What colours mean in branding.

Present commercial work

While you want your designs to be unique, prospects might not use them if they can’t be used for mass production. 

Your designs are ultimately for your prospect and the customer who ends up buying the finished product, not for you. So it’s important to ensure your textile designs are functional and suitable for retail and other eCommerce products. 

Showcase a few personal designs, and compliment them with some commercial designs to prove that you can do both.

How to succeed as a textile designer

Now that you know how to create a textile design portfolio, you can build one that helps you win over prospects in a heartbeat.

Just remember to:

  • Design your portfolio to appeal to your target market.
  • Showcase your personality and demonstrate your skills.
  • Create a digital and physical version.
  • Prove your commercial value.
  • Show your colours and process. 
  • Have fun with it!

By following these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to getting your talents noticed and expanding your customer base.

Once you get more jobs and money starts rolling in, you’ll need to manage your income efficiently. 

Why not try a system like Countingup?

Countingup is a combined business account and accounting app that automates time-consuming accounting tasks to save you hours of admin. You can use that time to grow your textile design business instead!

Get started for free.