How can you stamp authority in the ever-changing textiles industry?

watercolour floral print

As with everything, new technology, top-of-the-art machinery and the evolution of processes mean every industry is developing fast. But the question remains, how can you stamp authority in the ever-changing textiles industry?

I will never bash the introduction of digital ways, as they have brought on some fantastic methods of working, making our design process simpler and quicker. It’s also brought us more sustainable print methods, resulting in much less water wastage. I think I can talk for everyone when I say that it is a direction I can get behind.

I look through a lot of portfolios, and whilst these digital elements are a great asset, my concern is that designers are forgetting what printed textile design is at its roots, and as a result, a lot of work is looking “samey”.

Don’t get me wrong, using Photoshop to create an ombreyed oriental floral pattern instead of airbrushing traditionally makes sense, but are those traditional methods forgotten… or simply not even taught? Moreover, do new designers even know they exist? Do you?

There is a surge in graphic illustrations circling the surface pattern portfolios, and it makes me question, has the idea of adapting to digital ways gone too far?

As a designer you need to find ways to stamp authority and look different when everyone is doing the same thing.

Here are some design shifts you can explore.



Create artwork the old way.

I can assure you that creating work with a paintbrush, using different traditional methods and experimenting with different techniques will not make your work look old. Instead, it will make it look fresh, in comparison with the sea of graphic-tossed elements dawning many portfolios.

Strong painterly and hand artworking skills are some of the most sought-after skills employers are looking for in a designer, either in-house or as a freelancer. SO UP YOUR SKILLS.



Find a way that is different to the norm and double down.

Experiment and never stop. But find a way that you love and keep finding new ways to stretch that skill. You will be known for that particular way of doing something, that you do better than anyone else.

For example:

Is watercolour your thing? Well, there is hundreds of different ways to use watercolour and techniques to unfold.

If you want a taster, download my FREE tutorial “watercolour pansies”.


Finding what makes your work exclusive and making it known.

When you look at the service you offer or provide your clients, what level of exclusivity does it have? And I don’t mean in terms of copyright.

Do you have something to offer that will make that design look different from the next one? Creating something with hand-created artwork allows for unplanned marks, serendipitous moments and the beauty in the imperfect. These designs become one of a kind. And this is where that element of exclusivity comes into play, and as a result, keeps you in demand no matter the changes you face in the textiles industry.




Move with it, YOUR way to stamp authority and stay relevant in the textiles industry.

There is a way to be relevant to what people want and what is trending now, but you can also execute it differently.


The key is to keep that golden thread idea that makes your designs suitable for the market while giving them that fresh take.


Like this abstracted blurred floral that still has a strong sense of painterly processes.

Get in contact to see my library of designs, or commission something custom.



Show that you understand the ever-changing textiles industry.

Having a good understanding of the industry as a whole, but also the sub-industry you work in, and showcasing this to potential clients will give you that authority compared to other designers.

As creatives you should always be learning, challenging yourselves and trying to get a deeper understanding of your field to become the expert of what you do. This will not only stamp your authority, but it will also allow you to navigate this ever-changing industry and make sure that you’re sailing smoothly through the changes with the confidence that you have something golden that a computer cannot generate.

And don’t get me started on Ai…. that’s for another day.

Keep creating, catch you again.

Natasha xo

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