“I’ve been at this for 3 months and I haven’t sold a thing. What could be the problem? Here’s my design” <Insert t-shirt designed in Microsoft Paint>
I’m a part of a few POD circles, and every single day, I see countless posts following this format and I cannot help but feel sorry for the posters who don’t realise that in print-on-demand, the design is the product.
Creating winning designs is one aspect of the print on demand business model that can either make or break you. An amazing design can either make or break your store, and your ability to be able to create quickly and test fast is probably the most important superpower you will need when creating a print-on-demand online store.
When starting out, the first thing to remember is that this is a passion/emotion-driven industry. Almost no one needs another new hoodie, or mug but if you can appeal to the right emotions, almost everyone with the interest you are targeting can find a reason to buy from you.
Design is how you create these emotions. To demonstrate what good design looks like, here are a couple of examples.
What is good design?
1) It has a theme. There has to be a story or theme on which your design is based. It could be recent trending news, for example. Like during the recent US presidential debate, a fly landed on the VPs head – and stayed there for a good 2 minutes.
While this shirt is not particularly striking on it’s own, once you show it to someone who watched the debate, searched the hashtag on Twitter and possibly made some comments, it becomes easy to see how the theme sells the shirt.
2. It is simple, but still an actual design, rather than clipart. It is important to create pieces of high aesthetic quality because people like beautiful things. Don’t just create some text to just try anything – be intentional about what you are making, and make it appealing. If you want to do it yourself, you can buy font packages and use software like Canva or Gimp to put things together. If you’re not able to put things together, pay someone on Fiverr to being your ideas to life.
3. Read about color theory and apply this to your design. You can use cetain colour combinations to appeal to whatever emotions you want to evoke. There are color combinations that appeal to emotions of happiness and positive energy, strength and masculinity etc.
4. Would you buy it? Once you have put your design ideas down, step back and look at them through the eyes of a customer who understands the niche. Would you buy the designs even if there was no niche attached to it? The design in the above example would looks cool enough to someone who probably didn’t understand the context – and this is what you want to achieve with your designs.