What does a Surface Pattern Designer do?

Hey! I am here to come in and answer one of the most asked questions by my fellow designers and people out there and that is 'what is Surface Pattern Design?' and 'What does a Surface Pattern Designer do?'

People often get misunderstood in an artist, graphic designer or surface pattern designer.

So, What is Surface Pattern Design?

In short, surface pattern design is something that is everywhere. By this, I literally refer to everything that surround you like from your bed sheets and towels to clothes that you wear. Before there was the product out of the designs there were simply pattern designs.

There are different kinds of techniques to build pattern designs from relief print to screen printings. Also when an artist create an art they can use digital medium to put those in repeats and create a repeat pattern design meaningful for prints.

Now, What exactly a Surface Pattern Designer do?

Essentially, surface pattern designer is someone who create designs that are technically seamless and in repeats. Those repeating pattern designs can be then applied to fabric or products.

The great thing is that any surface can potentially be available for pattern designs to put over there, so role of surface pattern designer is widely varied. You could be developing designs that could be applied to fabric rolls, cushion covers made from it to upholstery fabrics or a cute mug print.

No matter what product it is, role of surface pattern designer is to come up with and design for the particular end product accordingly. The process might stay same, but the scales and proportions could vary depending on end results to achieve. Each client, product or manufacturer might have different specifications for their use and that must be adhere by surface pattern designer.

If you are a surface pattern designer, you can choose to work with clients or design up your own product line. The main thing is to define your own way of work or you can say Your Own Signature Style.

Understanding trends, colors, forecasting trends are all key to becoming a successful pattern designer.


The specific job of a Surface Pattern Designer is to design patterns mostly in seamless way. A great example is the big fabric rolls in your nearby fabric store.

Although creating seamless repeats is an important role of a pattern designer, designs don’t always have to be created in repeat. Clients will also sometimes require designs as placement prints. An example of this would be a t-shirt print where you may require each t-shirt to have the design printed in the same location on each item. These designs are therefore not created as seamless patterns..

Other important skills of a surface pattern designer include

the ability to draw and develop design ideas,

  • a good eye for colour,

  • developing colour palettes,

  • creating inspirational mood boards,

  • developing cohesive design collections.

When they are creating designs they need to be able to create designs that consider

  • balance,

  • harmony,

  • texture and

  • scale

well as these are really important skills that will help create successful pattern designs and collections.

If you are an artist or a graphic designer, you can easily learn these skills to turn your art or turn your graphic design skills into creating pattern repeats. For artists it can be a really great way of using your art or elements of your art in new ways and giving your self another revenue source for selling your work.

To conclude, Surface pattern design colours the world around us. It adds personality and styles to all areas of our life, from the clothes we wear, to the furniture in our house, to the wrapping paper we use to wrap gifts in.

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