Case Study: Custom Print Design Project For Poolside Party Shirts


There’s so much thought and creativity that goes into a custom print design! If you’re new to the process it can be a little overwhelming to get your head around. To help you get a better understanding, I’ve put together a case study outlining how I worked with my client, Poolside Party Shirts to create a custom print based on their design brief.

Project Background:

Brand: Poolside Party Shirts

Client Name: Samantha Smalpage

When Poolside Party Shirts first came to me they were yet to launch their label and online shop. They really wanted to launch their new brand with a bang, featuring exclusive print designs that would establish their brand’s unique point of difference within the industry. Their brand is all about good times, summer vibes and embracing the Aussie lifestyle and our aim was to capture just that within their artwork!

The print design was to be in repeat and ready for digital print production.

Initial Design Consultation:

Samantha firstly sent through some reference images and colour palette for her print design. This was super helpful because I got a clear idea on her vision and was able to see that she wanted a fairly detailed artwork, allowing me to quote her accordingly. Before any artwork was created I sent through a brief and proposal for her to sign off on. Here’s an example of our design brief…

TEXTILE DESIGN_Proposal_03.jpg

Mood board and Research:

Once Samantha signed off on the brief, I got started on research to further clarify her direction using a mood board of my findings. We agreed that the print would have a dark base with vivid motifs that had a retro tropical vibe. There would be little negative space between the motifs. Samantha then sent through some further direction to describe her vision for the motifs and repeat layout. Sending through references like these are super helpful when explaining your design ideas, as it speeds up the process and reduces back and forth when concepts are being illustrated.

When we both felt confident that we were on the same page, I began creating motifs that would be used within the repeat.

Note: Images are used as references only, I cannot copy anyone else’s artwork.

Samantha’s initial vision and references

Samantha’s initial vision and references

My mood board and further research

My mood board and further research

Samantha’s further explanation of ideas.

Samantha’s further explanation of ideas.

Creating motifs:

Based on our art direction, I illustrated tropical motifs- the orchids, banana leaf and palm leaf we had discussed. I used Photoshop to create this artwork as we wanted to get a hand drawn texture into the motifs.

Because our direction was so clear, I only sent through one concept option. If direction is less clear, I may create 2 concepts for the client to choose from, but in this case I didn't feel it necessary and Samantha loved what I created when I presented it to her! No changes required :)

Here's an example of what I sent her for feedback. I usually send through just a few of the motifs in a suggestive layout for the client to review the drawing style I have applied, before I go ahead and put anything into a repeat layout.

Motif concepts sent to Samantha

Motif concepts sent to Samantha


Creating more motifs and starting the repeat layout:

Once the motifs were approved, I went ahead and created a few more that I could use to add to the repeat composition. When I felt I had the right amount of motifs, I began to set up the repeat tile. The size of the repeat was based on the scale we discussed at consultation stage. I referred to our reference images to create the repeat layout ( all over print with little negative space). When I felt it was close to our vision, I sent it through to Samantha for review. I also asked her to select a scale option. The best way to accurately check scale is to print out the repeat at 100%. I always send through one or two A3 pages of the artwork for the client to print and approve/give feedback on. Samantha selected option 1 and approved the the artwork overall.


Final artwork set up:

The last step in the process is to prepare the artwork files for production. I sent through an editable Photoshop file and flat JPG file to Samantha to send to her supplier for digital printing. I sent all files via dropbox.

This project ran really smoothly and the process took us about 2 weeks with timely communication by both of us. It was a collaborative effort and I allowed Samantha as much input as she liked! Here’s what she had to say about working together…


“Being a business that is heavily print based, the quality of our textile prints directly impacts the quality and success of our products, and ultimately our company. Not only is Christina a delight to work with, but a trusted partner that we can always rely upon to produce high-quality designs that exceed our briefs expectations. Although we would like to keep The Design Parlour as our secret weapon, Christina’s skill and business deserves the attention it has earned” - Samantha Smalpage, Founder of Poolside Party Shirts.


It’s important to note that all projects vary and some clients prefer me to take more of a creative lead with their art direction as they’re not 100% sure what they’re after- which is totally fine :) I hope this gave you some insight into the custom print design process and how I work with my clients to turn their vision to a reality.

Get in touch here to chat about your custom print design project!

Christina x