How to design a print collection: Five expert tips

We’re obsessed with all things printed at WGSN. From the wallpaper of a new restaurant to a studio’s print at Comocrea (the textile design tradeshow), we’ve seen it, photographed it and logged it in our photographic memory. We are continuously hunting and gathering images, until eventually we find a common thread to build a trend.

We regularly publish original artwork collections based on a particular theme we’ve seen bubbling up. Ideas spark from all sorts of sources. We start by looking beyond fashion, drawing inspiration from art, photography, branding and graphic design before we look to street style, catwalks and tradeshows.

Here are five key points I bear in mind when building or designing a print collection:

1.Create a mood board

This will help consolidate an idea and communicate a clear message. Four strong images are sometimes better than 40. It’s always good to consider your muse – who will wear this print? What season is it for? What market is it for? It’s good practice to answer these questions before you begin the design process.

2.Don’t simply rely on Tumblr

The influx of readily available information and Tumblr accounts full of recurring images means we have to look beyond the Internet for inspiration. Of course, use blogs and Instagram but also look to exhibitions, upcoming films and emerging designers from street art to illustration, to inform trends.

3.Consider perennial favourites

Nothing is new. Many core trends re-appear time and time again and evolve through seasons. Think about how to update perennial trends such as camouflage, animal skins and festival florals. Look to new techniques, effects and styles to refresh these repeating themes.


Pick key colours from your inspiration and pair with popping accents and subtler shades to craft a balanced palette. Colour can really make or break a print so it’s a good idea to try three colourways of a design before you make your final decision.

5.Experiment with scale

Scale often gets forgotten when you’re focusing on the details of a print design. Experimenting with scale can be the most impactful and effective way of renewing a time-honored favourite. Is it a micro-scale ditsy or a strikingly oversized repeat? You can use CAD (Computer-aided design) drawings to quickly visualise the scale on the end product.


Love prints? Get trend Intel from the WGSN Print and Graphics team here.



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