How to get the most value for money

Starting brands are often intimidated by design costs. They want something unique that fits their brand perfectly and that nobody else has. They have prepared for production costs, but sometimes expect design to be a small expense. When it comes to surface design, the investment can vary depending on the project scope, the designer's experience and the value it creates for your brand.

What determines the price 

The price of bespoke surface design can be determined by the project's complexity, the designer's experience, and the way you plan to use the design (license).

  1. Scope. While a placement print or repeat pattern may take a few hours to several days to create, complete collections can take months to develop. Projects can also include trend and market research, concept development, material research and branding.
  2. Experience. The designer's experience level also plays a role in the cost. A seasoned designer with years of experience and proven track record will charge more than a beginner. 
  3. Use. Licensing options may come with different terms and conditions, which can affect the price of the design. For instance, a design that is licensed for unlimited production runs and an unlimited timeframe may require a more expensive license than one used for only two seasons in a specific region. Take the time to understand the various licensing options available and how they can affect the overall cost of the design.
  4. Project Management. It's important to recognise that the design process isn't the only factor that determines cost, as designers must also communicate with clients about the project, create quotes and invoices, and so on. A 8-hour design can still be 12 hours work. 

Ultimately it's not about the time it takes the designer to create the design or just the price per design, but the value the design provides for your brand.

Would you like to know more about custom surface design, licensing and printed textiles?

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The value 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. Let me give you an example:

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

We were approached to design surface patterns for Handed By, a Dutch brand of hand-woven baskets, bags and accessories. Handed By was looking to develop a complete new range of bags and pouches with prints and printed details for S/S 2017. They had no previous experience in custom surface pattern design. That’s why Kukka was commissioned to design two minimalistic graphic prints. The client had a rough idea of style, colours, and materials beforehand. 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 that clever design can pay off very quickly.

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

How to communicate your idea to the designer

The better you can explain what you want, the smoother the project will be. Be specific about the overall style you want for your design. A good way to do this is to create a moodboard or a Pinterest board. Designers are often visually oriented, so communicating with both images and words helps the process. Creating a moodboard will also help you to gain a more clear vision of what you’re looking for. If you can communicate very well what you want, you will reach a quick solution together and there is no need for much adjustment down the line. Also think about the (amount of) colours and (repeat) size.

"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

Design on a limited budget

If your budget is limited and the biggest bottleneck, you can also ask the designer to customise one of their ready-made stock designs, in size, colour, etc. to create a new look and feel for you that still fits your brand's aesthetic.

A way to save money on bespoke surface design is to ask the designer if they are open to receiving royalties in exchange for a design discount. This can be especially beneficial if you already have an established brand or product with sales figures, or if you plan to launch your product soon. Some designers are willing to reduce their fees if they receive a percentage of the sales for each product sold that features their design. It is a great way to invest in each other's business for the long term. If you win, the designer wins, and the other way around.

Request a Quote

Obtaining a design quotation can be overwhelming. That's why we have taken the time to create a simple and straightforward intake process that will make it easier for you to receive a quote. By filling out our request for a quote form, you will be able to provide us with all of the necessary information we need to create a personalised design plan that meets your specific needs. 

We know that you may not have all the answers at first, but that's okay. Our request for quote form is designed to help you think about all of the options available to you. By taking the time to answer the questions on the form, you will be able to identify your design preferences, budget, and timeline. This information is critical in helping us create a design plan that is tailored to your unique needs and preferences. 

Let us help you bring your design vision to life!

or request our studio deck, incl. pricing

At Kukka we understand the power of patterns in conveying a message and building a brand identity. Whether it’s a one-of-a-kind product or a collection for larger production runs, we will help you explore the endless possibilities of textile and surface design. We’ll take your vision and bring it to life with our vibrant designs, unique aesthetic, and captivating colours. 

In conclusion, custom surface design can be a substantial investment, not just in design fees but also in return. It can be an investment that pays off for years. By communicating your vision clearly to the designer, asking about royalty options, and choosing a design that fits within your budget, you can get the most value for your money and create a unique product that reflects your brand for years to come.

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