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Ready Pattern Design & Trends Blog

How do I sell Surface Pattern Designs?

by Michelle Frances

July 1, 2020 12:40 label 10 minutes read label Leave a comment

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Surface pattern designers have the chance of working and specializing in different industries. Having the chance to work for companies that require in-house designers is always a good window of opportunity and allow you to work alongside contemporary artists. This may not be the best option for everyone. With several options available it is necessary to understand the niche of the market and find the best alternative for you.

Surface pattern designs include hand paintings, graphic designs, reparative pattern making, illustrations and even hand lettering. These skills and methods are useful to add aesthetic value to many products including apparel, home décor, wallpapers, wrapping papers, shoes and many more. Several designers consider working for themselves and become entrepreneurs. Following are alternative methods of selling surface pattern designs.

Alternative Mediums of Selling Surface Pattern Designs

Print on Demand

Selling surface pattern designs directly to a seller or consumer is a great solution that avoids the process of getting the content printed on any surface. With market places and shops that get the designers in touch with production teams of companies, a creator of the prints can directly sell their work. The apparel and home décor industry need to keep up with the consumer's demands and are in constant need of pattern designers who can meet their requirements and create motifs based on current trends. There are online market places that work on a similar concept of introducing the buyers and designers, acting as a platform of communication for a business transaction. The designers are meant to work in accordance with the buyer’s requirements and produce designs as per their demand and the designer can quote a price for his services as per what he or she deems fair.

Sell your patterns on your products

This is a viable option for those who plan on opening shop. The designer can create their patterns and print them on the products they desire. A designer can explore options and find out which industry they want to work within. Opening up a shop includes having a start-up investment to invest in making the products and having the designs printed on them. An outlet shop requires a surfeit cost, the other option is to have an online website showcasing the products and creating a social media presence to attract customers. This alternative of selling designs allows the designer to be in complete charge with the final outcome of the finished goods. The list below mentions online marketplaces that allow designers to display their goods or products allowing their customers to shop directly from the website.

  • Etsy- A website with a global reach, allows designers to post their creations and sell them online. Etsy charges the designers a fee for every purchase made on their platform
  • Shopify – A marketplace that displays a variety of goods and products from different industries to customers.
  • Big Cartel – Big Cartel charges the designers a monthly fee for uploading the products on their website, this is considered a more economical option compared to Etsy who charges the users a fee for every purchase.

Trade shows and Exhibitions

Showcasing the designs on a large scale to buyers who are looking for new innovative designs is a great opportunity. It increases the designer’s customer base and introduces them to important buyers in their field. It is also a good start to building a relationship with companies to become their permanent suppliers of new designs. With a variety of trade shows and exhibitions curated for different customers, the designers can sell their patterns or the products with the designs printed on it. The expense incurred is while purchasing the stall during the trade show or exhibition, but is a good opportunity to increase sale and connect with peers.

INPRINT- Marketplace for Designers

A curated marketplace that is very specific about the designs they upload on their website. Unlike other online websites, designers need to be invited or apply to their selection team who judges the designs and if approved the designer can showcase their talent. A creator can sell the prints and patterns directly on this website alongside the work of peers with similarly outstanding designs. INPRINT takes a 50 per cent fee on the purchase of the designs sold on their website.

Online Pattern Sellers

There are websites that are predominantly focused on selling prints and patterns. These platforms have an established customer base and are organised with segregations as per themes, trends and industry. Ready Pattern is a website that is focused on selling prints and patterns and has been in successfully working in the business for 40 years. With the chance to bulk upload designs at zero listing fee, it’s an ideal platform for selling surface design patterns. The designers can showcase their talent and make money from their innovation. Ready Pattern also promotes the designer's work on their social media handles making the designers work more prominent to existing customers. The designers can choose what license they want to issue and charge the rate that they seem fair.

Consideration Before Taking The Right Direction

Taking a new path requires much reflection on several aspects before making the choice that will lead to a fruitful outcome. The list below consists of aspects that will influence the decisions in determining the options most suitable for the designer.

  • Level of expertise – With experience comes deeper knowledge about any subject and a better understanding of the competitive market. Designers at the beginning of their career aspire to try out several options to establish what they are most happy working with.
  • Time- The time a designer wishes to invest while working. For a person who is willing to work the normal 8 hours work daily a full-time job with a firm is a viable option. Working from home as an entrepreneur requires more working hours as the designer is a one man show. For those who want to work part time, taking part in exhibitions and trade shows can be ideal as the designers have to work on designs over a period of few months and work extensively for the few days of the exhibition.
  • Investment – Time is not the only investment a designer needs to make. Monetary aspects play a role in determining how much a designer wishes to invest in their business. Each venture requires a start-up cost. Printing designs on products, procuring of the products, exhibition or trade show stalls, creating of a website, promotion of the designs, listing fees on online market places are some of the costs incurred by surface pattern designers as per the path they wish to take.


How to sell surface designs online?

With abundant choices and the global reach of online market places, a designer is spoilt by choice. In accordance to what the designer wishes to sell, either a finished product with the patterns printed on them or the designs itself, there are various online websites that are established as renowned and trusted market places. Websites like Etsy work with finished goods whereas pattern and prints are sold on platforms like Ready Pattern.

How can one make money as a Surface Pattern Designer?

Surface pattern designers make money by selling their patterns directly to consumers or print it on the desired products and sell the final goods. The designer who choose to be entrepreneurs can upload their designs on online marketplace platforms and get in touch with all customers on a global scale or take part in trade exhibitions to sell their patterns to larger organisations.  

How to Price your Textile Designs?

It is imperative to have the appropriate price for the designs in accordance to the contemporary market quotations, time taken to create the pattern and the method of designing used. The license of the design is a contributing factor while pricing. An exclusive pattern is more expensive than a non-exclusive design. A designer has the liberty to price the artwork according to what they deem is fair and profitable.

About the author

Michelle Frances


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