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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10 Must-Have Digital Textures For Your Toolbox

Whenever you need to elevate a design, textures are an easy option. They can add interest and authenticity to the simplest composition and bring it bang up to date.

In the Longina Phillips Designs studio we have an enormous digital library of pre-made textures.  It’s an essential resource for the designers on our team and we dip into it daily!

Whether you are starting your texture library from scratch or building upon an already well-furnished folder, check out creative director, Bec's suggestions for using texture in 2023.





1. Tie-dye

You can get so much mileage from a few tie-dye textures. Cut them up, make new variations of them, and create more stylized tie-dye designs like the Ulla Johnson pre-fall examples. Or strip them back and use them as a non-print print for a more sophisticated market, home, or menswear (Scotch and soda).

Clockwise from Top: Ulla Johnson, Raquel AllegraScotch...

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3 Tricks Every Artist on a Budget Should Know

With inflation, rent and interest rates rising, life is getting pretty expensive. Throw in Christmas and school holidays and your card is whipped from your purse so often, you think it might catch fire.

You have a little time to paint and create over the break and could really use some new art supplies but, for aforementioned reasons, it's a bit out of the question (unless you cleverly popped them on your Christmas wish list!)

Materials can dwindle quickly in our commercial studio of 15 designers. And, like you, we’re on a budget. If there’s anything we can do to get the absolute most out of a tube of paint, brush or pad of paper, we will!

So here's how we rein in our art supply spend, in hopes to get you through this holiday season with piles of beautiful, completed work and your credit card in one piece.

1. Reactivate dried paints

  • Unlike acrylic or oil based paints, when a blob of gouache or watercolour dries on your palette, you can use it again. Wet it...

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4 Best Flower Drawing Tips | Take Your Motifs From Meh to AMAZING

drawing how-tos Dec 01, 2022

Flowers. Fully understanding these botanical wonders is a non-negotiable for any great fabric designer. From ditsy daisies on intimates to intricate orchids for swimwear or big bold poppies on apparel - each species has its place in our design library.


Images of plants and flowers are so readily available that we tend to rely on them a lot. But, while using a picture of a flower as a reference is a time-saver, drawing from nature provides us with so much more information about the subject. 

So, it's time to head outdoors! Here's Kat's top four tips for flower gazing in RL.

Words by: Katrina. The Print School Instructor

1. Draw Instinctually

One of the greatest things about working ‘en plein air,’ is the opportunity to capture the essence of the flower or the gesture of the leaves without getting too caught up in the detail.

We tend to work more quickly as time is limited and, without the comfort and familiarity of the studio, our habits are...

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7 Surprisingly Effective Watercolor Tips Our Designers Needed to Hear

painting how-tos Nov 17, 2022

Recently the big boss, Lola, invited a watercolor artist to teach our professional watercolorists to err.. paint in watercolor. And for a very good reason. Keep reading to find out why!

"We should 'feed our creativity' constantly, no matter what stage of our career," she says.

"Watching someone else paint inspires our creativity. That 'someone else' may use a different technique, different tools, composition and materials and by watching we get that 'ah ha' moment that is so inspirational."

So she asked Sydney artist, Susie Murphie, to come to the studio and show the designers how she paints watercolour blooms in her loose and gestural style.

Here's what they took away from the workshop:  


1.  Stamp out the water

Stamp out the water on your brush before applying it to the paper or palette so you don’t drown your paints. - Phobe, Junior Designer

2. Create a “creamy” consistency

Create a creamy consistency with the paints on...

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Fashion Trends SS23 | Top Runway Print Designs

print design trends Nov 03, 2022

Spring Summer '23 was a grand slam for turn-of-the-century trends. The Y2K-slash-90s vibe could be felt on every runway, every model, or just about.

Next year there'll be no escaping it. So fan or not a fan, as a print designer operating in the fashion world (and EVERY surface print pattern designer operates in the fashion world) you'll need to the key styles to focus on creating. 

Luckily Rebecca, our Creative Director, is here again to show you the way into 2003 err.. sorry, 2023.

1. Lace, crochet and ropes

Tactile fabrications are key, with lace, crochet and rope-type fabrications across a myriad of designers and cities.
We know this is not a print trend per se, but it's still a surface pattern and not to be ignored. When we see something across so many collections, we know it's going to be huge, and that we should incorporate it in some capacity in our collections.  It might be as a background texture, behind a floral or a stand-alone printable crochet. ...

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