How to Price Exclusive Textile Designs

* image from Milleneufcentquatrevingtquatre‘s Spring collection

 

I want to take a moment to answer the #1 question that I am asked: “How much should I charge for an exclusive print design?”

The industry norm is between $350- $700 per design. I know this is a very wide range, but I recommend using your best judgment and taking into account the amount of time that was spent on the creative process. If a design takes you 30 minutes, it probably falls in the $350-$450 range (depending on how much design mojo you have on that particular day). If you create a hand-painted masterpiece with extravagant details and so forth, it should probably sell for between $600-$700. If a design takes you months, charge whatever floats your boat. Shoot for the stars.

If you are selling the copyright to the design it is also very important to make sure that it is not too similar to a pattern that you have sold in the past or plan to sell in the future. As designers, we can see all the details and distinctions in our prints, but if the average consumer cannot tell a distinct difference between two pieces of artwork then they are too similar. So what’s a designer to do? Sell one and update the other. A few years ago I purchased a piece of artwork from a studio, only to see almost the exact same print in their collection the following season. It was infuriating and I have never worked with them again.

What comes with the price tag of exclusive artwork is the guarantee that the buyer is getting something exclusive. At the end of the day just go with your gut and charge fair prices. Your customers will appreciate your honest pricing, will know that they are getting value for their money and will return season after season.

-Michelle

 

 

HowToSellYourArtwork 2

85 Comments on “How to Price Exclusive Textile Designs

  1. Hello. An interesting article. I love to come up with textile design, but unfortunately at us in Russia it is difficult to sell. I really want to find a company willing to buy my pictures and be in demand. So I could do his favorite thing and was able to feed my family.

  2. Hi Jaenne, sorry we missed this! A great place to start looking is the exhibitor lists for trade shows like Surtex, Printsource or Indigo. When you find a good match that is in line with your artistic style, I suggest reaching out to them by sharing a link to your portfolio website or following the submission process listed on their site. Best of luck!

  3. Thank goodness I found this site! I’m an artist that wants to break into the surface designer world though I have absolutely no knowledge of the industry. One of the comments in this article concerns me. My designs are extremely unique from any other designs out there. I have the ability to create an endless array of designs. The artwork is one of a kind and absolutely stunning. However, I’m concerned that different patterns with the same colors could by chance be similar to each other though they would never be the same. The art form itself dictates this. Taking a peek at my web site explains it best. Is it possible to break into the surface designer industry when your designs are extremely specific in nature? I had envisioned a specific fashion designer using my designs exclusively for their collection before the design might ever hit mass market due to this very unique look. While most of the designs would be worlds apart from each other there definitely might be times they could become similar. Is there a way to proceed best when you have a very specific design style?

  4. Oops, not only did I have a typo in my web site address, I found answers to my questions in posts I hadn’t seen. I’m not great viewing websites with my iPhone, hahaha. I realize I’ve come to the right place and I need to sign up for your courses. Would it be wisest to create a portfolio first or should I jump right into the courses?

  5. Hi Lisa! For artists that have a very specific/recognizable style often licensing is a better way to go than selling the copyrights to the designs. In licensing you retain your copyright and grant usage to to licensees, often in a variety of different markets such as stationery, quilting fabric, accessories, home decor, etc. Licensing is much less common in the fashion world since it is such a fast paced industry and patterns do not tend to have the same longevity, though it is not unheard of. In response to your second comment, our Sellable Sketch e-course in the Textile Design Lab is a great starting point for putting together a portfolio, as it guides you through the steps to developing a cohesive pattern collection. You can read more about it here: https://textiledesignlab.com/course/the-sellable-sketch/ If you have further questions please feel free to shoot us an email at info@patternobserver.com!

  6. Hi Chelsea! Do you know much about the pricing breakdown with an agent (selling copyrights)? I have some experience in fashion textile design and am comparing a couple different reps for my work, but I want to make sure I am getting a fair percentage in the deal. Any experience, notes, or facts would be appreciated :)

  7. Hi Michelle, thanks for your response! That is what I thought also but someone was trying to sell me on 40-60 (60 to the rep!). I thought that sounded way off base, but I wanted to get input from others in similar positions.

  8. Hi! Glad to help! 40-60% is an accurate range, but 50% is the most common percentage. Something else to consider is if the agent/ studio coves the cost of the printing of your work. Within the past few years some agents and studios have started asking designers to print their own work or they charge for this service and it is a pretty significant expense. Also, will be charging to take your work to print shows? This is another new trend in the industry.

  9. Interesting, ok. Thanks again for further detail, Michelle! That seems kind of unfair to charge to take work to print shows, I have always understood that to be part of the whole deal in an artist/rep relationship.

    Does your textile design lab include job boards or rep contacts?

  10. Hi Michelle,
    I wondered if you could help with with a few outstanding questions.
    Do you need to give a contract to a buyer when they buy an exclusive design. Should they pay you straightaway if you are at a trade show?
    Do files have to be in layers? When selling designs what is a good way to sell them – in families, colours, trends?
    Also I wanted to join the photoshop course, but didn’t have time. I am OK with photoshop, but think I need to cover a few things still. Could I still purchase the beginner to work through myself and then join the advanced in September?
    Thank you
    Rosie

  11. Hi Rosie! As far as contracts go it’s never a bad idea to have your terms in writing–The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook of Pricing & Ethical Guidelines has some sample contracts you may find helpful. Some companies are ready to write a check on the spot but often designers will write up an invoice and then send digital files to the client after the trade show wraps.

    Layered files are usually preferable to most clients as it allows them to adjust them to suit their needs, whether changing the scale of a motif, changing layout, etc. Everyone has their own way of doing things as far as presenting your designs to sell but dividing up into basic categories like floral, geo, stripes, etc. can be a helpful way to categorize, or by trend is a great idea too! It’s really up to you and there’s no wrong way, you just want to make sure your portfolio is easy to navigate and has some rhyme or reason to the organization.

    Yes, you are welcome to purchase Photoshop for Designers if you’d like! We are already into Week 3 so as you mentioned you would be working through the course at your own pace, and Sherry’s forum support will end in mid-March, but as long as you are okay with that feel free to purchase the course!

    Best,
    Chelsea

  12. Thank you. So glad to be part of pattern observer. So helpful. 8ve just been reading some of the older comments which have been a good help. I realised I have been designing and putting all of my designs into repeat which may of not been necessary. Saying that I don’t feel complete until it’s in a repeat so going forward I’m not sure what to do. Is the American market completely different to the European market?

    Is there a link to purchase the PSD 1 course?

    Thank you for all your advise.

    Best wishes Rosie

  13. Hi Roseanna!

    I only work in the US so I really can’t compare the two markets. I am working on an update for this post and have been asking European designers and the pricing seems to be the same.

    The PSD 1 course started a few weeks ago, but you can sign up to be notified when the September course opens up for registration here: https://patternobserver.com/photoshop/

    Thanks!

  14. Hi Michelle,
    I am an artist and have experience for more than 10 years. I know how to work with photoshop n illustrator n make patterns; however, I don t know everything about illustrator and photoshop. Do you think I still need to take courses? Also, I am not sure what courses I need to take as I want to be a professional surface pattern designer.
    Should I have a certain amount of design and then start marketing my designs? Which courses do you think are essential for me to take considering that I know Color theory and composition very well.
    Thank you
    Sophie

  15. hi guys!
    I am quite confused and frustrated atm. I heard Us is the land of opportunities and since a year and a half i have been striving hard to get into the system related to textile fields since i did my degree in it but no luck…i made a site as well…it needs improvement i know but i need your help guys. Please guide me! i am new to US and i am quite behind than where i should have been.

  16. Hi Asaleem, thanks for reaching out! I encourage you to check out our Textile Design Lab e-learning community which includes a variety of e-courses, guest expert trainings, weekly live pattern critiques and many other resources you may find useful. A great way to get your foot in the door is to do an internship with a studio or manufacturer and/or to find a studio or agent to sell your prints. Textile Design Lab members have access to an extensive Resource Guide which lists textile design studios, agency directories, job boards and lots more. You can learn more about membership here: http://patternobserver.com/the-textile-design-lab/ You may also want to start out with our free training: https://patternobserver.leadpages.net/textile-designs-that-sell/ Best wishes, Chelsea

  17. Hello!

    Very helpful article!!
    I’m having some problems to decide pricing to a client that wants to own the pattern. That means sell also the copyrights. Usually how much percent we should charge for that? It’s a startups first project that wants 15 different designs, if you could give an advice I would be so grateful!

    super thanks!!!

  18. Hi Paula! I think the same price range applies to your situation. Depending on the difficulty of the design between $350-$750. Does this help?

  19. Hi michelle
    I’m from Indonesia.. I wonder can i sell my design online via internet. So i can sell my textile design abroad.. Is that possible?
    Thank you.

  20. Hi
    I have some textile design and I want to sale it so please tell me the procedure

  21. Hi Muljana, yes, many designers work this way. A great way to get started would be to search the exhibitor lists of some of the major print shows like Printsource, Surtex or Premiere Vision to find a studio that fits your style. It’s also important to have a portfolio set up to be able to show your work to studios you want to work with. I encourage you to check out our Portfolio Guide: http://patternobserver.com/portfolio-development-guide/ if this is something you do not already have set up. Best of luck!

  22. Hi Muhammad. A great way to get started is to find a studio or agent to work with. I recommend searching the exhibitor lists of some of the major print shows like Printsource, Surtex or Premiere Vision to find a studio that fits your style. It’s also important to have a portfolio set up to be able to show your work to studios you want to work with. I encourage you to check out our Portfolio Guide: http://patternobserver.com/portfolio-development-guide/ if this is something you do not already have set up. You may also be interested in our free training: https://patternobserver.leadpages.net/textile-designs-that-sell/ as well as our 5-part course, How to Sell Your Artwork: https://patternobserver.leadpages.net/how-to-sell-your-work Best of luck!

  23. Hi am marianobaby from Ghana, most glad for learning from your site, God bless u for what you are doing.
    My question is , pls is the price range you stated $350-$700 the world market price range or just for USA. And also want to know if it differs as the years goes by. Thanks

  24. Hi marianobaby, these prices are based on our experience as US-based designers with mostly US-based clients. I can’t really speak to what buyers expect to pay in other countries but one indication is trade shows such as Premiere Vision, which have exhibitors from around the globe, where prices fall within a similar range as we wrote about in this post. As with anything market prices increase over the long term, but I would say within at least the last 5 years that prices have not changed much. Hope this helps!

  25. Hi,
    Thanks for this interesting article! I actually come back often to read it, keepin these figures fresh in my head!
    I have a question though, maybe you can help me…?

    Yesterday I received a positive answer to a prospective mail sent to a human-sized company I love.
    They would be my first client so I really don’t want to fail this one.
    They asked me my cost per print. I’m simply not sure of what to answer…
    If I say too much they’ll turn their back on me, but if too low, I would be exploited then…
    I guess it also depends if I sell the rights or not… however, how to be sure I won’t miss an opportunity giving a “wrong” answer…

    They are an american client, I’m in France so there is also the fact that I don’t know if I should sell abroad the same price as in France since economical situation and saleprices tends to be different etc…

    I know it’s a little personnal, but maybe using your expertise you’ll have an answer to this “problem” that I don’t?

    Thanks so much for you precious time and help !
    Helene.

  26. Hi!

    So I’m veryyyy new to the fashion industry/ textile designing. I am currently studying to become a biochemist in order to move towards greener sustainability among textiles and dyes, and although the chemistry is up my alley, the textile designing most certainly isn’t. Could you please explain why having a specific print made is so expensive/ what the process exactly is that causes such a high expense, how you mentioned depending on the time the average cost is $700?

  27. Hi Amber, thanks for reaching out, your field of study sounds very interesting! This is a great question, and the price of these original designs is what the industry has generally settled on in terms of the value of the artists’ time in creating them. From researching trends, to initial sketches, to putting digital touches on a print it can take many many hours to create a single design depending on techniques used. Something very simple like a plain stripe or dot print would not take an artist very long and therefore would not be priced as high as something like a complex floral. Does this help answer your question?

  28. Hi. Thanks for the article. is it possible for me go sell my prints online from inside Iran? What about websites like Spoonflower? they don’t seem to be taking over the copyright

  29. Hi Ali, yes on Spoonflower you retain the copyrights to your designs. While they are a US-based company they will print and ship all over the world and have an international community built up on the site. As far as selling your prints online you may be interested in checking out our free training: https://patternobserver.leadpages.net/textile-designs-that-sell/ as well as our 5-part course, How to Sell Your Artwork: https://patternobserver.leadpages.net/how-to-sell-your-work

  30. Hi my name is Yvonne a freelance designer, I have been creating graphic for over 15 years now.
    For the past 10 years I have created several 12″x24″ Hawaiian style pattern repeat for a luggage company.
    This company uses my pattern to produced everything from luggage to backpacks, tote bags and umbrellas to name a few travel items!
    My patterns are exclusively created for this hawaiian company and they have exclusive copy right.
    My issue is that I recently move to Hawaii and notice that some pattern have been in the market for over 8 years now, not sure how many times they have produced this patterns! And I’m somewhat confused as to what to continue to charge this company per pattern! Most patterns are 4 to 5 color process and take about 3 month, they are complex and I provide the company with ready to print files, swatches and several color options for print!
    I would like to know if I am on the right track as far as my quotes are presented. Thank you kindly for your time

  31. Hi!

    I’m curious to understand what is the difference between selling an “exclusive” design and selling the copyright to the design? Is that the same thing?

    Juliet

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At Pattern Observer we strive to help you grow your textile design business through our informative articles, interviews, tutorials, workshops and private design community, The Textile Design Lab.