12 Days of Design: Day 12 Market Yourself

JAN 12, 2017

This is it! You made it to the end! You will find that your journey in surface design is never ending, as there’s always something new to learn and improve with every turn. That’s also what can be so rewarding about this creative pursuit. If you’re serious about sharing your designs with the world and not just making art but making art that sells, you need to get serious about marketing your work. It’s something all creatives feel a little weird about at first. “You mean you want me to promote…. myself?!” Yes! It’s extremely validating and rewarding to be able to earn compensation doing what you love, not to mention seeing the things others go out and create using your fabric. 

Whether you’re entertaining the idea of creating surface designs full time, maybe starting a handmade business using fabric you designed yourself to make things, or if you’re well into a creative business venture already, all your hard work will be in vain if you don’t go the extra step to promote yourself and your body of work. Spoonflower makes it easier to be successful with things like commission bonuses, frequent payouts to your Paypal account, distribution on external platforms and more.  Today on this momentous last day of the #12DaysofDesign series, we’ll explore exciting ways to benefit from selling your designs, effective ways to market yourself, and even how to build a physical portfolio you can take with you to expos and conferences.  Let’s dive in!

Create your own shop and share your masterpieces with over 600,000 shoppers per month.

To get started selling the designs you’ve uploaded on our site, there’s no need to sign up or do anything differently, all you need is to make sure you are a verified seller on our site, and that your Paypal information is updated in your account. You can update that by logging in and clicking on “My Account” under “My Studio” and selecting the “Spoondollars” tab. Why sell? We’re glad you asked… 

The benefits of selling your designs on Spoonflower

  • Earn 10% on every sale.
  • Earn 11% – 15% as a power seller. Learn more.
  • Enjoy payouts every two weeks at as little as $10 in earnings, with no delays or waiting periods.
  • Always earn the max… unlike other sites, commissions and bonuses are calculated on the retail price of the sales, regardless of any promotions or discounts the customer received.
  • Our community. Many designers will say that they love being part of the extremely supportive community of creative makers and designers using Spoonflower. Just ask the members of the Spoonflower Fans Facebook group. Collaborate and get feedback from fellow creative professionals and makers, and enjoy the satisfaction of seeing your designs used for products which are often featured on Etsy, Amazon Handmade, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, etc. The #spoonflower hashtag has been used more than 70,000 times on Instagram alone!
  • Free Promotion. Not to brag, but we get great press, which means your design could be featured on publications like HGTV, Martha Stewart Living, Country Living, Apartment Therapy, etc.  As the pioneer of the print-on-demand movement, Spoonflower has gained a following of over 300,000 people who watch for and use the Spoonflower hashtag across social media. Don’t forget to add this when you share your designs!
  • Weekly Design Challenges Stay inspired and motivated by participating in our weekly challenges, which feature a brand new theme and amazing prizes each and every week. Win or not, your design will be seen by the crowd as they vote for their favorites.


To maximize your sales, it’s a good idea not to put all your design eggs in one basket, rather, to be available on more than one platform. As a marketplace, Spoonflower understands that customers who might be interested in your designs might not always be looking for them on our website. Which is why for no additional cost to designers we go the extra mile to list your designs for sale as fabric on the world’s most popular shopping platforms like Amazon, Etsy and Ebay. To have your designs automatically sold on these sites, all you need to do is opt-in which you can easily do in your account settings.  We will also list your designs for sale on our sister brands, Sprout Patterns and Roostery, which bring your designs to life on direct-to-fabric printed indie garment patterns and custom home decor. You’ll receive the same commission amounts as you would when selling your designs on our site.

Build a Physical Portfolio

Really want to put yourself out there? Once you build up a body of work, you may want to take the next step and start exhibiting your work at conferences and trade shows such as Surtex. Before doing that, it’s a good idea to build a physical portfolio, in addition to your digital shop. The following is an excerpt from professional surface designer Bonnie Christine, from a blog post she wrote for us on building a portfolio:

Bonnie: One thing you might want to consider after you’ve finished a few collections is making a pattern portfolio. No matter how beautiful your work is, it won’t sell if it’s not presented in a polished, professional way. For me, presenting a finished body of work in a well thought-out portfolio was an essential part of moving my career forward as a creative. I believe making a handmade portfolio that is a true reflection of yourself and your work can absolutely help advance your career, too!

Crafting your own portfolio can be such a creative, fulfilling project, and definitely a labor of love as many, many hours go into the precise planning, designing, printing, and binding of the book. you can see a few images of mine below. I absolutely love watching it come to life!

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you begin to designing your portfolio.

What to include. Portfolios can range from simple to complex, and there’s really no right or wrong answer. Take some time to decide what you’d like to portray in your portfolio and jot down the pages you would like to include. A simple portfolio could only include a collection or two and a contact page. A more complex portfolio might include a table of contents, about page, several collections with stories, mockups, social media & blog page, contact page and more!

Who will see it. Do you know who you’d like to show your portfolio to? Will you be taking it to conferences or expos? Having an end viewer in mind (an art director, publisher, professor, etc) will help give your entire book direction. Keep this person (or group of people) in mind as you decide what to include and begin designing its pages.

How to stand out from the crowd. The world of surface pattern design is buzzing with designers and companies will often times review 100s of portfolios a week. That’s why it’s important to stand out from the crowd! When designing your portfolio, pour yourself and lots of love into every detail. Make it a true reflection of you brand and yourself as a designer. I like to say your portfolio should be ‘you in a book‘!

Showing your work. Of course, showing your work isn’t easy and I want to recognize that. As designers, we pour every ounce of ourselves into our work and it can feel very vulnerable to start sharing it with the world. I want to encourage each of you to show your work though, because without sharing it no one will ever see it! We have all received rejection and criticism before, but there’s always something to be learned throughout the process. Sharing your designs, patterns and process with the world will always pay off in the end.

Check out Bonnie’s video below showing the process she uses to create a portfolio:

Thanks so much for following along with the 12 Days of Design! We hope you learned something and feel inspired to go out and give surface design a shot. Missed out on the daily emails? No worries, you can catch up on all 12 days and go at your own pace right here. Find inspiration from your peers by checking the #spoonflower and #12daysofdesign hashtag on Instagram.

You can also check out The Spoonflower Handbook, A DIY guide to designing fabric, wallpaper, and gift wrap that delves deeper into all the topics discussed in the 12 Days of Design series.  With over 30 projects and countless design tips, think of it as a user manual for this booming new creative outlet you’ve discovered.

The Spoonflower Handbook

Questions or comments on the 12 Days of Design? Let us know your thoughts and topics you’d like us to cover next in the comments below. We can’t wait to see what you create! Happy designing!

Recommended Posts

Upholstered chair with butterflies

Upholstery 101: How to Repurpose Old Furniture

Toddler sitting on a pink playmat in playroom

How to Make a Round Velvet Playmat

Zero-waste products from the small business Freon Collective

How To Manage Your Cashflow as a Creative


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *