14 ways to Market & Promote your Pattern Designs online
Getting your pattern out there and marketing your pattern designs can be a struggle for many creators, it’s something that doesn’t always come naturally for every designer, and many would probably just want to skip doing that altogether, but if you want to get more eyeballs on your work it’s something you need to think about, and in this guide, I’ll show you several ways you can market your patterns online and how it doesn’t have to be that complicated even.
Hopefully, this guide can help you get some ideas on how to market your patterns online, I’ll be showing an example of blogs & websites that could share your patterns and feature your work, and I’ll also go over some of the biggest social platforms where you can start sharing your work on and much more.
Using social media can be a great way to promote your pattern designs online, it’s also pretty straight forward to use different social platforms for marketing making it great a tool for beginners to start off with. We’ll be going through a few platforms that are great for patterns, and we’ll also provide some quick tips for each social platforms to get you started.
Dribbble is an online community where you can promote your work and get inspired by others, here designers, artists, and people working in other creative fields are welcome to share their work in small single image “shots” for each project. It’s an easy platform to get started with and it doesn’t require much work or preparation in order to start uploading your pattern portfolio to the site. The platform can also be a great way to find new connections with other artists or companies.
Signing up for Dribbble is free but you need to get an invitation from another member to join. Getting an invitation isn’t that hard, there are sites dedicated to helping people get their hands on an invite, here you’ll upload some of your work and then you wait for someone to like it enough to send you an invite. Draft.im is where I got my invitation when I signed up years ago.
Uploading your work
When it’s time to start uploading your surface pattern designs to Dribbble it can be a good idea to try and crop a nice detail or zoom into your pattern a bit, the preview pictures of projects when browsing Dribbble are quite small and having that in mind when uploading is good.
Another thing to think about when uploading is to tag your work, this is how people will find your work so it’s quite important, try and be as specific as possible and don’t use tags that are too general like “cute”, “beautiful”, “cool” etc etc. For patterns you can always use tags like “surface pattern design”, “pattern design”, “floral/vector/geometric/nature/abstract pattern design”.
If you’re having a hard time coming up with tags you can do a quick search for pattern designs and see what other people have tagged their work with and then pick the best ones for your work.
(Make sure to use double quotes when using tags with more than one word, so for example “pattern design”)
Behance is a massive social platform for people working in the creative fields, here you can build your own portfolio to showcase your work or you can use it to find inspiration and look at other artists & designers, it’s my favourite place to find inspiration just because there’s some many great designers to be find and because of the large variety of projects that you can find on the platform. Behance have a large and thriving Pattern design category and it’s probably one of the most popular places to share and find pattern designs online.
Pinterest can be a great tool to share your surface pattern designs on, it’s not the easiest task to get your work noticed on this massive platform but there are a few things you can do that might help you gain some more exposure on Pinterest.
When starting off pinning your work make sure you don’t overdo it, if you go overboard with the self-promotion there’s a chance your followers will lose interest in you, instead share your work from time to time, and if you’re active pinning other stuff it’s always a plus, in my experience if you’re looking to grow a following on Pinterest it’s always best to pin stuff outside of Pinterest (not just repinning) if you bring in unique and interesting content to the platform people will have a reason to follow you. Being active on Pinterest is always a big plus if you’re looking to gain a following there, but don’t force yourself to use the platform if you don’t like it or find it useful.
Make your pins easy to find
Always make sure to give your pins an accurate description so people easily can find them when searching on Pinterest (try and think what kind of search term you’d be using if you would be looking for that specific picture), it’s also a good idea to include your name in the description and to link back to your portfolio/blog/site from the pin, making it easy to find more of your work. This advice applies when you’re pinning other people’s work too, always make sure the original content is linked back so that the creator gets credit for the work! (even when you’re repinning).
Ello is a smaller social network platform designed for artist, designers, photographers and creative people in general. It’s a platform that’s build around finding and sharing art & creativity, you’ll find interview with creators on the platform, it’s easy to find new artists and inspiration, and much more. As a pattern designer it’s a great place to start sharing your work.
The site takes a different direction from other major platform, for example they don’t have any ads on the site and they will never sell your private information to other companies, which is great.
Instagram is a great place to market your patterns, Chances are pretty high you’re already using Instagram to show off your work, but if you’re not I highly suggest you do, it’s an easy-to-use platform that doesn’t require much to maintain (upload image, then you’re done.)
If you’re convenient like me (aka. lazy) you can even schedule and auto-publish images to Instagram in advance, it requires some setting up but it’s worth your time for anyone that doesn’t want to be using the Instagram app that much. In order to make it work you need two things, an Instagram business account and a Later.com account(or any similar service), you can convert your Instagram account to a business one in your settings (it’s free and easy), and then you need to get a Later account (also free). After that you can use the Later platform to upload images and pick at what dates you should post your content, a full step-by-step guide on how to set this up can be found over here.
Hashtags are yet another important aspect of Instagram, and it really helps to use tags if you’re looking to get more exposure for your work, in the next section I’ll give you a broad overview of how to think when picking your hashtags on Instagram.
Pattern Design hashtags
Here’s just a few general pattern hashtags to start you off, #patterndesign #patterndesigns #surfacepatterndesign #surfacepattern #patterns #patterndesigner
You can also use more specific pattern hashtags that’s specific to your pattern’s medium #textilepattern #textilepatterndesign #wallpaperdesign #wallpaper #digitalpattern #vectorpattern
I would also recommend that you edit these hashtags depending on the kind of pattern you’re posting, for example if you have a floral pattern you can use tags like this for your post #floralpatterndesign #flowerpattern #floralpattern peonypatterndesign (if the pattern has a peony flower in for example).
Always remember to pick tags that are as relevant as possible, a bad example would be using #flowers to tag your floral pattern, sure it’s relevant in some ways but people searching that hashtag isn’t necessary looking for patterns, they could be looking for photographs of flower, inspiration for floral decoration or a number of other things, the tag is just too broad.
You can also do a search for a hashtag on Instagram to see if it there’s a lot of posts that are using it, if a tag only have under 1000 post it’s a good indicator that this isn’t a active or popular hashtag, and at the same time it’s no point in using hashtags that has millions of posts (#art for example), if a tag is that popular it’s too active and you’ll post will disappear in the tags feed within minutes.
Bottom line is that you want to use relevant tags that do a great job describing your picture, and a hashtag that’s active & popular without being overused.
Instagram pages that can feature your patterns
There’s plenty of pages on Instagram that regularly features pattern designs from artist & designers on Instagram. How you get featured on these pages varies, some require you to use their hashtag when posting your work and some pages you just have to be luck in order to get featured there. You can always try and contacting the person behind the page via DM or email if you feel like your pattern works would be a good fit for the page.
You can also check out our Shoutout Feature list for Artist & Designers if you need more suggestion on similar Instagram pages.
Pattern Observer is a active Instagram page dedicated to pattern design. They don’t shown any direct way of getting featured on their profile, but they regularly feature Pattern designers on their page.
The Pattern Curator
The pattern Curator is a smaller Instagram page that features some lovely pattern designs from designers world wide, you can use their hashtag (#thepatterncurator) or tag them in your pattern work (@thepatterncurator) for a possible feature.
Pattern Design Blogs & Sites
Here’s a handful of sites & blogs about pattern design that you could (with some luck) get your work featured on.
When asking to be featured or interviewed it’s always good to have a plan, you’re asking them to invest their time and effort to write something about you and your work, and it can be a good idea to think what you can offer them in return for being featured, to make it more appealing and interesting for them to feature you. I’m not talking about money here, instead maybe you can offer them something ells that would make it more interesting to feature you, maybe a unique story about your work, a tutorial about making patterns, a custom infographic for their site or any other kind of content that might fit the site. Tell them what you can offer, but keep it short, most people dosen’t have time to read too long emails anyway.
You should see it as a exchange rather then expecting them to feature you and only serving you, work out something that will benefit both parties.
Pattern Prints Journal is a pattern design and art blog that provides inspiration, news, and reviews from the design world. If you’re looking to feature your work on the blog you can head over here to submit your work for a possible feature on Pattern Prints Journal, here you’ll also find all the requirements and info for submitting your pattern work.
Print & Pattern has been blogging about surface pattern design for over 12 years and is yet another great place for inspiration for the pattern designer.
To send your submission for a chance to be featured you can find contact info on their homepage.
Sell your patterns
Selling your Pattern designs online can be a great way of getting your work out there and making some extra money at the same time. In this section I’ll be talking about a few print on demand sites, on these sites you can upload your patterns and sell them on a range of different products (clothes, phone cases, stickers, prints), all you have to do is upload the designs and the sites will take care of the rest, you’ll be earning around 10-20% of the sale price, it’s nothing that will make you rich but it can be a nice extra income. In the past I had some luck getting featured on the front page on a few of these sites, which have been great exposure for my work.
An important aspect of using these kinds of sites is that you’ll never lose the right to your work by sell on these sites.
If you want to learn more about selling your pattern designs you can read our guide on the topic.
(This section included affiliate links, if you use them & make a purchase it will earn Creativehowl a small revenue)
a huge store with a lot of different products, t-shirt, prints, phone cases and much much more
another massive store with a large about of products you can sell your patterns on
here you can design fabrics and clothing that has prints all over them, perfect for patterns
mainly a t-shirt store but also a few other products
If you want a more comprehensive list of print-on-demand shops you can check out my other guide on How to sell illustrations online, here I’ll go in more depth on each site and explain what sets them apart and what they pay their designers.
Brainstorming marketing ideas
For this last section we’ll be going over a bunch of quick & easy suggestion on how to getting some exposure online in order to market your pattern designs. If you have any suggestion of your own you can leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
Other Marketing ideas
- Join a competition or challenge with your patterns, you can check out our Illustration challenge & competition guide for a bunch of challenges you can participate in.
- Make a course teaching other how to make patterns over at Skillshare and get paid doing so. (affiliate link.)
- Print, order or make notebooks with your patterns on the cover, and then sell them on local design markets or art fairs. You’ll get paid for your work and you’re also spreading the word about your patterns (one sale at a time).
- Sell your patterns as digital downloads, there’s plenty of sites support selling digital products like pattern design, Creativemarket, Graphic River or sell them yourself on Etsy.
- Create a blog and start a ”pattern a day” challenge and start creating patterns daily. It’s also great content to share on Instagram and other social platforms.
- Give away your pattern design for free and in exchange get some exposure and a link back to your site/portfolio. I wouldn’t recommend giving away any pattern that you put a lot of work into, if you’re going to do this I suggest you choose something that that was easy to make and you don’t care to much about (but still looks good of course). You wont lose the right of your work by doing this, your only allowing others to use your pattern design as they wish.
- More to come..