Have you ever started looking for a new shirt or gift and thought, “I could design something so much better than what I see here?”

With a little design and good ideas, you can design and sell online products with your artwork. It’s easier over time with so many marketplaces on the market as well as options that don’t require ordering and stocking a lot of stock in advance.

If you’ve ever thought about designing and selling products online, keep reading. (Note: The images in this article are from Envato Elements, which has a lot of graphic design resources to help you create a single product.)

Start with a product or design concept

You can start slowly with a single product or model and a unique sales offer.

The USP helps you define your audience for what you sell and why it’s better than your options. Much of this information will likely focus on your style as a designer and the design element you provide.

For most designers, product sales start as a passionate project and expand over time. Start with something you love. And then show this design to relevant items like stickers, shirts or coffee mugs.

From a technical point of view, the most important element of the design is that it is in vector format so that it can be scaled for printing to multiple objects. Then it must be reproducible. (For example, a very detailed line drawing doesn’t work well on many fabrics.)

Sales options include physical goods or digital products (such as extensions, themes, images, or design elements).

Lastly, you want to make sure that you follow the trademark, copyright, and licensing guidelines for your products to avoid problems.

Choose a platform

What you sell can help determine where you plan to sell it.

Different marketplaces are available for different design products. The best for you is somewhere where people are likely to look for your type of sales, and it has a sensible fee / commission structure for you.

Selling on a well-established platform may cost you more upfront due to transaction and subscription fees, but you can get marketing value from these marketplaces and help you see your products.

Most designers find that launching a market – from Quest to Creative Market, Café Press to Amazon – provides good feedback on products, pricing, and can be a springboard for more independent e-commerce.

Depending on what you plan to sell, and the terms of the sale, you may not be limited to one store, and you can list the same products in multiple locations.

Consider ordering or pre-selling

One of the biggest selling costs of merchandise is inventory.

For example, if you plan to put your model on a shirt, you may need several sizes, colors, and styles. It’s a major investment upfront (plus you have to save and send everything).

Print-to-order suppliers allow you to download a model, select products to sell, and offer a “royalty” based on the purchase price of each product.

Printing to order and pre-selling can eliminate some of this headache and help you try out designs without a large investment.

On-demand printers allow you to download a model, select products to sell, and offer a “royalty” based on the purchase price of each product. Margins are usually not very large, but this can work well for sites that have a lot of options and have not been tested in the market. Most on-demand vendors do everything except create design, which makes it a low-risk, hassle-free way for you.

Another bonus to the print n demand option is that you can download templates and order items for yourself to test the quality and use as images for promotional purposes. (Real-life product descriptions can have a much greater impact than mock-ups.)

Pre-selling works the same way, and people have the option to place an order for the product, and everything is printed and ordered at once. This will result in a higher margin for you, but more delays in getting the product to the customer because everything is stored and printed and shipped at the same time.

Pre-sales products (think they work a lot like Kickstarter) require a strong marketing effort to reach your order minimums. It is also a service offered by an increasing number of local printing and shirt shops so you can work with a local partner.

Focus on the design element or theme

If you are passionate about products, chances are you have a lot of ideas already floating in your head. Slow down and focus so you don’t come back.

Work with the model you created to make it sell well. There are many elements to consider, especially with physical products:

  • What types of objects should the design be?
  • What colors of goods fit? Need another model for light / dark goods?> / Li>
  • Do the items meet the needs of your target audience? (For example, when you put a design on children for objects the size of children.)

A design theme can help you connect with a loyal and recurring audience. For example, if you create models with bicycles, previous customers will return for similar products.

Give it a try and ask for feedback

The small batch product allows for experimentation and feedback. Allow customers to leave reviews. Items that are higher are probably worth the time and effort to keep in your online store.

If a product is rated poorly, try to identify the problem. Is it design? The product on which it is printed? Delivery or price?

All of these things can help you refine your trading pattern over time.

Advertise your merchant

Now this can be the hardest part for many designers. Great design doesn’t sell itself. You have to work on it.

Without advertising a design store online, it is difficult to generate sales.

This can include everything from word of mouth marketing to printed materials on social media (leaflets or business cards) to online advertising or emailing.

Key marketing tactics include:

  • Emphasis on new products
  • Offers coupons or promo codes
  • Introducing the best sellers or the most valued products
  • Referral or affiliate bonuses
  • Affects marketing

Expand your online store with your website

Once you get a good feel for merchandise sales and what works and what doesn’t work for you, it may be time to move from a marketplace or platform-based sales tool to your ecommerce site.

Some vendors have been working with the hybrid model for some time while both using the conversion.

The reason many designers switch to selling products on their own website is through website design, product and inventory management, and the ability to increase profit margins without so many commissions and fees.

The key difference when moving to your own ecommerce site is that you can move from a model where everything from printing to packaging and shipping is handled under your own control. This can be a time consuming project if you don’t have a partner working with you in this part of the business in the background.

Designers who sell digital products – or those with little inventory changes – often find the most success on their own website.


Selling goods online can be a fun way to earn a little extra income as a designer. But its success must be a passionate project. You should enjoy creating the goods and the effort to get it shopping.

If nothing else, you can pamper yourself by starting small and creating planning and purchasing in your organization where you’re involved, to see if customized products are selling to you.


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