To ensure a successful design, it is important to understand the effect that design parameters have on design performance. Tolerances are an important subset of design parameters. In this paper, the relevance of fractal surface characterization for profile tolerances is investigated. The notion of fractal geometry is discussed. The validity of a fractal characterization on a cam surface is determined. Dynamic simulations of a cam-follower system are used to qualify the effect of a fractal profile error on system performance.