Developing a Colour Palette

I recently ordered and received digitally printed fabric from Spoonflower. Spoonflower is a digital printing service in America where you can upload your designs and print your own fabric. You can print swatches and yards of fabric with no minimum order. This is the first time I’ve used it.

Colour-Guide-SwatchesTo begin I ordered the Spoonflower colour guide and fabric swatches. The colour guide and fabric swatches are $1 each. Colour guide and fabric swatches across.

PS  Colour Modes

Once I received the fabric swatches and colour guides I applied the colour schemes to my repeats in Photoshop. I used the HEX Codes from the colour guide to replace my current colour. You can see the colour picker across. I just needed to replace the HEX Code with the code from the Spoonflower colour guide.

On screen the colours turned a lot brighter. This is my first time replacing colour on photoshop to printers colour codes. I am a textile surface designer specializing in screen printing. I usually mix my colours manually. I’ve little knowledge of matching the colour to RGB or CMYK models. I found digital colour very different. I questioned the bright colours on screen but the colours on Spoonflower’s colour guide looked great, so I assumed it would look better when physical printed. How wrong I was! The colours I chose for my fabric were awful!!!! Nothing to do with Spoonflowers service but more my lack of experience with digital colour. Below are photos of my printed fabric:


Jersey Fabric with floral repeat


Cotton Sateen



This last piece is still usable but the purple is bright. I like more subdued subtle colours.

How did I go wrong?

Well as we all know fabric have different texture, opacity and absorption. The colour guide is printed on a cotton and I wasn’t ordering cotton fabrics, the weights were heavier and I chose some synthetic material. The colours on the screen where as bright as they were printed. It’s obvious to me now and I feel I should have known better.


Since receiving my printed fabric I’ve done a lot more research into Colour Theory and Colour Models. There are several different digital colour models that define colours based on different components. The most popular ones I found are: RGB, CMYK, HSB, LAB and Hex colours. Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator allow you to supply codes for these models to match colours of manufactures / printers. It is best to find out what colour model your printer uses to match colours so they come out right when printed. PS  Colour Modes

I also looked at the colour wheel again, refreshing my colour theory, it’s hues, tints, shades and tones. Refreshing all the basic colour schemes: the complementary colours, the near complements, the triads etc.


Definition of a colour palette:

A colour palette is a limited selection of colours that a designer uses in a collection to ensure that all the colour elements sit together in a controlled way.

Finding just the right colour palette is very important, but it can be a challenge! I’ve found a few different ways to help me develop my colour schemes.

I started a Colour Pinterest Board just for colour ways. I pin photos I like the colours of or other colour schemes designers have shared. I don’t mind using other designers schemes or them mines as they are always applied differently. Your welcome to follow my board here.

I’ve downloaded Adobe Kular. Adobe Kuler is a great tool to develop a colour palette from a single image/photo. It pulls colours from the picture and helps create a colour palette. There are free apps and generators online like Adobe Kular you can use if you just google “Colour palette generator”.

And I can’t forget trends for colour inspiration. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the number of trends available for generating colour schemes but it is all about research, choosing a trend and sticking to it.

I feel I have learned a lot from this experience and I am so glad I only ordered quarter of a yard of each design. I didn’t order a tiny swatch as I need to see the repeat, but thankfully they repeated fine. I have a long way to go in my design career and it’s embarrassing to say but getting my colours right is my next priority. The two of the most important factors influencing your designs are the choice of colour and fabric. My colour theory refreshment has reminded me restricting yourself to a set of colours is an important part of the creative process. People are drawn in by colour, and either soothed or energised by it. Colour attracts people to your designs as much or even more than any other aspect of your design. I find it intimidating to work with but with a little combination of technical know how and play, I’m determined to make it a satisfying aspect of designing.



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FTDC Programme of Summer Events 2016

The Fashion & Textile Hub is where independent designers are supported in their ambitions to become successful creative producers and sector leaders. We offer customised space, international connections, knowledge exchange opportunities and tailored programmes for growth. We’re a place to discover the limitless ways you can build your fashion and textile brand by helping you create your path and giving you the guidance to follow that path.

The Fashion and Textile Design Hub are excited to announce our programme of events for Summer 2016 below. We have something for everyone, from school children, recent graduates, to teachers and lecturers. We also have introduction courses for individuals who have no background in fashion or textiles but have an interest in learning.

Weaving Workshops

Led by master weaver Elsie Tweed, in this 6 week workshop students will learn the basic weave techniques. Weaving classes are one on one so book time/day that suits you. The workshop is suitable for beginners to intermediate levels.

Elsie Tweed-2

Photoshop and Illustrator Workshops

We are providing three separate workshops.

Photoshop for Fashion & Textiles

Photoshop for Design

Illustrator for Fashion & Textiles

Each 8 week design programme is suited for beginners, allowing you to easily develop your creative process and show you ways to present your ideas from inspiration to final concept in a digital format. Ideal for creating intricate, complex and decorative design elements. Illustrator and Photoshop have a vast range of tools perfect for fashion & textile designers. These courses will teach you how they are both used to create effective designs and patterns and the best way to present your ideas.

Bring a pen, notebook and usb to save your work.

Adobe Illustrator Class

Fashion Styling & Media Summer School

This four-day summer school course will give you an understanding of fashion and textile design processes along with helping you develop your design and drawing skills . The tutors will guide you to produce a sketchbook of research drawings, design ideas and how to develop your creative ideas into finished designs. The course is aimed at 14 – 18 year’s old who are keen to study and improve design drawing and communication skills.

Fashion Styling

Train the Trainer

This is a specialized short refresher course on constructed textiles. This course is to help teachers, tutors and lecturers to refresh and further develop their skills and subject knowledge.

Facebook Post

How to draw like a fashion designer

This is a beginners step-by-step guide to drawing like a fashion designer. Learn how to create a fashion template, including proportions and how to turn a stick figure into a full figure. We will help you develop your own style, complete outfits and incorporate seasonal trends.

Sharpen up your drawing skills and draw like a fashion designer!

Copy of Time Management for Creatives

Portfolio Building

The Fashion & Textiles Portfolio provides students with a thorough grounding in the different areas of fashion & textile design. Underpinned by experimentation, visual research and conceptual thinking this exciting programme is designed to allow students to explore and expand their design practice while building a portfolio of work for future study in diverse areas including textiles, fashion, fine art, costume and surface design.

Kids Workshop

Pattern Cutting Introduction

No pattern cutting experience is necessary. This course is perfect for beginners wanting to learn the principles as well as anyone who may have dressmaking experience but who now wants to experiment with their own patterns.

Pattern Cutting Introduction

Recent Graduate looking to start your design business

The Fashion & Textile Design Hub is now open for residency applications from recent graduates who are looking to start their new design venture. If this is you, look no further, email:

We are here to connect our services with your ambition. creativity is Intelligence having fun

We are on a mission to help you independent designers thrive at doing what you love!  The hub exists to make the process of starting, running, and growing a business for the fashion and textile industry easier and to provide support.

Contact us to book a space for you chosen workshop, class or residency. Spaces are limited for each.

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Resources for Designers

Design resource for fashion textile designers

As budding designers trying to grab a section of the market we need all the resources we can get. Trying to do everything by yourself is not practical but doesn’t stop us from trying. Here is a few resources to help you on your career. If you have any resources you find very helpful please comment


Wix: A great and fast way to create your own website. However you have to use wix as your host too. I would use six if you are just looking for a fast way to put up your website.  Very user-friendly website to create your own website. Can use any host you wish. I would use wordpress for my own websites instead of wix as I rather a wider choice of plugins and to choose my own host.


Hosting is a service of providing a server, and the network infrastructure for your server to be reached by web browsers all over the world through the internet.

Looking at a variety of website hosting strategies for WordPress I think self-hosting using Bluehost  or Godaddy is the best option. I have used both providers and found them both very good. I recommend either.


Every designer should have a blog just like social media. It is another form of digital marketing. You may find your blog more effective than your Instagram or vice versa. See what works for you. Interested in starting a blog or building a portfolio site? This is the place to start. the .com version is a free site to blog with and is hosted free. However if you want your blog on your website I recommend . Note the .org version is not free and you have to host it yourself but it is better in the long run when you want to gain followers and grow.

Canva:  high-quality design templates for all your digital media graphics

Bloglovin : App that allows to discover and follow blogs. Great app to join and share your blog to increase followers and to be inspired for your blogs.

Vimeo: A more private option to Youtube, however youtube is owned by google, so using youtube helps gain your websites more points with google and rank higher in google results. Twitter is also owned by Google 😉

Further Learning: : you can try Lynda free for 7 days. This is one of the top Photoshop and Illustrator training resources out in the market. The tutorials are easy to follow, high quality and affordable!

Adobe Illustrator Basics: Tools and Resources for Beginners

Useful Websites

WGSN : trend forecasting

Pattern Observer: for surface pattern designers. This website will help you grow your textile design business through articles, interviews, tutorials. Also there is private design community, The Textile Design Lab which is very worth while.

Jovoto : discover creative projects to work on

Glossary of Pattern Terminology : For people who love textiles

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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Essence of Design

The Essence of DesignI attended the Essence of Design Seminar on Design, Craft & The Consumer in Leitrim. I was invited to this seminar by Bernie Murphy project coordinator of the Fashion Textile Design Hub. I didn’t really know what to expect but I was so glad to attend and have the opportunity to see the Leitrim Design House. Leitrim has a great design infrastructure in place with The Dock, The Fab Lab and The Glen Centre supporting artists and designers. The Design seminar had an interesting panel: Eddie Shanahan a fashion and retail consultant hosted the seminar with 5 guest speakers:
Leitrim Design House Speakers

Jean Whitfield – Jeweller

Erika Marks – Jeweller / Lecturer NCAD

Krishma Kusurkar – Print & Accessories Designer

Patrick McHugh – Web developer & Photographer

Brigitta Varadi – Artist

Eddie Shanahan introduced the seminar and described design and craft as being two sides of the one coin. How design and craftsmanship should not try to beat price but compete with the best. How we as designers should research our consumers and see how we can make their life better, allow our products to enrich their lives.

Design is a balancing act! We must not allow price to be the starting point but rather value be the end point and balance this with the need to make a profit to survive.


Erika Marks gave some advise on being creative:

It is important to be organized. Majority of us procrastinate most of the time and only become productive when deadlines loom. If we can push ourselves to be organized and do things on time we will enjoy the design process a lot more. This is very hard to do though, having tried numerous times myself but I will continue to try. There is some time management for creatives.

Erika advises to awaken the mind try to do something that scares you daily as this will shake you out of yourself, Erika’s example was public speaking, it really scares her but I have to say she gave an amazing talk.

Do something out of habit like getting on a bus you don’t know where it is going or brush your teeth with the opposite hand. Whatever you do break your habit as this creates new connections in the brain.

Marketingdigital marketing chart

In respects to marketing, we as designers should look at different ways to market ourselves. We have all the digital tools to hand Facebook, twitter, instragram, google plus etc. Patrick highlighted there are many more digital tools than just social media. Check the image across. We should be using these as tools and not letting them control our day.

Karishma gave a talk on branding, how we as designers should sale our process along with our designs. Krishma is in the start up phase of her business and she uses a video to tell her story and market her business – Storytelling for your brand, check the video below.


This video allows customers to get to know Krishma and buy more than a product, she ads further value. The video is inspired by “Made by Hand” videos that look into the background of companies as a selling point. You can check “Storytelling for your brand” resources here.

I love when designers share resources, not everyone does. Helping each other is what builds strong design relationships. Sharing knowledge does not mean someone will copy you, I hope it is more that they are inspired and create something very different. If we all helped each other I believe our innovation would soar. [but if they do copy i am always told by a good friend its a high form of flattery].

Branding and marketing yourself is important for every business. Patrick is a web developer and photographer specializing in Fashion and Textiles. He is the go to guy in this area. He advises strong images are key, a picture paints a 1000 words, but the future is video. This ties in with Karishma as her short but s

Leitrim Design House Business & Product Programmes

Leitrim Design House has the following courses available this year:

  • Beginners Business & Product Development
    4days over 8 weeks in April – May
  • Advanced Product Development Bootcamp
    3days over 6 weeks in April – May

Jean Whitfield completed the above courses and she now has her product in three shops in Ireland. Jean learned to have a complete package with her product so she is able to approach retailers and her jeweller is immediately able to be displayed on her prepaid stand that is light and has the logo and all the products work as a set. Jean planned out how it will best promote and sell itself but be convenient for the retailer. The product development course helped encourage and advise Jean on her creative business. The programmes allowed Jean to meet designers and bounce ideas and receive critical advice she may not receive elsewhere. Our loved ones are not as critical as strangers as we know.

Additionally Leitrim Design House will hold special admissions for designers makers to have their product in the shop in May. Appointments will give each individual 15mins to present their collection to the panel. This will be to have the products ready for trading early Autumn.

For information on any of the above opportunities contact Glenda at or phone 0719650550

Applying for all these opportunities are important. Brigitta Varadi spoke about applications for grants, craft fairs, exhibitions etc. Brigitta’s advice was persevere with applications. There is a very high rejection rate with applications for design/craft. You may only be accepted 3% of the time. Thats 97% rejection. That is high! But persevere!

I truly enjoyed this seminar and believe you should attend as many talks as possible as it is rare you don’t come away with something! There was a lot more discussed at this seminar but this is what I came away with, I hope you find this somewhat helpful! Any design talks you believe is a must attend please comment below.

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Creative Thinking Workshop

Creative ThinkingThis week I was delighted to be a part of a Creative Thinking Workshop by Janet Coulter.

Janet Coulter is Director of Academic Enterprise in the Faculty of Art, Design and the Built Environment at Ulster University. She is also a Senior Lecturer in Fashion and Design with almost 30 years experience in the Fashion Industry.

Janet hosted a Creative Thinking workshop in the Craft Village, Derry.

In the Creative Thinking workshop Janet gave each table a large bag of Jelly Babies to start. This was to increase our blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels is good for creative thinking, it gets the brain pumping.

So to be more creative . . . eat more jelly babies!

We then started into the workshop about vertical thinking and lateral thinking.

Vertical Thinking vs Lateral Thinking

creative thinking

Vertical thinking is finding one answer to a problem. A logical, sequential, analytical answer.

Lateral thinking is finding multiple answers to a problem by thinking outside the box. Thinking of lots of ideas by taking different perspectives to the problem, challenging your perception and gather a range of ideas. A creative answer.

Many businesses have a vertical way of thinking. This is how we are taught in school, but looking just for one answer may risk us losing the right answer. To be lateral thinkers is to be divergent. (The movie came straight into my head. Who loves that movie, where divergent thinkers cannot be categorised into a group as they can think in multiple ways). Well isn’t that is what ever designer wants, to be different?

Thinking Laterally (Diverging)

To think lateral means to be divergent, and to put that simply means to have multiple ideas for the one problem. In the workshop we had 6 exercises to help get our creative juices flowing. In one of the exercises we had to think of ways for a Natural Burial Company to diversify their business in Armagh. We got 15mins. My team had radical thoughts of preplanning your burial and deciding if people wanted to be buried in landmark places like the Rockies or Sahara. They could be dropped from a plane to help achieve two life goals of seeing this destination and jumping from a plane. We were thinking of different packages to offer. We were planning to make peoples dreams come true. We delved into cremation, about urn tress and selling plants that grew from the graves to families. (My brothers are actually undertakers, but needless to say i didn’t give them any of our ideas, think we took the out of the box thinking a bit far, but we were encouraged).

Thinking Logically (Converging Ideas)

The next stage we had to converge our ideas and mark 3 dots, 2 dots and 1 dots on the ideas we give most/least encouragement to. Of course we had so much jelly babies at this stage we thought we had million dollar ideas. We gave our top three ideas three dots and stood up and explained logically why these ideas would help the company to diversify their business.

Other groups had very good ideas to help the company expand.

In this exercise we learned to use creative thinking to create a quantity of ideas then use logical thinking to minimize down and connect the good ideas. It created a good balance.

lateral thinking

6 Hats Thinking

Another exercise we used was “6 thinking hats”. Each hat is explained below.

Creative Thinking

We again looked at another company – A food company who only produces duck meat meals. Duck sausages, duck l’orange etc. The argument was should they use the duck feathers to expand into the Fashion Market. Each table was given a coloured hat. Our opinions had to be based on the view of the coloured hat not our personal opinion. We were given a few minutes for our thoughts which then we expressed to the whole group, then Janet switched the hats and ask us immediately to answer in the new hats perspective. It made everyone change roles and sides in the debate and made me understand the two sides of the argument giving a better understanding to the decision.

Overall the workshop got my creative juices flowing, made me think on radical ideas, then use logic to link up the ideas and reduce and conclude on a few ideas to the problem. The six hats then made us look at different perspective on whether the concluding ideas were good or bad for the business. Janet highlighted a lot of key insights into creative thinking with these exercises. I advise if you ever see any of her talks or workshops advertise to attend them. They are very interactive and she used her own experiences to explain and slides of her work to help paint a clearer picture. It was a great workshop.

Let me know if you have any thoughts on creative thinking, do you have a method to your madness?

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Five Tips for Trend Research

Fashion Trends

Trend research is a tool that helps designers predict what colours, fabrics, and styles will be popular in the upcoming seasons.

Fashion forecasting allows designers to plan ahead. It assists in deciding what is going to provide the best profit and what will commercially sell. For emerging designers trend forecasting companies are not cheap, but it is possible for designers to do trend research themselves. Here are 5 tips for trend research in your market:


You need to know what age range and gender of customer you are targeting to incorporate an appropriate trend. Are your targeting sporty or business or both? Think about where the customer shops for clothing, groceries, hobbies and more. As you decide what kind of customer you are targeting you will get a better idea of what they will like. Look at what is selling in shops, talk to store managers, observe. As you work through this process, pull images that you find inspirational and pertain to the customer and attach them to your mood board. You have to understand your customer and what drives their purchasing decisions. Without knowing what your customer is buying now you will never be able to figure out what they will buy 12 months in the future.


Trend Forecasting is a lot of work. There are companies who make a living of trend forecasting alone. It requires a lot of curiosity and interest in a wide array of subjects ranging from art and design, reaching over to science and travel to name a few. To make trend forecasting less overwhelming allow yourself 30mins each day to do trend forecasting. This will help a lot.

Look at street style blogs and fashion blogs. Bloglovin is a great site to help you control blogs you follow for trend research. It allows you to keep all your favourite blogs in one place and save posts you like. for latest catwalks and older trends – some free info and have to subscribe for more. It is expensive if you a a small business starting out.

Pattern People

Look at Pinterest and Instagram.

Fashion Trends is a trend forecasting company


It is very easy to get bogged down when researching trends. You will be sick of reading this but you need to know your target customer. Think in the mindset of your target customer. Think “will my customer like this?”, not do i like this. Using this filter will cut out a lot of trends and help you find a trend that shouts your customers style.


Read reviews on online stores, see what styles and colours resonates with them. Do take the reviews with a pinch of salt, but at the same time it is the most honest feedback you will hear. Depending on what trend you are looking for either relating to the cut, the pattern, the colour, take notes on comments relating to it and see if patterns begin to emerge.


Not all designers want to follow trends instead they want to set trends. To set trends, you need an understanding of what was popular, what is popular, and what could be popular. Therefore, you need to understand trend forecasting. It is important for every designer to be looking forward and backwards.

Lidewij Edelkoort, says “trend forecasting is much like archeology but to the future”. 

So whilst you’re looking forward, you’re also taking into account past references. You will soon realize it’s one big creative loop that is constantly growing and updating itself. Once you choose your trend you need to make sure you’re not creating something that will be out before you get it in! It is important to incorporate the right trend into you design process, combining this with your theme and creativity to create something you customer will want.

Trend Research

As a designer, especially if you are still a student designer, one of your jobs is to create new and exciting designs and trends. It’s important to know what’s going on but it’s more important to follow your own vision. Trends change all the time and it’s so important to keep up with them when you work in the fashion and textiles industry. Fashion forecasting will help you in your design to provide your customers with beautiful, on-trend fabrics in relevant colours and fashion forward styles.


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Fashion Design Research #101

Research is the project foundation-2Fashion Design Research is an essential part of your design process. Whether you are designing for a company or putting together your portfolio, research is an important part of the fashion design process. As a student I always had ideas in my head and thought it was the start of something good, but you need to do RESEARCH to make it better.

Fashion Design Research is the studying a designer does before even opening up a sketchbook. It’s the getting to know the client, their business, industry, target market and competitors. If you are looking to land a job it is important to thoroughly research the company with which you are applying, understand their customer, choose a target season, research trends and develop a project with the company’s customer in mind.

To pull all your research together use a mood board. A mood board is a summary of your collections inspiration and theme. It is a design tool that will help you remain focused and consistent as your line develops. It’s also a communication aid when explaining your vision to others.

What should be included in fashion research?

Anything visually stimulating …

  • People
  • Nature
  • Photography
  • Textiles
  • Architecture
  • Fine Art
  • Museums
  • Literature and poetry

But to name a few! Anything you find inspiring. Keep in mind that everyone gets inspired by different imagery.

Include trends, season targeted, colour palette and theme title on your mood board also

Peter Pilotto

Peter Pilot from

Predicting trends is the most difficult task for designers. Predicting styles that will be in style for years to come. To do this you can research past trends and/or purchase high priced trend magazines. Additionally observe what succeeded with customers in the past, read reviews, look at colours to see if any colour ways that resonate with customers.

Combining your inspiration with an appropriate trend is important, you want to know your target customer and use a trend you like and you think they will too. For example if you are targeting woman in their early thirties who like to be active and outdoorsy and the inspiration is drawn from nature look at floral print trends or print trends with birds, water, leaves etc.


Basic Fashion Design Research – Simon Seivewright

If my inspiration is drawn from architecture, I would look at active wear trends and play with construction.

Guidelines from a London College of Fashion tutor taught to include research on something organic, a style of architecture, and an era of fashion in your research. This could be, for example insects, modern architecture, and the fifties. I found that these guidelines, which can obviously be modified to suit your ideas, ensured that people looked in more than one place for their research. If all of your research if from one collection that McQueen did ten years ago – then what is going to inspire you to do something different to that?

Where do I find research?

Go to galleries, exhibitions, libraries, museums, vintage shops, markets, cities etc. Music videos, books or photography are great ways to find inspiration. Latest fashion shows, street fashion, specialty magazines (fashion, architecture, design…). You may just find something you find very inspiring. I like to keep a book where i write down all my ideas when I’m inspired and keep what inspires me for reference. I look back on my ideas whenever I find i am stuck.

The worst place to look for research is Google. If you don’t have a good idea, Google Images probably isn’t going to help you find one. The internet can be a great place to source things, but don’t start there. Go here when you already have been inspired and are looking to research the topic further.

How to present your research?

Once you have gathered your initial ideas choose a theme to represent your research. Once chosen its time to decide the best way to communicate your ideas. A mood board can be created digitally or by hand. It is your own choice. Preferably mood boards should be created digitally or should be a scan of your original mood board.

The presentation must be strongly themed, capturing the mood in a nut shell and should always be accompanied by a title. Cut out pictures that inspire you. Use anything you can find from magazines, your own photographs and collect fabric and paint swatches. Write down a few thematic keywords you want to have in your design. But don’t go overboard and be messy.

When you have the research together on a moodpboard double check it. Is the message clear and sharp? Have you researched the subject from enough angles?  Do all the items in it complement each other? Do you have the particular look the company/target customer is looking for?


Digital Moodboard by Gabri Malhotra an Indian Textile Designer

A picture is worth a thousand words!

Fashion Design Research takes a lot of time. It goes to show how much thought and creativity can be behind a single piece of fabric. It is important to try and infuse greater meaning into our work.

Fashion companies like to see a representation of the whole process of fashion design, meaning every step you took to get to your final designs should be represented in your portfolio. As polished as your final presentation should be, it is helpful to show your train of thought and how you work through a project. This supports your final design work and displays your strengths in process management, personal time management, organization and trend interpretation skills.

It’s important, as the most time taken in the design process is used in the research and development stages.

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Time Management for Creatives

Time Management for Creatives

Dress by Nicole McLaughlin, Photo by GC Photography

I want to welcome everyone to the first blog of the FTDC. Thank you for reading and I hope you get something from it.

Time management is the first blog first as it is the most important tool for every designer. It helps you be prepared, feel confident and in control. To start your design business you need this. You don’t want to be constantly asking yourself where did the day go. I myself find it tough to have enough time in the day and I realise it is a major problem for a lot of people.

I’ve sat down to tackle this blog a few times and my phone dings. I’m sure it’s the same for you sitting down to a brief or a sewing machine. The interruption may be an email from a supplier, or a colleague or maybe just a friend. You reply as it will only take a second.

Then you see you have 15 notifications on Facebook and half an hour has passed. Then your phone dings again.

Being distracted by emails, phone calls and social media makes it difficult to achieve your aims. For example right now how many tabs do you have open?

Good time management can be achieved! I use many apps, organizers and books to help me stay focused and get more done in a day, to help me feel like I have achieved something. But in the end what really is needed is clarity!

Clarity is when you are clear on your goals and cut the clutter!

You may find yourself stuck on the little tasks that are not urgent but the loudest, or urgent but not important. To avoid this you need to decide what are the most important goals and concentrate on them. Writing down a goal for each day will help.

Below are six pointers to help you become more clear and have better time management.

  1. Be Your Own Boss
  2. Make a plan
  3. Multitasking
  4. Email
  5. Social Media
  6. Giving your best


1. Be Your Own Boss


As your own boss starting and running your own business requires working long hours. At the start of the business this is normal or coming up to a show it can be expected. However try not to make this an everyday habit as your brain needs a break. If you worked for a company you would probably be working a normal 9-5 most days. Try to do the same. Know what time of day you are most productive. I find a lot of designers are at their best at night. Working at your most productive hours does not have to be the conventional 9-5. Remember to take breaks too. As your own boss you need to push yourself to get the work done in set hours as if you are working for someone else.

BYOB set time frames and stick to them!

2. Making a Plan
Making a Plan-3
Make a plan! All business owners should have a goal. If you don’t have a goal get one! When you have your ultimate goal set smaller goals to help achieve it. Your goal may be to have your designs purchased by a buyer in the next year. This is a big goal. To achieve this set quarter year goals, monthly goals, weekly goals and daily goals. By breaking it all down this huge goal is achievable.
Concentrate on your goals and don’t get stuck on unimportant tasks. As creatives we are very visual. Write down your daily and weekly goals in a notebook or diary. Check out BulletJournals – this is what I use for goal clarity. Stick to these objectives and don’t stress over the unimportant tasks.
3. Multitasking


It’s time to stop multitasking. Multitasking actually leads to getting less done. You are better to monotask. Studies have found there is a loss of time and efficiency when you switch from one task to another. If you find you have ten tabs open, jumping between Facebook, email and your phone, then you have a multitasking problem.

To monotask is to find clarity in your day. In the beginning this may feel less productive but focus on one task at a time, schedule your day and stick to it. You will be more realistic and you will find you get more done in the long run.

To help you stay away from disturbing websites check out these Stayfocused (Chrome), SelfControl (Mac).

4. Email

EmailHow long do you spend emailing a day? Emailing may take up a huge part of your day. Our emails ding all day and we are trained to jump and read them and answer immediately. This is not just multitasking but it is sucking time out of your day.

What are you achieving replying immediately? Can these emails wait? Anything urgent they would call or they can wait a few hours.

To make your emails more manageable – 1. cut the number of emails and 2. batch them.

  1. Cutting the number of emails by separating your personal to your work emails. Do you have to answer all these emails yourself or can you get someone else to do it? is a tool which puts the subscriptions you receive into a folder and can also batch unsubscribe. Very handy tool.
  2. Batch process is where you pick certain times of day to answer emails. If you do this stick to it. You could check them in the morning, afternoon and late afternoon. Like I said if anything is urgent they will call.
    AwayFind alerts people you won’t see your emails to the time you have chosen. This will free up a lot of time in your day and also minimise the unimportant tasks you receive.


5. Social Media

social media time suckGive yourself a fixed time each day for social media. 15-20mins to scroll and post. Social Media allows you to reach and interact with customers. It is a vital part of a marketing strategy. However if you are spending hours on social media you are wasting your time, you are not being engaging strategically.

Rescue Time is a tool that allows you to see how much time you spend on websites.

By limiting your time you on each social media channel will allow you to use your time more strategically.

Sound impossible? With the right plan it is very capable.

6. Giving Your Best

give your bestGiving your best always takes a lot longer than you expect. When you get to an end of a project you may wish you had a little more time as you know you can do better. Set your own deadline a few days in advance to allow you to go that extra mile. Evaluating your work at the end is a vital exercise. You will find areas you want to edit and it is important to have that time to do it. It may make the difference of getting that project or not.

Set time to go the extra mile


Don’t forget make time for yourself every day, whether its to meet a friend for coffee, have a bath, read a few chapters, you will find a difference, time to destress.

Taking these time management steps and identifying time wasting activities will help you feel more in control and calm and you will eventually see a difference in what you achieve in your design business. Everything depends on your approach and time management. It’s a lot easier said than done but to get ahead in your career time management is essential.

Time Management:

Be proactive to your day not reactive

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