Surface Designer Spotlight: Bettina Beuttenmüller

Join me in welcoming our spotlight designer for October, Bettina Beuttenmüller. As someone who comes from a marketing background, you might think it’s been totally smooth sailing for her. But that’s not quite true – read on to hear about her struggles, plus her big wins as a surface designer.

Please Introduce Yourself

Surface designer Bettina Beuttenmüller |

Hi, my name is Bettina Beuttenmüller and my studio in Munich, Germany, is called “FREUDEN-WERKSTATT” which basically means: a workshop space where I create patterns and designs full of JOY.

I do have a 15 background in marketing and product innovation within the consumer goods industry and was lucky to have lived and worked around the world, including Chicago, NYC, Barcelona and Hamburg. Drawing and painting was something I did as a hobby as long as I can remember. I never took it too seriously as everyone in my family is pretty creative.

Though after taking a break from the business world, getting married and having a child, my creative voice asked to be heard very loudly. Thus I slowly dared to focus on drawing and designing. I finally went to art school and received a diploma in illustration and graphic design in 2017.

I deeply enjoy creating surface pattern designs — hand-drawn, printed and painted motifs and patterns that are adding more fun and color to everyday life.

My style is painterly, charming and with a delicate quality, yet light-hearted and modern. My favorite topics include floral motifs with watercolor, loose line work, strong characters and expressive portraits and fashion designs as well as more abstract graphics.

Surface design by Bettina Beuttenmüller
Tell us a little bit about your design journey.

During art school I enjoyed exploring all areas of illustration (children’s books, advertising, editorial, packaging, etc.) and all kinds of media from life drawing, to printing techniques, watercolor, oil and even sculpture. What a fun time this was working together with experienced professionals and young students.

I came across surface pattern design only when I participated in a competition for a fabric home decor company in 2014. That’s when I first figured out how to make a repeating pattern.

I always loved structures and patterns I found in nature or when my mom sewed dresses for me and my sister when we were children.

Fashion and home decor and all stationery & paper products are fascinating to me. I find them very appealing to the touch and eye and believe that beautiful designs truly connect with people on a deep level. I always prefer products that combine high quality, eco-friendly materials and functionality with strong esthetics.

Surface pattern collection by Bettina Beuttenmüller
What did you struggle with most as a new designer?

Making contacts at fairs and trade shows is not a huge hurdle for me as I am used to presenting myself and find it relatively easy to connect with others in a very positive way.

My big challenge is to send out my work, to follow up, negotiate and be continuously present. Being a perfectionist, I never feel quite ready. I am my strongest critic and tend to undervalue my own work. Also pitching for a company can be very energy-consuming with no promised outcome. As a mom, my work hours are limited and I always have to balance things out. I wish I had limitless time and energy.

What advice about the surface design industry has been most helpful to you in your career so far?

Stop trying to be perfect. Just stay true to yourself and what inspires you. Follow your heart. Leverage what you’ve got. The world needs your beauty.

And continue to show up as it might take several loops until a company is ready to license your work. Take good care of yourself as an artist’s soul is vulnerable.

What has been your favorite client collaboration to date and how did you find them?

I am regularly licensing greeting card and postcard designs with a small eco-friendly editor in Berlin. They give me a lot of freedom with my style and are very pleasant to work with.

Greeting card design by Bettina Beuttenmüller
When you look back at your design journey so far, what are you most proud of?

First of all, that I dared to start this new adventure. What a blessing!

And because everything felt right I do trust the journey. It’s been a big achievement to study again for 3 years while having a small child and it was so worth it. Also, I am surprised how focused I am working on my business goals. I am proud of starting my second career and being successful with my art, having licensed some work already.

In parallel, I successfully started to teach creative classes here in Munich in my own rented studio. Lately, I set up my own online shop and have had face masks produced with my patterns to sell. I will continue to fill my shop with my art and some selected products. I am continuously learning new skills, am actively participating in online design communities and love to support each other. I am grateful for my husband and my friends who truly support me on my journey… especially when I am having a bad day and doubting my efforts.

Painting workshop with Bettina Beuttenmüller
Where do you see yourself in your career three years from now?

I would love to work on a regular basis with strong license partners in the home decor, gift, stationery, fabric, and fashion industries. My work will provide me with a full income while allowing me to enjoy my independence and time with my family.

What advice would you give to surface designers who are struggling?
Follow where your gut is leading you.

And take (measured) risks, but don’t overthink it. Some things you just gotta try to learn and grow. It’s a journey… so try to take it nice and easy, don’t rush. Take good care of yourself — honor your ebbs and flows.

Where can we find you?


Wasn’t Bettina’s interview fun to read? If you’d like to be featured on the SDR blog in the future, you can always submit your story right here!

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