According to Goldstein design is defined as any arrangement of lines, forms, colour, and textures.
Design is classified into two types: structural and decorative designs.
Structural design is a form of construction that is built into the cloth during the process of its manufacturing.
Weaving is the most common method of producing structural design. Non-woven methods like knitting, lace making can also be included in this category.
Decorative design is applied to the surface of the cloth to ornament it.
The common method of producing decorative design in the field of textiles includes printing, dyeing, embroidery, appliqué and painting in addition to trimmings and certain finishing methods.
Decorative or ornamental design may be expressed five ways –naturalistic/conversational, Stylized/floral, geometric, abstract and ethnic forms.
Naturalistic designs/ conversational:
This depicts real objects in a natural manner. Flowers, animals, plant forms, human figure of any other object may be selected for representation certain traditional patterns. They also called novelty patterns. Examples are Animals, animal skins, cartoons, fruit, games, toys, mythological designs, vegetables, shells, sports and jungle etc.
Stylized designs/ Floral designs:
These distort real objects. In this natural designs are simplified, exaggerated, rearranged or even distorted to achieve the purpose of the design. In textile industry, patterns of richly coloured, delicately petaled roses and patterns of rose’s sharp thorns are both referred to as floral. The floral category includes all the gatherings of the flower garden, in fact including grasses, but agricultural produce like fruit and vegetables is considered a conversational subject. Floral motifs are more common in women’s clothes and furnishing materials. Examples of floral patterns are
a) All over non-directional: The motifs of the patterns cover more than 50 % of the field. Such layouts are popular with textile and fashion designers because they tend to disguise a pattern repeat.
b) Allover set: It is a formal layout of grids and diagonals.
c) Baskets, flowerpots and vases: These motifs help to organize a floral pattern, providing a visual focus. Flower spilling out of basket can have a romantic, uplifting effect. Flowerpots and vases resolve the issue of how to deal with plants untidy roots and stems.
d) Bouquets and nosegays: These are popular with designers because they offer a way to combine a variety of flowers in one motif. They evoke images of romance, giving gifts- and sentiments of spring.
These are based on pure forms of the circle, rectangle and triangles etc. Geometric motifs include stripes, dots, checks, and plaids as well as many less usual forms. A geometric is an abstract or non-representational motif, a shape that is not a picture of something out in the real world. Examples of geometric designs are basket weave design, check board, chevron and herringbone weave, diagonal stripes, diaper pattern, ogee pattern, plaids and polka dots
These have little or no reference to real object. Abstract implies an element of impression and a greater freedom than is found in most geometric designs. This type of design is used in modern art.
Most of the patterns illustrated in this chapter however were produced not for the overseas market but for the domestic one. Ethnic fashions – meaning in textile vocabulary, any pattern or style with a foreign or exotic feeling – come and go in western design. The ethnic styles have their day in western design and then submerge, to reappear Whenever some one senses that the time is right for a new twist on the constant demand for a folkloric pattern. Examples are American Indian look, batik and Indonesian look, Egyptian look, Mexican design and paisley, tie and dye patterns.
Art movements and period styles:
Designs like these are often the links between cloth and the fine arts- they are part of movements and ideas of the age, and are moved to carry theme through in textiles. Examples are Jacobean looks and super graphics
For each of these ways one can interpret the designs based on one of the following crieteria:
Motif: the most important factor in any design, determines the family to which the pattern belongs. This is the basic image –a rose, a square, a clown a paisley
Layout: It describes the arrangement of the motif- whether it is spaced widely or closely on the ground, in neat order or apparently at random, or in rows that form stripes.
Colour: designs are so classified when a particular dye- indigo, madder or Turkey red say –is the strongest element of their look.
You can learn theory of creating patterns here