Moteefe Live: How to design POD artwork that sells
Running a Print on Demand business can be super profitable—as long as you hit on a good design. But what’s the key ingredient to turn a bad design into a good one? In this week’s live stream, Print on Demand experts Thomas Gentleman and Aidan Kessell give viewers valuable insight into what steps you can take to find and create a winning design that will bring in thousands in profits! Some of the topics they will be discussing include:
- 2:00 – Be original
- 2:40 – Consider how the design will appear on the product
- 5:54 – Text-based designs
- 6:20 – Personalise your language
- 9:00 – Do you design yourself? Or is it better to use a designer?
- 12:32 – What design styles work best?
Don’t have 30 minutes to spare? Here’s a summary of what you missed:
It’s okay to gain inspiration from designs online, but avoid trademark and copyright infringement. Stealing ideas from established designers and brands is a bad idea. Your account can get suspended or banned and you may face a lawsuit from the original designer. Don’t risk it. Produce your own original designs for the best results.
Consider how the design will appear on the product
What’s the shape of the product? What colors are you using? Consider the physical attributes of your product. High contrast between the design and product makes your designs pop! Use a legible font so that your message is clear.
Personalise your language
Phrases like, “Food is good!,” “Happy Father’s Day!” or “Geology rocks!” are too generic and do not sell as well as products with a more personalised message. If you are targeting a niche market like foodies, consider something like “This guy likes to eat.” Or, better yet, include the custom text tool to give your buyers the ability to customize their own messaging!
Do you design yourself? Or is it better to use a designer?
If you have the ability to create your own artwork, go for it! However, if you are mediocre or below average at graphic design, consider outsourcing this task. Reaching out to a talented designer now can be better in the long run since it allows you to develop a professional working relationship with them, making it easier for you to communicate your ideas.
What design styles work best?
Simple is good. However, consider your audience. Understand your audience and tailor the style to what they would prefer. For example, if you are targeting bikers and motorcyclists, a more traditional-tattoo style may work best. If you want to target new mothers looking to buy baby grows and children’s clothing, a more cute and simple design may be preferred.
“Don’t infringe, don’t directly copy. Don’t just cut and paste somebody else’s stuff straight in. Come up with something yourself, add some value to a concept and be mindful of the fact that you can’t get away with that stuff.”
If you are still aiming to increase your POD knowledge, use our free resources to help you increase sales in your POD business:
- Moteefe School – A free 13-video Teachable course taught by POD expert Thomas Gentleman. The course takes you through the process of how to create original POD designs, advertise your product and use Facebook Ads.
- Moteefe x Marcazo Global Facebook Group – Join our community Facebook group and connect with active sellers who are keen to share their experiences and knowledge on all things POD.
- Moteefe Live streams – Moteefe’s YouTube channel features live streams every Thursday with POD experts Thomas Gentleman and Aidan Kessell.
- Facebook Ads Translation Guide – A downloadable PDF containing common phrases in multiple languages for marketing purposes.
You can watch the full live stream on YouTube or read the transcription below. Want to be notified next time we go live? Don’t forget to tune in every Thursday for weekly live streams with Thomas and Aidan where they discuss all things Print on Demand!
Contrast is important to make the design stand out—Pop.
— Thomas Gentleman
Aidan: Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to this week’s livestream, where we’re going to be talking about how to design POD artwork that sells, more importantly, that sells. And that’s what we want. As always, as every week. I’m joined by none other than Thomas Gentleman, our resident POD expert.Hi Thomas, how are you?
Thomas: Hi. Hello, everybody. I’m doing fine. Thank you very much. How are you doing?
Aidan: Doing good. Other than the great English weather, I cannot complain.
Thomas: Was that the grey English weather? Or the great English?
Aidan: It was grey today, unfortunately. Grey.
Thomas: Yes. Well, I mean, it’s only May. What does one expect? Yes, abroad is a thing, that’s all I’m saying, abroad is a thing
Aidan: It’s certainly a thing as well as anything is. Well, hello, everyone. It’s just joining us. Hi, Hillary.
Thomas: Oh, yes. All those people joining us. Hillary, Marcos, hello. Welcome. Welcome. So today, Aidan what are we talking about? What a glorious topic have we got for our dedicated legion of fans?
Aidan: Print on demand designs that sell. OK, yes.
Thomas: I’m really interested in this. Where we starting? This sounds like a great topic and tell me all about it.
Aidan: Tell you all about it? Well, some designs sell better than other designs. So it’s hard to come up and create those designs.
Thomas: Let’s get let’s start at the beginning. Do we want to start at the beginning of the the third chapter to the end? I think the beginning is probably the best place to start. So the first thing that you’ve got to do when you’re thinking about what is going to sell is not just what can make sales, but what you can sell legitimately. So you have to make sure that you’re not copying somebody else’s design exactly. You’re not infringing on their copyright.
You’re not for infringing on a trademark. You’re not doing something that isn’t sustainable because we will not let you do that. We will shut you down. We will find you. You can’t do it anyway or wherever you are trying to sell. It’s not a sustainable thing. So the first thing that you’ve got to make sure that you’re doing and you know, you know, you don’t come on, you know, come on. You know, you say don’t do that.
Thomas: You know what you’re doing. If you’re doing it, stop it. We’re here to help. That’s why we’re doing a video about it. Don’t infringe, don’t directly copy. Don’t just cut and paste somebody else’s stuff straight in. Come up with something yourself, add some value to a concept and be mindful of the fact that you can’t get away with that stuff. And even if you can get away with it somewhere, wherever you might, in the end you won’t.
And in the end it will come back to hurt you. Plus, all of that time that you’ve wasted, you won’t have learnt how to do it properly. So you won’t have anything. So the first thing is, it’s got to be something that you can sell. The next thing is: What product are you putting it on? So if you’re putting, let’s start with a lot of people start with T-shirts now. Is it going to be a dark t-shirt or a light T-shirt?
Consider how the design will appear on the product
Thomas: If it’s going to be a dark T-shirt, then you want a contrast of colour. So contrast is important to make the design stand out, Pop. If you’ve got a white cushion like light grey cushion, you want to go dark, you want to have a high contrast, if you’ve got a dark product, then you want bright colours, white on black, the highest contrast that you can have, vibrant colours stand out more. So just think about how you’re going to catch people’s eye when you’re trying to sell a product next thing.
Very simple. If you’ve got text on your product, then you want to make the text big so it fills. The majority of the products you want big, bold words, you know, had some little thing here, it might be the coolest little phrase in the world, but you’re not going to be able to read it. So you really want to fill that middle part of the product. You want your text big, keep it readable. Big words, easy to read fonts.
You don’t want to have these fonts, all wispy and like somebody has written it with a quill. You want, you know, your bold Arial whatever font is fine. That that’s where you want to start. Everything else comes second. So if you’ve got a readable, you know, big print, high contrast, keep it readable. Everything else follows on from that. So, yes, of course, you can do little hearts if it’s a cushion for Mother’s Day or a family or a marriage or whatever engagement product or something like that, something that’s got a love message.
You can put some hearts in and you can maybe you can have a little bit of text that isn’t as as strong as, you know, a little a little softer text, but you still got to have those basic. But definitely the basics.
Aidan: Now, it’s good tips there, and I think also just when you were mentioning about having a big typeface, I suppose, as well, when you have that big and clear, when people are scrolling through your ad, it is the first thing that pops out, grabs them. Right.
Thomas: Yes, I said so they want to be able to read the message, if if if your message isn’t readable, then it’s lost or. Yeah. If only one percent of the people can read it, then it only hits one percent. You say you want to get it. Big people are scrolling through and moving on very quickly. You’ve got in front of them. You’ve probably paid to get in front of them. So you want that point one of the second that you are in front of them to be as impactful as possible.
So, yes, you’ve got to catch their eye. High contrast. And once you’ve caught their eye, then you want them to be able to read and engage with the message that’s on the products. If you have got a message on the product, which I do recommend, because just images alone tend not to sell anywhere near, if at all, as well as text based designs, then the next level of this is what kind what message do you put?
Thomas: What are you going to say now? Do you say, let’s say we’re sending a fishing T-shirt, so I’m going to put the going to put the text back here. It’s going to be high contrast. Everyone’s going to see it, am I going to put, “fishing is good?”
Aidan: No, you’re not.
Thomas: Because that doesn’t connect to anything. It’s just a statement I’m going to put: “I love fishing” or “this guy loves fishing.” Yeah, “this guy’s hooked on fishing.”
Personalise your language
Thomas: That’s what I’m going to put because that’s the T-shirt that I am walking around in. So when you’re using.
“I, my” these things that ties it to the person. Not just general statements about, “oh, wouldn’t it be wonderful if one day we went fishing together old boy?” No, that isn’t going to do very well. It’s like, “this guy loves going fishing with his bros.” That’s the kind of thing. Or, “you’ll find this guy fishing with his bros when he’s not in management consultancy.” That’s that’s how that’s how you get the hook. All I want for Christmas is to go fishing with my bros.”
I don’t know why I’m saying bros so much this week. I’m okay.
Aidan: But it’s a popular thing people to do a lot nowadays.
Thomas: So I’m not really people that are anyway. So that’s that’s how you want to tie them in. And it’s a message to somebody else. It’s not. Personalisation is the next thing. So how do you tie in? You could say to somebody on a on a message. I whatever I’m not good with this kind of stuff, but I I appreciate you, my whatever, dearest. And at the end, it’s not from your eternal love you can put from Bob.
Yes, because you can have that personalisation, so you’ve got if you customise products to add custom so the buyer can add their names to that product, that gives an extra level of connection to that product. It makes it a one off. So very simply, use language like me, my, I, that kind of thing, or if it’s a gift for somebody else, you, your, you are mine, that kind of thing, rather than general statements like, isn’t fishing good?
Or if I quite like cupcakes isn’t as good as you know, this guy loves cupcakes. And then if you can add in that extra level of personal personalisation. So if I had three children, which I do not, well, who knows. But if I had three children and for Father’s Day I got a fishing T-shirt, say this cool dad loves fishing and this dad is owned by. And then the three names that you’ve got, everything that you can want because they’ve given it to you.
You’re walking around the children’s names. Some people appreciate that kind of thing. Please, if I do have any children out there, don’t send me something like that because I don’t fish. So at least get my niche right.
Aidan: Yes, what would your niche be?
Thomas: Live streams with Aidan.
Aidan: Of course, of course. Right. This is the next question on this one, though. Do you learn to design yourself? Or get a designer? or both?
Do you design yourself? Or is it better to use a designer?
Thomas: Well, it’s always good if you know the basics of how to use design software so that you can make little adjustments to the designs. And yes, if you are just using fairly simple text based designs, you should be able to learn to use a program like PhotoShop and Illustrator within 10 or 20 hours of messing around with it to the level of, you know, getting some text onto a t shirt, however, really, if you want to do this long term and you want to test a lot of designs and really scale up your business and also free yourself up to do other things, you know, like live streams with Aidan, then you want to get and find a designer to do all of this stuff with you, for you, in fact.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you can just expect them to deliver all of these things without telling them what you want. You’re still going to have to brief them. You’re going to have to work with them. You’re going to have to say, hey, Mr. Designer, this design that you gave me, it didn’t sell. But this design, which was very similar for, you know, very similar messaging, but different colours, different different layout, different font, maybe this is what’s working in this niche.
Can we have more like this? Less like that. So there is a period of working together to try to find a style that resonates with your niche and it will be different. So fishermen are going to want to have different things, different things, different design styles, different styles, different designs, different fonts, different messages are going to work in the fishing niche vs. the Mother’s Day niche or the Father’s Day niche. So it’s not like there’s just one thing like, oh, you must use this font and you must use these colours because every single niche is going to be different.
Aidan: OK. When Hillary in the chat said, yeah, livestreams with Aidan, she said a solid niche indeed! Thank you, Hillary. It is a solid niche.
Thomas: A little niche, a little niche, but a beautiful one.
But yeah, don’t copy this niche. Go find your own niches out there. And we also had a comment saying, Thomas, fishermen, I don’t know who who that person is referring to. But yeah, any questions on POD designs guys, feel free to comment. And a quick self plug here. Right. So if you guys are watching over on YouTube, you’ll find in the description below a link to our Moteefe global Facebook group where you can find me, you can find Flor, you can find Ana, basically.
And we help all the sellers find success from translations if they want to scale into other countries tips and tricks on Facebook, how to upload a design that’s finished. We help with that with some designs that are showing it initial success. We can even help you get them redesigned in other languages to really scale and take over the world. So definitely join the group if you were new to all of this. We have a free Moteefe ads course and it doesn’t just go through ads, it goes through anything and everything.
How to get started from step one is that twenty nine? So take that.
Thomas: Twenty nine? Twenty nine steps.
Aidan: Who knows! Twenty nine steps. Yep. Go and count them. And in the comments, prove me wrong.
Thomas: Not the twenty nine steps. It was a different, a different number, a different number of steps.
What design styles work best?
Aidan: I’ll have to go look at it straight after but I’ll check it out. Please do the Moteefe ads course, join the group. Message me and I’ll be happy to help. So good question from Hillary when it comes to designs, what styles work best for you? Cartoon, realism, abstract? To be honest. Simple is good.
Thomas: Simple is good. Simple is good. Yes. If you’re selling to fairly serious fishing types, farmers, you know that that kind of men, really, and their men, adult men, then cartoon styles are probably wants to stay away from. If you are going to put an illustration of a fish on something, if you think sort of a 19th century gentleman, amateur style illustrations of the beasts rather than anime style illustrations or sort of along the, I don’t want to say the word or else we’ll get striked but the theme park in Florida style ones, big eyes, you know, that kind of thing.
You want to stay away from that unless you’re targeting to people that maybe appreciate that. So maybe honour that kind of an illustration. Obviously always be original. Don’t just copy. But that kind of an illustrative style. If a father was buying something for a daughter might be appropriate for that kind of thing, but not maybe for a grandfather biker that wouldn’t really want sort of a pony on a bike or a unicorn on a bike.
I mean, maybe they would. There’s always someone out there. But in general, I would go for a little grittier, 1950s and 1960s tattoo style of illustrative work for bikers in general, notwithstanding their age or gender. Whereas, you know, large eyed illustrations.
Thomas: You said you said, I know you’re into that item,
Aidan: Everyone needs a vice. That might be mine. Good stuff. So I think we’re looking good. There’s no more questions in the chat as of yet Thomas. They’re all just smashing their keyboard. And on that, you should also smash the like and subscribe button if you are on YouTube can’t forget those.
What NOT to do when creating your design
Thomas: Make sure also that your designs can be printed. Well, so don’t use glitter effects, don’t use, don’t make don’t have sort of light shining out of when somebody’s views something on a screen, the screens backlit, it’s projecting light out when they print it flat on a T-shirt. You don’t want to disappoint your buyers because they think it’s going to have a neon glow or anything like that. So don’t use any transparencies. If you want a glowing effect or like text that’s got sort of a glow around it, then you want to you want to do that in a different way.
Don’t use a transparency layer at all with anything you want, everything 100 percent on or off so that it will print well, don’t make it don’t make a glitter effect or make a any kind of lighting based effect on anything that you sell. Because in the end, yeah, it might look good on screen, but when it prints, everyone’s going to be disappointed. So stay completely away from anything like that. Glasses are always not these type. The ones you drink from drinking glasses with light shining through them, don’t you know, don’t do it.
You don’t need to do that. Know your audience. Keep everything sustainable in terms of artwork, legitimate artwork that you’re allowed to sell. By contrast, always high contrast, vibrant colours and big readable words when you put them on there. Yes, in some niches can go you can put a lot of words out there, but still keep it readable. There’s no point in having A’s that look like O’s or whatever, like some of these weird fonts that nobody can read easily.
Readability, readability, readability is the number one thing across everything, and that’s it. You just keep on testing work with a designer, as Aidan quite correctly say, work with a designer and work with that design as well. Don’t just you’re not buying a designer, but design is lot like a a bag of coffee beans. You can’t just get a designer and blend it up and all of a sudden you’ve got great stuff. Now you have to work with them because they will need to be guided, briefed and taken along the journey as well.
Give them feedback and find somebody that you can work with. Ideally, in the end, you’re paying them a monthly fee like they’re working for you for a set amount of artwork every month. And you’re just that encourages you to keep filling up their inbox with new stuff and it makes a commitment to them. And then if you start making money, give them a little bit more, give them more designs, give them more money. It’s it’s it’s a win win.
And after you’ve worked with somebody for six months or a year, they don’t need to ask. It’s just, oh, that’s in that niche bank, you’ve got something that, you know that’s going to be selling very well from the beginning. So there we are. Aidan, why don’t you wrap it up?
Aidan: So thank you to everyone who’s tuned in. We will be back next week on Thursday at 5pm GMT for our next episode. We’ll keep you posted what that will be. And if you do want to get started on print on demand, making money from home, making a little side hustle, and then check out the description and the links in the description Moteefe group, you can find me, Thomas, Ana, Flor, everyone. All the success team to help you.
You’ve got any tips and tricks, anything, any questions about set stuff up, whatever, where they’re for you. Secondly, don’t know where get started? Moteefe ads course. It’s there in the description. That’s your first step.
Thomas: Moteefeschool.com. Oh no, Moteefe.school.
Aidan: If you’re not sure it’s in the description. So I’ll see you guys all in the Facebook group. It must be directly. And you see Thomas either in the group or next week. Thank you very much every.
Thomas: Thank you.