Surface Designer Spotlight: Louise Pretzel

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a fan of Louise’s design. So getting to know her inside Artful Pricing earlier this year was an absolute pleasure – her exuberance is contagious and meeting her “in person,” it’s no wonder her art is so joyful! And I’m excited to share her story as our spotlight designer for July.


Please Introduce Yourself


Surface Designer Louise Pretzel

Hi! My name is Louise Pretzel. I’m an illustrator and designer currently based out of Columbus, OH, originally from California. I’ve been designing since the good old days of Neopets and Myspace which is where I first discovered my passion for digital design through customizing my pages!

Professionally, I’ve been designing since 2015, and since then have gradually begun to dip my toes into the world of illustration and surface pattern design.

Tell us a little bit about your design journey.

My first job out of college was working in-house as a designer for a stationery and gifting company, and then later as an art director for a greeting card company. Both of those in-house experiences allowed me to see how companies work with surface pattern designers in different capacities, which was really eye-opening and ultimately inspired me to pursue my own journey into surface design and illustration as an independent artist.

Prior to working those in-house jobs, I was pretty much clueless about the world of surface design, so I am definitely so lucky and thankful that my path just kind of naturally led me here today.

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

Don’t wait for clients to come to you, actively try and make contact with companies you think your work would be a good fit for! This is how I’ve gotten the majority of my work so far. Though, I have had a few clients find me on Instagram and Pinterest, so there is definitely value in making sure your social media presence is up to date as well!

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

I can’t reveal too much, but I am currently working on a puzzle design which has been a really great collaboration! It’s a really detailed piece which has been really fun to work on since there are so many fun surprises I can add into the illustration. As to how we came to work together, I had found their Instagram page and really liked the look of their product so I just emailed them and they happened to have an upcoming concept that they thought my style would be a good fit for!

Surface design by Louise Pretzel
Have you struggled with pricing and if so, how did your experience inside Artful Pricing help?

Even though I was previously an art director at a greeting card company, my scope of pricing and terms was very limited to that category. I wanted to make sure I had a full grasp of pricing for a variety of scenarios in all categories, so that’s why I decided to join Artful Pricing in February 2021.

What I found was Artful Pricing actually goes beyond just pricing and that the Q&A’s, pricing calculators, and additional sections that break down contracts and other areas make it totally worth it. Plus the peace of mind of knowing my prices are in line with industry standards is worth everything to me!

What breakthrough have you had since taking Artful Pricing?

I licensed my first designs! Since they didn’t have a contract to send me, I was able to use a lot of the information learned in the contracts and negotiations section of the course which made me feel a lot more confident when I had to hit send.

Surface design by Louise Pretzel
When you look back at your design journey so far, what are you most proud of?

I’m mostly proud that I finally took the initiative to start exploring surface design and illustration outside of my day job. It was something that I daydreamed about for a long time but often felt overwhelmed by the idea (coming up with a logo, developing a style, putting together a website, making enough art to pitch, getting organized… etc. so daunting!!). Cue the pandemic and a whole lotta extra time on my hands, I finally decided to just start to see where it takes me. It’s been a learning process for sure, but I am so glad that I finally did it.

What advice would you give to surface designers who are struggling?

Something I struggle with is intense waves of feeling highly creative or the complete opposite, which I think is fairly common for most artists.

Finding a balance of creative rest but then knowing when I need to push through and create is something I am constantly working on!

One thing that helps pull me out of creative ruts is working through different prompt lists, like the Daily Sketch Challenge one offered monthly through Sketch Design Repeat! Even if it’s just one or two of the prompts and not participating every day, sometimes that’s all it takes to help lift you up and get your mind back into a creative place!

Also, I used to feel this pressure of needing to post every single thing I ever made on social media. Taking that pressure off myself has been a huge help for my mental health.

Where can we find you?

Website: louisepretzel.com
Instagram: @louisepretzel


P.S. If you’d like to be featured on the SDR blog, you can always submit your story right here!

  1. Shivangi says:

    How awesome Louise!!! I am so inspired by her interview !! And i love her work

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