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print on demand

Ultimate Guide on Creating Print on Demand Designs for Your Dropshipping Business

By
Gemma Henry

How to Get Designs for Print on Demand

If you’re considering starting a print on demand dropshipping business, learning how to create designs for print on demand designs is the first step. While it’s not too difficult to create print on demand graphics, not everyone has an eye for artistic design and or a flair for creativity. 

And so, in this article we lay out the basics you’ll need to know to get your dropshipping POD business up and running. We’ll also take you through how to create designs for print on demand using different tools that are accessible online. 

Read on for all the need to know info on how to make print on demand designs and earn money online doing it!

1.Design Basics for print on demand

When it comes to print on demand designs, there are no rules. You can choose to create hyper-realistic artwork to be printed onto various products, you can embrace graphic design in all its glory, or you can fuse the two into a hybrid creation of sorts. 

While digital design isn’t too dissimilar in its lack of rules, it is worth remembering that digital art is tailor made for digital viewing. And when we’re going to create designs for print on demand, it needs to look as advertised on your site in real life too. And your choice of product will come into play too. So whether your design is intended to be printed on clothing, canvas bags, or a ceramic mug will also affect the ability to transfer the design effectively.

If you’re having a go at creating graphics for print-on-demand, here are our top tips:

  • Stick to your chosen niche: Whether you’re starting from scratch or adding some print on demand product to your existing dropshipping store, a niche is vital. Your niche ensures that you’re targeting the correct audience. So, when creating your on demand design, try to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. The aim is to come up with designs that your existing customer base will want to buy. And that that same design will attract more customers that want to buy print on demand designs to your store.
  • Simple is best: Designs need to be legible - yes, even if the design doesn’t have any words in it! And so, when it comes to POD designs, simplicity is best more often than not.
  • Just like your brand, your designs should stand out: If you want to continue to attract new buyers and retain your existing dropshipping customers, take a look at popular, trending t shirt designs. And then put your own spin on them. Make them unique, aligned with your brand, and yet popular with the masses too.
  • Be consistent: Building your brand will take time and patience. But it's important that your designs never veer off-brand throughout your venture. Position your business as a go-to by consistently offering products that won’t shock or alienate your customer base.

How to create designs for print on demand

Each dropshipping POD entrepreneur has their own design process. They’ll also have their own opinions where those secret ingredients to creating a winning design lie. 

But, regardless of their secret ingredients, here are some straightforward steps that every POD design process encompasses. Learn more about how to make designs for print on demand below:

Inspiration is everywhere

If you want to know how to find designs for print on demand, you’re in luck. The answer is, quite simply, everywhere! Ideas and concepts can be found in every aspect of our day to day lives if we are open to them. And wherever you find your inspirations, use it to guide your design creation. 

Finding design ideas for your print on demand products offering is easy with a little know-how. The below steps lay out where to get designs for print on demand:

  • Understanding. Having a cohesive understanding of your brand messaging and the type of products you want to sell will help you identify the different criteria you need to think about while coming up with a design. Bear in mind your vision, the objective, market trends, and your target audience. Considering each of these four key pillars will help you on your mission to create a winning print on demand design.
  • Resourcefulness. Use the different resources you have at your disposal effectively. Look to your competitors, consider both free and paid design services, or scroll through your socials. Inspiration could strike at any moment so keep your eyes open.
  • Brainstorming. Brainstorming is a great way to come up with unique, creative, and topical concepts that will fare well with your customer base. And at this stage, nothing is off limits! Write everything down. Who knows - a bird and a badger riding a motorbike with a sidecar might just be the next best-selling t-shirt design of all time. It also might not be, but we’ll review the ideas in a moment anyway. So for now, let your creative juices really get to work.
  • Reviewing. Next, narrow down your list of ideas. Review the results of your brainstorm and pick out the design concepts that are a good fit for your print-on-demand business and existing product offering.
  • Beginning. Now that you’ve decided on a design concept or ten, it’s time to get to grips with creating your graphics for print on demand products. Practice makes perfect so we’d definitely also suggest practicing building your designs using software or online tools.

Design file considerations

If you’re going to offer print on demand designs for sale through your dropshipping store, you’ll need to ensure that you adhere to your supplier’s design specifics. And so, the below checklist comes in handy when preparing a print on demand design file:

  • Design dimensions.  The dimensions of your design basically means the width and height. Different print on demand products have different print size requirements and limits. Remember to factor these in when creating a new design. 
  • DPI. DPI is an acronym that translates to dots per inch. What you need to know is that the higher the DPI, the higher quality the printing will be, and the higher printing quality the print on demand service will need to be able to deliver. You’ll usually find that the lowest standard is 300 DPI. This is due to lower DPI having a higher risk of causing the design to become pixelated or unclear.
  • File format. .ai, .psd, and .png tend to be the most widely accepted file formats within the print-on-demand industry. If you create your design files using design software, you’re usually able to save the file in whatever format you prefer. But remember to check which format your POD supplier prefers beforehand so that you know which format to save your design in.

Resources to help you find designs for print on demand

If you’re stuck and have no idea where to start with your print on demand design, you’ll appreciate these popular websites often used by print on demand sellers often visit to get free designs we’ve rounded up and listed below:

  • Freepik: zero restrictions and a plethora of free pictures and digital art to incorporate into your print on demand designs. Access hot topic trends across multiple industries or sign up to the premium (paid) membership tier to unlock access to more than 42 million design ideas.
  • Unsplash: Forever free and access to a bank of more than one million photos. print on demand templates
  • Pixabay: Free access to over one million images, clipart designs, and vectors uploaded by other users. 
  • Vecteezy: Free access to thousands of vector graphics and print on demand design templates.
  • Pikwizard: Access over a million stock images with free royalty and a large community that votes for the best images. Choosing trending designs that will sell well will be a breeze with this resource.
  • Open Clip Art: This free, original clipart resource is proving popular among dropshippers looking for great design ideas for their print-on-demand products. 

All the above websites offer access to free design ideas. Some of them try to encourage users to invest in paid subscriptions to be able to access all the benefits and most will require you to create an account or download an app to be able to edit their designs. Shop around before you dive in if you want to find the most suitable site for your business.

And remember to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Double check the sites' policies surrounding print on demand and copyright allowances. Doing so will help you to avoid any copyright infringement on your print on demand designs.

Our final thoughts

With our guide on how to create print on demand designs and graphics, you have everything you need to begin imagining your first (or next) best-selling design. Pay attention to the file, size and DPI requirements set by your POD partners and remember the four key pillars of understanding too. 

For more advice on launching a print on demand or dropshipping business, check out our blog. We’ve got guides, advice, and success stories galore for you to enjoy exploring at a pace that suits you.

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Gemma Henry

Gemma has a passion for writing, an enthusiasm for eCommerce, and a flair for creating informative content that drives others to follow their dreams. Her work foundations are built on thorough research to allow you to find all the need-to-know info in one place.

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