Do You Need a Technical Designer?

Working to get a new idea to production is never a straight shot, especially for new designers and entrepreneurs.  Luckily, there are technical designers that serve as a liaison between the design and production process who can help you on your journey to production.  This week, we traveled to the Upper West Side to learn exactly about the role of technical designers from Nicole Melendez.

The Role of the Technical Designer

Technical designers are experts at helping you figure out how to make that great idea that you sketched. It just takes an idea.  When you get a sketch from design –it’s go time! This may be a  hand sketch or a sketch already done in Illustrator by design.   Nicole shared “the first thing people come to me about is design. I ask for rough sketches and turn it into technical sketches that factories can read.”

nicmensketch

All the details of your design are included in technical sketches or a tech pack.  Technical designers can create this informative sheet that designers use to communicate to a manufacturer all the necessary components needed to construct a product. Tech packs typically include measurements, materials, colors, trim, hardware, grading, labels, tags, etc. Any crucial aspect of your design needs to be described in your tech pack. The more detailed a tech pack is, the less room there is for error.

A Significant Difference

Hiring a technical designer is optional but tremendously helpful in executing top quality production of your design.  Technical designers know grading rules and make sure your design maintains a consistent fit. Additionally, they ensure that the quality of your garments is in line with your brand’s quality standards. The role of technical designers expands into presentation as they can also work with marketing and photography teams.  They will help  create impressive photos of the clothing that can be used for ads or your brand’s website.  

A Typical Day at Worknicole-melendez-desk

Nicole shared that her day starts at 5am. “I take Miko, the office dog, for a walk.”  When she comes back, she answers emails for about 3 hours. This includes answering alot of inquiries, scheduling meetings, and sending information as needed to clients and factories.

Once her contracted pattern makers come in she organizes their workload and her own. Her staff includes experts that have worked with big companies like Calvin Klein and Macy’s.  She likes people to feel “they are working from home, but still in a professional setting.” She shared with us that she even encourages naps during break time.  

Towards the afternoon Nicole visits factories based on the various projects she is working on. She is usally back by 5pm, when Miko is barking and kicking everyone out of the office so he can go on his walk.

Working With Clients

nicole-melendez-with-tanyaWhen it comes to clients, Nicole says she is “not picky” because she wants to make “design development accessible for the everyday joe that has an idea.”  Though you may not know much about design, Nicole places a heavy emphasis on knowing your business and industry. “I ask questions like ‘Why does your business exist?’ ‘What is your unique selling point?’ ‘Have you thought about the competition?’ She sends her clients to stores to scope out the competition.

Nicole Melendez’s experience as a lead designer in a manufacturing industry makes her an expert at helping designers go from sample to production to people’s closet.  Ready to get your idea start? Message Nicole Melendez Design and Consulting Group.


Interested in making a tech pack for your brand? Take a look at these 29 companies on Maker’s Row who can help you out:

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  • Jason Maderight

    As a manufacturer, I find that the most important reason to have a technical designer is to clearly communicate what is going to be made. Having a great tech pack is essential getting things made right. During the next samples, everyone can have exact details on what to change, where, how. It’s like having blueprints before building! If the designer shows up with exactly what they want made, we can do that too, but every iteration will rely on a techpack which we will then make anyway.