The Dos and Don’ts when creating Print on Demand designs

Oct 30, 2020 | Blog, English, Features, Products, Products & Features, Tips

Print on Demand designs: blog header showing a line drawing in red of a pair of hands clapping in approval

Coming up with original and relatable Print on Demand designs can be a difficult task when launching a POD business.  Although sellers want to create a design that their buyers will like, they also need to consider how these designs will look once printed on a product.  

An all-black design may look cool in Photoshop, but how is it going to appear on a dark colored shirt?  Color combinations are important and may often be overlooked by new sellers.  Here are a few ideas of what you should and should not do when coming up with new and original designs for your POD campaigns.

Print on Demand designs: The Dos

Double check grammar and spelling

Although this is an obvious tip, some people would be surprised to see the overwhelming amount of T-shirts containing spelling mistakes and grammatical errors available online.  Even if you are a spelling genius, you also need to consider your audience.  Some words in the United States are spelled differently than the rest of the world.  Americans drop the ‘U’ in words like ‘color’ or ‘favor’ while everyone else includes it. 

When it comes to color vs colour, neither spelling is necessarily wrong, however, these minor details need to be considered if you are targeting specific regions and demographics.  Share your Print on Demand designs with others and get some feedback before launching it online.

Print on Demand designs: an example of a common design fault - a T-shirt with an American Eagle design and text spelling 'color' as 'colour'

Avoid overly-Photoshopped images

Unfortunately, images on products don’t appear as pristine and vibrant as images on a computer screen.  If you decide to go with an oversaturated image you may be disappointed with the results.  Once printed on a product, it may appear desaturated in comparison.

Review image placements

After uploading the design online, the platform automatically centers the design on each individual product.  However, sometimes this causes the designs to get cut-off.  Before publishing your campaign to the world, it’s always a good idea to check your image placements on each product to ensure that the full design is visible on each product. 

Since most sellers typically upload designs that are meant to be printed on clothing, be sure to check image placements on the accessories.  The dimensions on cushions, mugs and jewelry are usually more square, which causes them to cut off the tops and bottoms of designs.  It’s important to go into these products individually and adjust the image accordingly.

Keep your Print on Demand designs simple

Complex and detailed Print on Demand designs can appear impressive on canvas prints and posters, but these intricate designs may translate poorly on smaller products.  Additionally, for new sellers, keeping your designs minimalistic and straightforward gives you a better idea of what your sellers like. Once you get a better idea of what your buyers prefer, you can branch out and begin creating designs similar to ones that are already successful.  Or you can combine successful ideas. 

If a design has too much going on, it may be difficult to determine the reason why this design failed or succeeded.  After a successful campaign, you can always translate it and market it to new audiences.

Print on Demand designs: The Don’ts

Using JPG files

First off, raster images can appear pixelated when blown up for print products.  A POD campaign with a low-resolution image is a guaranteed flop. That is why it’s recommended to create a vector-based design.  Secondly, if you decide to save it as a JPG or JPEG, the background of your design will appear white and print as a white background on the product.

Huge blocks of white color, especially on dark garments, creates an amateur appearance.  If you want to save your design as a raster image, save it as a PNG file instead.  This allows your background to remain transparent so that the apparel color appears through.  It’s advisable to steer clear from huge blocks of white as this type of design won’t produce as many sales as you would like.

Choosing specific colors

Although all colors are beautiful, unfortunately, some manufacturers struggle to get these colors to appear correctly when printed.  Depending on the suppliers, oftentimes magentas appear red while reds appear orange.  Additionally, turquoise is universally known as a green-blue color, however, the shades might come out different than expected.  Turquoise may come out too green or too blue for the buyer’s liking.  It’s a gamble so it may be best to exclude these colors altogether.

White on white Print on Demand designs

Avoid creating an excessively white design or using white-text since it will not print properly on white garment. With white being a popular apparel color, this exclusion may cause you to lose sales.  If you really want white text or a white image as your design, it’s best that you include a black border so that your design is visible on the product.

Print on Demand designs: an example of a common design fault - a white T-shirt with a design that features white snow

Too much text

A lot of text may look good on a T-shirt or canvas print, but it will limit your product options since it may not be legible on smaller products like mugs, jewelry or face covers.  Since these products offer less surface area for your Print on Demand designs, this means the text will also be smaller and perhaps, even illegible.  Make sure to keep your design clear, concise and clean.

Coming up with new ideas and launching a successful POD campaign can be difficult.  That’s why Moteefe created a free online webinar series to help sellers succeed. Check out Moteefe’s School: make huge POD sales to help you grow your online business.

Hope to see you there!

Team Moteefe