Developing custom-built MR coils is a cumbersome task, in which an a priori prediction of the coils' SNR performance, their sensitivity pattern, and their depth of penetration helps to greatly speed up the design process by reducing the required hardware manufacturing iterations. The simulation-based design flow presented in this paper takes the entire MR imaging process into account. That is, it includes all geometric and material properties of the coil and the phantom, the thermal noise as well as the target MR sequences. The proposed simulation-driven design flow is validated using a manufactured prototype coil, whose performance was optimized regarding its SNR performance, based on the presented design flow, by comparing the coil's measured performance against the simulated results. In these experiments, the mean and the standard deviation of the relative error between the simulated and measured coil sensitivity pattern were found to be and . Moreover, the peak deviation between the simulated and measured voxel SNR was found to be less than 4%, indicating that simulations are in good accordance with the measured results, validating the proposed software-based design approach.