Commonly Misused Fashion Words – Motifs, Flat Sketch, Placement Prints

With our Commonly Misused Fashion Words segment, we aim to correct the wrong notion fashion entrepreneurs have of certain words. With regards to fashion and designing, what do the words motif, flat sketch and placement mean and how can they be infused seamlessly in fashion brands?


In fabric designing, a motif is considered any element in a design, whether they are repeated or single elements. These elements, which can either be simple or complex, straight or curvy, regimented or random, are a great part of design tradition because they are used to convey different themes.

Apart from fashion uses, motifs such as flowers, dots, stripes, and plaids have been used over time for visual art, furniture, jewellery and many more. Motifs are a designer’s means of communication to translate the style and concept of the fabric.

Flat Sketch 

A flat sketch is known as a two-dimensional technical drawing which illustrates a garment with basic solid lines. Traditionally, the pencil on paper method was used to show flat sketches, but with the advent of fashion illustration applications, many fashion designers have now ported to this new method.

With applications like Techpacker and Adobe Illustrator, flat sketches are made to be simple so that a whole team of people can understand and work on it easily. A flat sketch is very essential during fashion designing as it helps to communicate the ideas of the designer clearly.

Placement Prints 

Placement Prints are prints that are usually applied to the fabric after it has been cut or made into a garment. These designs or motifs are strategically positioned on the outfit depending on how it interacts with the seam lines.

Unlike all over textile prints where the prints are transferred all over the fabric, placement prints are usually stand-alone designs, that is, they exist just in a portion of the fabric.

How These Words Should Be Used 

In fabric or textile production, the patterns that are usually repeated on a fabric, or arranged side by side are regarded as a motif. Whether geometric, floral or novelty patterns, the motifs on the textile communicate a theme that the designer wants.

Whether done on paper or using an illustration application, any two-dimensional diagram that is used to outline the look of a garment in a very detailed way is regarded as a flat sketch. It does not matter the method used to design the flat sketch.

Placement prints are usually unique as they are designed to stand out from the other spaces and designs in the fabric.

These are some of the terms that fashion entrepreneurs should be familiar with to infuse seamlessly into their brand. For some other commonly misused fashion words, click here.






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