Surface Design Industry Survey

Chances are if you’ve ever asked for pricing advice from a fellow surface designer or industry expert you’ve probably been told things like “Check the Graphic Artists Guild book,” “quote higher prices” or perhaps the most common:

I can’t give you exact rates for pricing your artwork because there’s way too many factors involved.

And although it’s true that pricing is perhaps the most complicated aspect of our job as surface designers, I feel like this answer is partially saying “I don’t feel comfortable talking about or giving advice on money.”

Which as an educator in the surface design space, I totally get! I never want to give out the wrong advice or feel judged for my own prices being too high or low.

And that’s the BIGGER problem here…

There’s NOT enough open conversations about pricing our art or our income as designers because it’s uncomfortable to talk about.

But unless we’re willing to start sharing our financial experiences as artists, the lack of information about what a realistic career in surface design looks like will NEVER get any better.

And although I’ve always strived to be transparent about the realities of life as a self-employed artist, I know there’s still a lot more I can do, especially when it comes to this very touchy subject because I actually love talking about income and numbers.

So I’m working on a few different things that I hope will bring some honesty and positivity to discussing pricing and income, so we can all feel a little less uncomfortable talking about it.

And it’s all gonna start with a Surface Design Industry Survey! 

I had the idea two years ago when a fellow artist shared the State of Illustration survey with me and I wondered if something similar existed for the surface design industry? 

Spoiler alert: it didn’t. 

So I decided to start one myself!

But I just couldn’t make it happen last year and promised myself that I’d create one for 2020 and well, here we are! I developed this survey with lots of helpful feedback from several successful designers in our industry.

And my hope is that this survey – which I plan to turn into a yearly thing – will help us gain insights into the current state of the surface design industry and start a meaningful discussion about what a “normal” artist income looks like.

In order for this to actually work though, I need your help! 

If you’re a surface designer or someone that’s at least earned $1 from art licensing, designing art directly for companies, or via other popular artist income channels (like Spoonflower or selling your own products), then I’d like to invite you to take our survey.

And although it’s pretty in-depth, it should only take you about 10-15 minutes to complete as most questions are yes/no or multiple choice answers.

The survey is also completely anonymous – you’ll have the option to receive a detailed report and updates on the survey via email, but your email will not be used for ANY other purpose (unless you check the box to opt into receiving our newsletter).

Finally, as a thank you for participating and in an effort to give back to the community, I’ll personally be donating $3 to one of the following charities for every designer who completes the survey – up to $1,000 total. You’ll get to choose inside the survey which charity I’ll donate to on your behalf:

Let’s start a meaningful discussion about what it takes to truly make a living as an artist in 2020 together!

PLEASE NOTE: This survey is now CLOSED.

But if you’d like to read the survey results for yourself, sign up for our email list, and get the 30-page report delivered to your inbox.

I’ll send you design inspiration, helpful business tips, and a whole lotta support on the regular. Sound good?

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