Pros Talk Productivity + What it Means in the Design World

Words by Lyndsay, Creative Lead and Senior Designer.

Struggling to create at a commercially viable pace? You’re not alone. Keeping productivity high in the fast-paced world of fabric design is a daily challenge, even for those of us who have been in the game for years. 

But, while we Longina Phillips Designs designers can sometimes find it hard to fly through a brief, we have one important ace up our sleeve: Photoshop training. Or, more specifically, certain skills that help us complete a job much faster than when following textbook (aka. more longwinded) processes.  

Fellow designer Steph and I give honest answers to your common questions.

When you first started in the fashion industry, did you find the expectations to finish designs quickly quite shocking?

Lyndsay: For sure. I remember being at university and having so much time and freedom to really craft each design in Adobe Photoshop and hoping that my whole career could be like that!...

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Swim Design Dos and Don'ts

Longina Phillips Designs for Monte and Lou

Are you interested in designing for swimwear clients? It's a thriving market for prints and an excellent opportunity to express your love for vibrant colors and bold floral patterns. Here we share our most important dos and don'ts to help you get started

Prints by Longina Phillips Designs pictured left to right: Zimmerman, Skatie.

DO: Stick to a smaller scale

When designing for swimwear, it's crucial to consider the shape and size of the final garment. Imagine a small bikini – if your motifs are too large, most of the design will not be visible. It's best to keep designs at a smaller scale for swimwear. 

Prints by Longina Phillips Designs: Both Maaji.

DO: Balance your colors

Color plays a significant role in any design. Take into account the distribution of color and ensure even coverage throughout. Since the garments can be cut from anywhere along the fabric, you don't want one bikini top to have a...

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2 Minute Tutorial: Create a Monochrome Floral Design


Monochromatic floral prints are trending in nearly all markets: from swim to ready-to-wear and interiors.

And if the recent shows are anything to go by? They'll only get more popular. 

Images left to right: Hansen&Gretel, Michael Kors, Cinq a Sept.

What exactly are 'monochromatic florals’? These designs feature elements that are drenched in a single color. They might have an outline or not, sometimes with shading, but always within the same tonal range.

Images left to right: Seed Heritage, Acler, Shona Joy

Our designers at Longina Phillips love them because they are so quick and easy to create! 

Images left to right: Seed Heritage, Zara, Bach Mai Bam

Inspired to try your own? Follow our four simple steps:


1. Choose Your Elements:

While you can draw your set of floral motifs from scratch, consider saving time by using pre-made motifs. The Creative Elements offers various sets that are great for this project and for very little money. When...

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Best Composition Tips for Surface Designers

"Composition. It is something that I talk about a lot with our designers and freelancers and it is considering negative space."

"So I've got a few designs here to talk though. I've got some that work and one that's not working, as well," says Bec, Creative Director of Longina Phillips Designs. 

While all of our bigger courses guide you to create stunning, commercial compositions, the Complete Repeat Course for Surface Designers is the one that will really up level your layouts - across ALL print design categories.

1. Key composition tip for swimwear prints 

"This tropical design here is a great composition for swimwear because wherever the swim bikini is going to fall you're going to get a similar color distribution on every style. Which means that when it comes to production no matter where it is cut it's going to look very similar to the piece that they bought online."

2. How color factors into your composition

Not sure if your color choices are always...

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2 Minute Tutorial: Design a Floral with Flow

Embarking on the creation of an all-over floral pattern is more than just arranging flowers on a canvas – it's an intricate dance of creativity, balance, and beauty! Sara, our Head of Design shows you how she approaches an all-over floral layout using pre-existing elements from The Creative Elements.  


Crafting the Canvas: A Step-by-Step Guide

1. Place your elements on the blank canvas:


Elevate your digital florals with our popular Photoshop for Fabric Design: Illustration course!


Sara initiates the process by strategically placing all elements at the bottom of the canvas. Each element resides on a separate layer, allowing for independent movement and adjustment.

“I start with all my elements on my page down the bottom so I can see what I have to work with,” Sara says.  


2. Create Your First Bunch:

A floral design is usually comprised of a few interesting bunches that have a combination of...

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Print Design Pearlers: How to draw fast, excel at your job and avoid doing this!


Want to learn to draw fast, create production-friendly designs, and become a kick-ass surface designer? Bec, Creative Director of Longina Phillips Designs, gives you some of her BEST insider insights here.

For more juicy info sign up for our next mastermind intake in January 2024.  

You'll receive direct input and create ten highly commercial, SELLABLE designs with career-defining superpowers.


How to draw fast

As commercial designers, we need to work fast. Understanding which corners to cut is vital. It's okay to make the laborious task of drawing faster by tracing motives. You can edit as you draw. This can save hours and then you can spend more time making sure your colours are pleasing and your composition Interesting. Watch the video here.


Biggest printing mistake to avoid

If you are planning on printing your designs to fabric, there are a few things to consider. When ink is printed to fabric, it bleeds ever so slightly into the weave or fibres,...

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Surface Design Trade Shows: Insider Insights

business tips Jun 15, 2023


Surface design trade shows are vibrant industry events where visitors can explore the latest trends and technologies and source new product for their businesses. It's a multi-billion dollar enterprise globally (that's right, billion with a b!). So what are the big shows and, as a print designer, should you get involved? Here's our trade show round-up, with insider insights on what it's like to sell at a stand.


Longina Phillips Designs has had booths at shows for over a decade. "For us, it's a marketing exercise," says Longina Phillips (Lola), owner, and founder of our medium-sized design studio. You have buying teams from the biggest fashion and lifestyle brands like H&M, ASOS, and Zara, and fabric converters like SET come in to buy in bulk.  "So while financially, a show can be very good, it’s also very important for a studio to see and be seen," she says.

Buying teams are constantly changing. "You have people...

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Studio Critiques | What's Wrong with This Tropical Floral?

Hi, everyone. We are going to be discussing this very first tropical design that one of our designers has been working on. So we are working quite heavily towards swimwear at the moment. We have a big show coming up in Paris where we sell a lot of swimwear designs. So we're really focused on making sure we've got beautiful, happy colors for swimwear and really great vibrant designs. 




So this one was done for a very free-forming tropical leaf story. 

And you can see here that the designer has done a great job with color, super commercial. I especially love this green and pink combination. It's really happy. It has white in there for freshness, which is really important for swimwear. So I think the only issue I would have with this design is that it's a little bit messy.

So she's done this on the iPad, which is fine.

No problems with iPads as long as you don’t do everything in Procreate. As long as there's...

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Designers: Why you need to go shopping!


In this business, it’s crucial to stay in front of fashion trends however, online research can only take you so far. Visiting retail stores in person can provide valuable insights you just can't get from browsing online. Check out the link for our four best reasons to go shopping right now!


Today, I want to talk about the importance of shopping at bricks and mortar stores. As Head of Design at a world-leading surface design studio, I can tell you that in the business it’s crucial you stay in front of fashion trends.

However, online research can only take you so far. Visiting retail stores in person can provide valuable insights and inspiration that you just can't get from browsing online. Keep watching for our 4 best reasons to go shopping ASAP!

1. Learn from watching others shop

First and foremost, when you are in a retail store, you get a better understanding of how a print customer buys a print. 

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Introduction to Surface Pattern Design + Photoshop

Many of you ask why you should learn to design surface print patterns in Photoshop when you already know how to make them in Illustrator.

Others ask, What on earth is a 'repeat' and do I really need to know how to make one to become a professional print pattern or surface designer?

Our lovely Longina Phillips Designs designer, Phoebe, clears it all up in this week's vlog.


Why use Photoshop?

As a studio, we use Photoshop as it allows our designers to have the most creative freedom when it comes to editing and manipulating their prints.


When do we use Illustrator?

So a good time to use Illustrator is when you want to create vector-based artworks. So they are shapes that use points and anchors instead of pixels. So it means that they are infinitely scalable. So a good time to use Illustrated would be if you're doing a Pucci print or maybe you're doing a Geo print that you don't know what the scale of it might be. So it could be put on a billboard. And in that case,...

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