Designing Patterns for Commercial Use: What You Need to Know

If you're a surface pattern designer who is interested in creating patterns for commercial use, there are some important things you need to know. In this article, we'll discuss legal considerations, pricing and marketing strategies, and tips for adapting patterns to different products.

Legal Considerations for Commercial Patterns

Before you start selling your patterns commercially, you need to make sure that you have the legal right to do so. If you've used clipart or other elements in your pattern that you didn't create yourself, you need to make sure that you have the appropriate licenses or permissions to use those elements for commercial purposes.
We already talked about purchasing clipart and that's totally fine. But please make sure that your files are for commercial use. If you purchase them on sites like DesignCuts the files automatically come with an extended commercial license.

Pricing and Marketing Your Patterns

When it comes to pricing and marketing your patterns, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you need to consider the value of your work. How much time and effort did you put into creating your pattern?
For example: If you have drawn all the clipart yourself you definitely need more time and therefore you need to ask for more money for your pattern.
Also ask yourself: What is the going rate for patterns in your niche? Pricing your patterns too low can actually be detrimental, as it may make your work appear less valuable and lead potential customers to question its quality.

Marketing your patterns effectively is also key. Consider creating a portfolio of your work to showcase your skills and style. Share your work on social media and relevant online marketplaces just like Behance.
Consider collaborating with other artists or bloggers in your niche to reach a wider audience. This is definitely a great marketing strategy! From my own experience I can say that this can easily result in 100s of new newsletter subscribers - all people who like your work!

You really need to stand out from the crowd to be successful in this area!

Adapting Patterns to Different Products

One of the great things about patterns is that they can be used on a wide variety of products, from fabrics and wallpapers to stationary and home decor. However, it's important to remember that not all patterns will work equally well on all products.

When creating patterns for commercial use, it's a good idea to consider the different products you might want to use them for and adapt them accordingly. For example, a pattern that looks great on a piece of fabric might need to be modified or simplified to work on a small item like a phone case or notebook cover. So yes, it totally depends. Make sure that you test your pattern (aka upload them to Printify and see how they look on your chosen product). 
Once you have done that you can say with confidence what your patterns are suitable for the specific product and you can even sell them as a downloadable product e.g. on Etsy to other designers. If you do make sure that you just use clipart you have drawn yourself.

Final Thoughts

Creating patterns for commercial use can be a rewarding and profitable endeavor for designers. By keeping legal considerations in mind, pricing and marketing effectively, and adapting patterns to different products, you can set yourself up for success in this exciting field.
Please keep in mind that, if you choose that route, you really need to concentrate on pattern creation. Don't do freelance jobs, don't create any other products but concentrate.
This is the key for success!

If you are just getting started with pattern creation it's a good idea to learn Procreate. In my free class you learn how to create your first clipart!

Learn Procreate for Beginners

FREE CLASS with everything you need to know
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