The Economics of Design: I’d Rather be Knitting!

I had to go purchase paper yesterday to print patterns for an order. I have a nice color laser printer that I use for that job, and I have chosen paper that I am happy with and have used consistently.

There are a lot of things that factor into the price of the patterns that knitters use for their projects. The oil industry, for example, has greatly impacted the cost of sheet protectors. That pattern may cost the knitter 5 or 6 dollars, but if it went to your yarn store before you purchased it, then it either came from the designer or a distributor before going to the yarn store. In which case, 2 to 3 dollars would have been the amount received by the designer.

Out of that comes the cost of printing and associated costs of producing the printed pattern.Also out of that 2 to 3 dollar amount there are the costs of the design, if it is new. The test knitting, the tech editing, the photo editing. Even if you do any of this yourself as a designer, it isn’t free or no cost to you.

I don’t know about any of you, but I don’t work for free,even if it is for myself. (No pay for work is still no pay). My time has to be reimbursed before I make a profit on the design.

In the real world we all have our own budget constraints, and we may have to do certain tasks ourselves, as we do not have the cash to pay someone out of pocket to do repetitive tasks. But, there are also time constraints. Time I spend on other related tasks like knitting sample garments, assembling and stuffing pattern leaflets, and printing, is time I am not spending working on a new pattern.

I usually call upon my husband to help stuff pattern leaflets. He is truly cheap labor as he works for hugs, kisses, and a home cooked meal.

Getting back to paper, I found a good quality white paper that is about 2/3 of the amount I have been paying for the Ivory. It is the same weight, plus I get 250 more pages per ream. Let me tell you, a nickel here and a nickel there really add up. I realize that we are talking about pennies, but to put it into context for every 300 patterns that is a savings of 9 dollars for a difference of 3 cents.

If I were to purchase compatible toner, I don’t get the output that I want. Unfortunately, Okidata toner is more than twice the cost as the compatible. I recently found IT Supplies, a source for the Okidata toner that I need for my printer that is not only significantly cheaper but has had stellar service as well. A high yield toner cartridge from them is on average 16 dollars cheaper than I had found anywhere else.

When doing normal printing (not the size images I have on my covers, I can tell you that!) you are supposed to get 5000 pages from the toner cartridge. If I were printing in text, and used the same amount in coverage from all 4 toner cartridges equally, my cheapest cost per page for the toner is 7.5 cents. Black text would be 1 cent.  That savings in paper helps offset the cost of the Okidata Toner.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace


2 Responses to “The Economics of Design: I’d Rather be Knitting!”

  1. Gillian Says:

    It takes patience to calculate that out. But it’s business and attention to details matters. Cheers!

  2. jolenetreace Says:

    Gillian, you are certainly right. For designers, the business details are not typically fun. I try and make it a creative adventure or challenge and that works well for me.

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