Stage one - Portfolio Format

Before you start your portfolio, you need to decide what format you’re going to use. You need to be able to email companies/recruiters your work, so having your own website I think is the best way forward and these days it’s so easy to put one together. I’ve have made a list of the best ones I think which are the most user-friendly and gives a professional layout. If you don’t feel comfortable, you can always add pages on the illustrator document then PDF the file. Remember to rasterize each artworks and compress the file when you’re saving. You may also wish you have a hard copy but as this can be quite expensive, you can also bring your laptop in which is fine and quite common these days.



Best websites

Adobe Portfolio-Creative cloud account

You need to have an account with Creative Cloud. If your still a student at your University/College should already have this. If they don’t, and as long you have an up to date laptop see below for the prices.

Students and teachers
You’re eligible for a big discount. Save 65% on Creative Cloud. Just £16.24/mo. incl. VAT.

Industry-leading creative apps with simple license management and easy deployment. Starting at £25.28/mo. excl. VAT
Get the entire collection of creative apps and more for £49.94/mo. incl. VAT.


Behance (Which is owned by Adobe)



Stage two - What to show in your portfolio

Before you start building your portfolio, you need to have an idea of what company/market you are aiming for. Make sure you’re showing them designs which will be inline with the company and so they can connect with your work. Sometimes when we are trying to get our foot in the door, we need to take a job which wasn’t our first choice, so you may need to tweak your portfolio depending on the company by adding in mini capsule projects/ collections which will really help you.

TIP 1 – Show a beginning, middle and end.

Each project/collection in your portfolio should have a beginning, middle, and end. Show a maximum of 5 projects and remember quality over quantity. Whether this is your first portfolio or if you’ve been in the industry for a few years, employers will want to see how your work fits in with their brand and are you a versatile designer in this fast past industry. Every season you’ll be working on different trends so you need to show you can adapt your hand to a different style. Try not to duplicate the same print for a collection in your portfolio, just pick the strongest version. Remember quality over quantity!

TIP 2 – Be unique

It’s good to have commercial handwriting but try not to show them looks which they have seen time after time. If you’re going to show a design which is from a common trend, for example camo or tropical woodland print, make sure it’s different and stands out. Employers want to see something new and exciting. I’m not saying all your designs have to be like that, but you do need to show uniqueness and as a designer that’s your job, your always looking at what’s the new move on!

TIP 3 – Know the techniques

Know your print techniques! You need to understand the techniques you are using in your designs. If you’re not familiar with these processes, download my take your time learning these techniques, which industry experts use on a daily basis. Creating your own personal swatch book is a useful and handy backup to have. I ‘m constantly building mine with new ideas so I’m keeping on top of the latest print techniques.

Tip 4 – Don’t forget your artwork specs

Once you’re familiar with the print technique, it’s a good idea to show an artwork spec in your portfolio. When you land your first job, you will be responsible for producing these specs ready for factory use. If you’re not familiar and never done one before, go to my artwork spec section and see how these are created. I would definitely show examples in your portfolio and talk through them with your interviewee. They will be confident in you that you understand these important techniques which are vital in this industry.

TIP 5 – Show mockups

Mockup the shapes of what your print/graphic it’s going on. If this is for a collection for fashion or interior design, drop your prints in the shape to give the interviewee an overall view of your project/collection. It would be good to show an example of this and also it’s just easier to see the prints/ graphics all on one page for them to view the final execution. If you’re not sure how to pattern fill, go on to the patter fill tutorial and download the pdf.


  1. mood board
  2. Prints including some artworks specs
  3. Final range-Prints in the shapes for the overall look of the collection/project
  4. Repeat to next project/collection.

Stage three - Applying for work

Three ways of finding your perfect job

Company HR team

Email the companies HR team and send them the link to your website or email your pdf portfolio.


You need to be confident. Everyone is fighting for the same jobs as you. You need to get out there and start contacting with people, they won’t come to you, you have to find them. Email the design director directly and raise your interest. I personally wouldn’t email any designers because I doubt your message will be passed on!  You can also do Linkedin Premium where you get 30 days free trial and this can access more contacts for you. Take advantage of it and remember to cancel before your 30 days!


Whether you’re looking for somewhere to showcase your work to get exposure or looking for general inspiration, view my top exhibitions to attend. For those who may not be able to go, I will be there to cover a full report.

UK Exhibitions

New Designers

Bubble London- Kidswear

Text Fusion

London Print Design Fair

London Fashion Week Festival

Print Fair, Birmingham

Home & Gift

Europe Exhibitions

Premier vision, Paris

Playtime -Kidswear, Paris

Pitti Filati -Knitwear, Florence

USA Exhibitions

National Stationary Show

Premier Vision, New York


Print Source


Print Studio Companies


Westcott Design Studio


Pattern & Cloth



Contact recruiters so you’re on their books and they will help find you work. Bare in mind, they can be quite slow getting back to you and by then someone has already got the job! It’s handly looking on their websites to see what jobs are being advertised but make sure you have contacted the company hr team and LinkedIn also for a faster response.

I’ve made a list of recruiters which specialize in particular markets.

BOF Business for fashion




Stage four - Interview tips

You should be very proud that you have got to this stage. You should be confident because they have chosen to see your work because it stood out from the rest. To be prepared you need to understand what the company represents and who are their competitors! If you have designs which you think could be a move on from a particular look they are good at… highlight this! Let them know that you understand the brand and ways you can bring newness to the department.

  • What’s their style/have they got a particular look they are known for
  • Who would they look for, for inspiration
  • Who are their competitors

Stage five - Sustainablity

As you will be the next generation of designers, sustainability is key on every brand’s agenda and is something you need to think about. 70% of carbon admissions come from the fashion/textiles industry, so you need to make a difference no matter how small, we all as designers need to counter this going forward.

 Ways how you can highlight this 

  • Design prints which are multi-directional repeats. This creates less fabric waste and is also cost-effective for the company
  • Reducing colours in a print. Each colour layer costs approx £200 per screen. Reducing colours is eco-friendly and cost-effective
  • Leather applications. Use Fly leather instead of real leather. It’s 90% fewer carbon admissions and is more cost-effective
  • Sequin & Glitter. Do you really need this on your design, will it make a difference if it’s there or not!

Stage 6 - Be yourself & ask questions!

Remember to be yourself and ask the interviewer questions. Interviews are as much about the candidate as they are the work they can produce. The interviewer will be looking to find the right person to fit the team and company culture, not just someone that can do the work. Make sure you have your questions written down so you don’t come out of the interview thinking “I wish I had asked…”  or ” I forgot to ask…”. Ask them about areas of the role you are unclear on, what the team is like and what do they enjoy the most about working there.

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