THE DESIGN PHASE
Once you’ve done your research, now comes the exciting bit. This will be where your research and planning pays off as you’ll start to see the designs come together.
DEVELOP SOME MOOD BOARDS
As a good starting point, you’ll want to develop mood boards. These can be about the design elements you’re particularly keen on, for examples, styles, colours, fabrics, prints as well as anything else you feel is important. This allows you to start to create a visual representation of how the product is going to look and feel, which is important from a design standpoint. If you are a designer yourself, then this is where you can really let the creative juices run free and experiment with all kinds of processes, patterns and concepts. If you’re not so inclined in that area, then its best to hire someone to take you through this part of the process, while you stick to what you’re good at
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE MOOD BOARDS ARE FINISHED?
Once all the details have been added and the boards are complete, you now have a reference point to keep coming back to. If you are a designer then you can start sketching up ideas. If you are hiring a designer to work on the designs for you then the mood boards are great starting point to discuss your ideas and a great way to identify what you do and don’t want. A designer will usually take your mood boards and start sketching up some ideas for you based on these boards. A designer will sketch up multiple ideas for each product group, for example if you are looking for one shirt design, the designer will draw up 5-6 options for you to look at. You may like the collar on one and the sleeve on another. This way you can discuss with the designer and rework until you end up with your finished design.
CREATING YOUR INITIAL RANGE
When you are working on your initial range, try and think about how you can keep your costs down. This involves making sure the colours and fabrics cross styles. Don’t over design as this will add more cost to the garment. If you have a style with 8 zips on then this is going to increase the cost of the garment. Do you really need 8 zips? Would it work with 2? Do you need so many panels?
It is worth keeping your initial range small, this is a good way to test the market and not overstretch your budget. Producing a range is not a cheap process by any means. A good starting point is to have range which is between 6-10 pieces in order to provide a selection of merchandising options and to show the product in a range of colours. It is also worth considering how you are going to use your branding and to factor in costs for thing like labels, swing tickets and embroideries. Once you have your initial range, then you will need to put tech packs together to send to the factories for costings. Please see Designing a Product – Processes – What is a Tech Pack?