How to Maximise Value for Money

Emerging brands often feel overwhelmed by design costs. They seek something distinctive that resonates perfectly with their brand identity and stands out from the rest. While they are typically prepared for production expenses, they may underestimate the significance of design expenditure. In the realm of surface design, the investment required can vary greatly depending on factors such as project scope, the designer's expertise, and the value it adds to your brand.

Determining the Price

The price of bespoke surface design is influenced by several factors, including the complexity of the project, the designer's experience, and the intended usage of the design (licensing).

  1. Scope: Creating a placement print or repeat pattern may take anywhere from a few hours to several days, while developing complete collections can span months. Projects may also include trend analysis, concept development, material exploration, and strategic brand alignment.
  2. Experience: Expertise plays a pivotal role not only in the cost but also in the return on investment. A seasoned designer with a proven track record and an efficient design process will naturally charge higher fees compared to a novice.
  3. Usage: Different licensing options come with varying terms and conditions, affecting the design's price. For example, a design licensed for unlimited production runs and an indefinite time frame may involve a higher fee than one limited to a specific region and season.
  4. Project Management: It's essential to acknowledge that the design process is not the sole determinant of cost. Designers also invest time in client communication, quotation generation, and administrative tasks.

Ultimately it's not about just time and price per design, but the value the design provides for your brand.

Learn More about Custom Surface Design 

Interested in delving deeper into custom surface design, licensing, and printed textiles? Sign up for the Kukka list and receive our Ultimate Checklist for Printing Textiles. This comprehensive 38-page guide covers all the essential topics for those considering having their own fabrics printed.

The Significance of Surface Pattern Design

At Kukka we encourage our clients to create lasting designs. Not just for sustainability, but also to give you the most value for your money. A surface pattern design has the ability to bring together the purpose, personality and uniqueness of your brand into an elegant and meaningful symbol. This symbol can be of great value to your business over many years. Think of Marimekko’s Unikko (poppy) pattern that defines the brand’s image since 1964. Or Burberry’s iconic check pattern and Chanel’s signature tweed fabrics from the 1920s. It can be an investment that pays off for years.

"We encourage our clients to create lasting designs" - Kukka

Illustrative Case: Handed By

Take, for instance, our collaboration with Handed By, a Dutch brand specialising in hand-woven baskets, bags, and accessories. Seeking to develop a new range of products for the Spring/Summer 2017 season, Handed By asked Kukka to design two minimalist graphic prints. Despite their limited prior experience in custom surface pattern design, the client provided clear guidelines regarding style, colours, and materials. From the first sketches they immediately chose two prints: one clean & crisp pattern and a second playful, hand-drawn pattern.

Surface pattern designs for Handed By in two colourways, designed by Kukka


The two prints create a cohesive and complementing unity. By offering both designs in two colourways and applying them in a clever manner, Handed By was able to develop a broad collection with ‘only’ two custom patterns. The modest collection with two different prints in two colourways was a great way to test if the collection would resonate with their audience.

"Clever design can pay off very quickly" - Kukka

The collection was received very well. So well that the next season (A/W 2017-2018) the collection was expanded with new products and two new prints. The collection was repeated for four seasons in total. With a one-time investment of their time and money, they were able to sell thousands of products for many seasons. So you see how strategic design investments can yield significant returns over time.

Handed By's "YUP" Collection, surface design by Kukka

Effective Communication with Designers

Clear communication is paramount to a project's success. Be specific about your desired style, and consider creating mood boards or Pinterest boards to convey visual inspirations. Also think about the (amount of) colours and (repeat) size. By articulating your preferences upfront, you streamline the design process and minimise the need for extensive revisions later on.

"A surface pattern design has the ability to bring together the purpose, personality and uniqueness of your brand into an elegant and meaningful symbol" - Kukka

Designing on a Budget

If budget constraints pose a challenge, consider options such as customising existing stock designs or exploring royalty agreements with designers. By collaborating creatively and exploring mutually beneficial arrangements, you can achieve impactful designs within your financial parameters.

Request a Quote

Obtaining a design quotation should be straightforward and stress-free. Our user-friendly request form simplifies the process, allowing you to specify your requirements regarding design preferences, budget, and timeline. Let us help you realise your design vision!

or request our studio deck, incl. pricing

In Summary

Custom surface design represents a significant investment with the potential for long-term returns. By effectively communicating your vision, exploring cost-effective design solutions and collaborative partnerships with designers, you can maximise the value of your investment and create a unique product that reflects your brand for years to come.

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