Creating a Design Submission
Creating a Design Submission
Creating professional design submissions is one of the most powerful ways to communicate your ideas and aesthetic with publishers, editors and yarn companies. Regardless of your experience level, time in the industry, or the size of your portfolio, streamlining your design submissions is an important skill to hone for any designer. Ideas are only as powerful as our ability to communicate them with others — so we’ve put together this handy resource to help you do just that.
We hope you find it helpful in preparing your design submissions for consideration by Brooklyn Tweed, or any other industry publication that may have piqued your interest!
A design sketch is one of the most important aspects of any design submission — it is your opportunity to communicate the key elements of a design at a glance. Your submission will likely be reviewed by an editor who has many designs to evaluate in a set amount of time, so the more information that can be quickly communicated in a sketch, the better.
The most important aspect of a design sketch is to illustrate how the elements of your fabric (stitch patterns, shaping or other details) integrate with the piece as a whole. Garment sketches should clearly indicate overall shape, silhouette and proportion. Accessory sketches can be presented in overhead/flat view, showing the finished shape of the piece, target dimensions and construction method.
Sketches do not need to be perfect, or even artful! Tracing the basic garment shape onto graph paper with simple notes about fit or shaping is a wonderful method for communicating a general sense of your concept. (We’ve provided some helpful resources below if that blank page staring back at you is too intimidating… we know the feeling!)
Fashion designers use simple figure templates called croquis to aid them in efficient and accurate sketching of design ideas. Croquis are used as a template under your drawing paper so you can sketch your garment proportionally as it is overlaid on the human form. This is a great tool for both new and seasoned sketchers alike. (We swear by them in our own design studio!)
Click here to download a simple croquis set to practice sketching. You can also search the internet for a wide variety of croquis styles that might suit your personal sketching aesthetic.
We've gathered a selection of design sketches from our pattern archive that illustrate a range of sketching styles and methods from different designers.
Clearly photographed swatches are another essential feature of a professional design submission. Swatches are the fabric examples you will show an editor to help them visualize the finished fabric in your garment or accessory, including the appearance and scale of various elements in the design.
CREATE YOUR SWATCH(ES)
Make one or more fabric swatches that demonstrate your design’s finished fabric. We recommend a minimum finished size of 6”x6” (15 cm x 15 cm) for all swatches, and that you work in a yarn weight similar to what you intend for the final design.
If your pattern is an allover stitch-pattern, a single swatch is usually sufficient to illustrate your concept. If you have multiple stitch patterns or unique shaping elements in your design, additional swatches are helpful to illustrate these ideas. We recommend blocking your swatches — either washing them by hand, or giving them a gentle steaming with an iron — prior to photographing them so they accurately represent the finished fabric of your design.
If you’ve made multiple swatch iterations for a single design, consider presenting all of the swatches and explain the design’s ongoing refinement process. This gives editors a sense of your process and invites collaborative suggestions for the continued evolution of the idea.
If you are submitting a design proposal for a garment or accessory that you have already prototyped (knit/crocheted a finished sample) — even if it differs from the intended final version somewhat — include photos of these pieces as well. Any form of fabric that reinforces the elements presented in your sketch will be helpful.
PHOTOGRAPH YOUR SWATCHES
When your swatches are complete, clearly photograph them from an overhead position. Remember that your goal is to clearly show the texture of your fabric, so be mindful about the direction of your light source in your photos. For fool-proof lighting, photograph a swatch from overhead on a flat surface that is within 1-3 feet of a medium size window (or larger) during daylight. Cell phone cameras are an easy and efficient way to do this.
View a selection of swatch submissions from our pattern archive.
While sketches and swatches are the most important elements of a design submission, accompanying these with a thoughtfully written design description is the final touch for a well-formed and clearly-communicated design idea.
Within your submission, include a few paragraphs outlining the specifics of your design concept. Focus on answering the following questions:
As a rule, always include your contact information directly within each submission PDF. This ensures that your concepts are directly linked back to you, and guarantees an easy response from editors interested in publishing your work. Include your full name, email address and a short bio (3-8 sentences).
You may wish to provide additional information to personalize your submission — these items are not required, but give editors a nice introduction to the human behind the work. What motivates you as a designer? Where do you draw inspiration in your daily life? Additional information you may wish to include are your location city (helpful for time zone information); your pronouns; links to any online portfolio you may have, Ravelry designer page, and/or applicable social media channels.
PDF files are the universally accepted file type for design submissions. If possible, compress your submission materials for a single design into one PDF file before submitting them. If you are submitting multiple design submissions within the same email, create a single PDF for each individual design concept.
For additional clarity, give your PDF a unique filename that includes your name and a simple descriptor for your design. An example filename might use the following convention:
Descriptive filenaming is a small detail that makes an editor’s job easier and more efficient, so it’s worth a few extra minutes of prep before submitting your final submission for consideration!
Go Forth With Your Ideas!
Though submission guidelines vary somewhat between publishers (always review any guidelines provided), our basic recipe above guarantees a clear and informative submission regardless of recipient.
If you’re interested in submitting your design ideas to Brooklyn Tweed, click below to view our active design calls and general guidelines. We look forward to seeing your work!