How Long Should my Pattern Proposal Be?


One question I get a lot (and that I asked myself when I was beginning to write pattern proposals) is how long the proposal should be, and how much detail I should include. The two questions are related, with the length of the proposal impacting how much information you can put in your proposal.  Today we’ll focus on proposal length.


Proposal length is highly depending on the publisher.  Each publisher will have different requirements for what they want in a proposal, and how much space they allow you to compile your submission.  How do you know what a publisher wants to see?  Three great place to look for information on allowable pattern proposal length are:  1) the submission call, 2) a proposal submission example, and 3) a blog post on ideal pattern proposals.  Let’s look at each of these.


The Submission Call

Some publishers will explicitly state the allowed proposal length in their call for proposals.  You might recall from my recent post on where to find submission calls, look for these in publishers’ emails, on their website, and in their social media.  A submission call announcement will often have a succinct description of the theme and desired projects, with a link to the full submission call elsewhere.  Follow this link and look for detailed information on what’s required in the pattern proposal, including the allowed length.

A Proposal Example

When it’s available, a proposal example is is an extremely helpful tool.  This is an example the publisher provides, that they consider to be an excellent pattern proposal.  You can learn lots of useful of information for this type of example, including the page allowance they’re looking for.  Whatever number of pages the example pattern proposal uses, consider this the standard for this publisher, and style your proposal accordingly.

Blog Post on Pattern Proposals

Some publishers will link in their submission call to a blog post they’ve created on their perspective on an ideal pattern proposal.  An example of this is Making Stories Magazine; they have a blog post on writing a great pattern proposal, that you can find here.  These posts can be very helpful, but remember that they apply to this publisher in particular.  While there’s certainly carry over between publishers, what exactly each one is looking for will be unique.  Look for blog posts by your target publishers, articulating all aspects of what they consider ideal in a proposal, including the length and amount of detail to include.


If the above approaches don’t yield an allowed length for the publishers(s) you’re pursuing, use this rule of thumb: ‘When in doubt, stick to 1 page!’  It’s not a hard and fast rule, but many publishers have a 1 page limit on proposal submissions.  Additionally, brevity and conciseness are always valuable when it comes to pitching your pattern idea.


Looking for more tips on writing pattern proposals? Bookmark this site – my masterclass Pattern Proposals that Impress launches here soon!  Also, make sure you’re on my mailing list for all the latest updates on coursework and designer tips and tricks.

Photography by Piotr Angiel