learn about all things surface pattern design including the creative design process, being a successful creative entrepreneur & stepping into the mindset of a successful designer

welcome to the pattern design blog





Different jobs of a pattern designer


Today we’re going to look at the scope of work and different jobs you can have as a surface pattern designer.

Full time or Part-time work

The first and probably most obvious job option you can get is to work job full time or part-time for a company. Usually though for these types of positions in the job description that will often require that you have a tertiary education in a related field e.g. a qualification in textile, fashion or graphic design. So that might make it a little bit trickier if it is something that you want to do and you don’t have formal education.

Freelance work

But the good news is that you don’t need to have formal education to be able to work successfully in the surface pattern design industry as there are lots of other job opportunities. You could, of course, also become a freelance designer.

As a freelance designer, you would be designing to a brief set by a client. So your client will usually give you a brief and you have to design to fit whatever that brief is and that means you will need to design with their brand in mind and you will have to be able to adapt your style to suit whatever it is that they need you to create. You may need to create designs that are in completely different styles to your signature style.

It’s really important that before you begin designing that you make sure that you really understand the brief and your client’s requirements and then design accordingly.


Another option of selling your work is to license your designs. Licensing is essentially you leasing out your designs under set conditions. The two main types of licensing agreements are to license your designs exclusively or not exclusively and you will determine this within the terms and conditions of your contract.

The other option is to sell your designs outright where someone is purchasing the full rights to your design which means that you won’t be able to use that design again in the future.

That’s also generally the same with freelance work. Once you’ve created the design for your client and sold it, they will then have full rights of your design so you can’t use any parts of that design again.

In contrast, if you are licensing your designs because you’re leasing out the design, you are able to reuse elements of those designs in the future.


You also may be asked to create commissioned pieces works. A commissioned work is when someone comes to you and specifically wants something in your style and wants you to create something for them. Once again, you’re going to want to make sure you’re clear on the brief so you design exactly according to what they require.

Print on demand

Another option is to upload your designs to print on demand sites. These sites allow you to upload and put your designs onto various products and then when someone purchases a product with your design on it you get a commission. Each print on demand site will offer different products whether that be fabric, wallpaper, a mug, some notebooks etc. Although using print on demand sites will require some marketing on your end, they can form a great source of passive income money.

So there are just a few different ways for you to think about becoming of you becoming a surface pattern designer or using your surface pattern design skills. There are lots of different avenues for you to consider so you need to think about what best suits you and the sort of business you want to create.

I would highly recommend that you start with one idea and then develop into other ideas and really diversify the way that you look at earning your income. Setting up multiple income streams is a great way of diversifying your income so that you can give yourself an income safety net and so you’re not just relying on that one source of income.

Different jobs of a pattern designer

Want to create another revenue stream by turning your art into surface pattern designs?

Get the free guide

Get my FREE Surface Pattern Design Starter Guide