Book Notes: Thread's Not Dead: The Designer's Guide to the Apparel Industry by Jeff Finley

Updated: May 12, 2020

An Artist with a Dream (hey that's me)

Getting paid doing what I love and would do for free

3 Roles: The Artist, Designer, and Entrepreneur

  • Artist: Using intuition. The ability to figure things out that don't always have a clear path to the destination.

  • Designer: Art with a purpose. Sell a product or define a brands identity ... Solving a problem for someone else. Art is who you are, design is what you do.

  • Entrepreneur: The dreamer. The one that allows me to fantasize about making it big one day. A goal and vision and determination to get there. I have the passion and what it takes


11 Character traits of Successful Designers:

  • 1. Genuine fans of design

  • 1. Hungry for knowledge and self improvement. constant work in progress

  • 2. Humble yet confident. Always a student, never a master

  • 3. Willingness to share knowledge. Often writing about experiences and sharing tips. Helping others

  • 4. Unrelenting work ethic because they love it.Working long days and nights.Crave it

  • 5. Undeniable talent

  • 6. Marketing Chops. Self promotion. Interacting on forums. Don't avoid internet or social engagement. Advertisement

  • 7. Get lucky. Put yourself in the right places. Attend events. Network. Help with others who help them. Hustle. Good things happen to those who hustle.

  • 8. Understand branding. Unique style. Don't want to be like everyone else. Consistent with their image. Solid logo. consistent with how they treat others. They have a fresh take on what others are doing. People know what to expect.

  • 9. Solid website. Simple. Easy to see your work, and contact you.

  • 10. Great Communicators. Professional and polite. They put others first. They're honest, direct, straight forward. Make clients feel good and pumped up about themselves. Respond to emails quickly.


Keys to a Great Portfolio:

  • You need your own site and email domain.


5 Traits of a Rock Solid Portfolio

  • 1. Professional presentation. Gallery. Professional mock ups. I need to show my work on a wall.

  • 2. Have good work. Only show your best work. When in doubt, leave it out.

  • 3. No more than one click away. One click to the portfolio

  • 4. Recognizable clients.

  • 5. Targeted. Know what you want to show off and do that well.


  • Work for me or them? Both

Chapter 2. Freelancing

Don't be scared. Collab with others on your same level. You are just learning. You will learn together. Being a newb isn't a bad thing. That's how you build your portfolio.

  • Working for Bands and Indie Clothing companies :

  • Find them social media. Contact them directly. Email them.

Tips when reaching out to a new client:

  • 1. Contact them directly. Politely introduce yourself and let them know that you are a designer/artist. Let them know that I dig what they are all about. Tell them I'd like to work with them and ask how they typically work with other designers. Keep the email simple and direct.

  • 2. Link to my portfolio where they can see relevant work or sketch something for them. They love when someone takes initiative, but be careful of theft of your idea.

  • 3. List a few previous clients.

  • 4. Talk about money when the time is right.


What should I charge?