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

66 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!

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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.