How to Source Great Print On Demand Graphics From a Designer
Looking to add a new, custom product to your e-commerce business?
It’s becoming more and more important for brands to create something new that no one’s seen before. Making what everyone else is making can no longer cut it in the world of pinning and endless sharing on social media. Brands who can come up with new product ideas, or produce interesting spins on existing trends, are the brands who win.
You might already have an idea, or you might still be in the brainstorming stage. Whichever it is, you know you want to work with a professional designer to realize your vision.
And even though you won’t be making the design yourself, you want to ensure that your graphic comes out exactly the way you imagined it.
In this article, we’ll introduce four practical tips for communicating with your designer so you can print your next dream product on demand with the Voodoo app.
First, let’s go over the most important part of designing with print on demand products in mind. First you have to...
Understand the design requirements of your print on demand service
Before reaching out to any designer, you should be aware of the design file requirements for your platform of choice. For example, the Voodoo app currently accepts SVG files.
For now, the app only supports SVGs that are black, solid, and free of inner outlines and disconnected parts.
In other words, you want your SVGs to look like the examples in this free SVG bundle, which you’re more than welcomed to use to help you get started with the Voodoo app:
To clarify some of this new SVG terminology, here’s a reference image to help explain what we mean by open outlines, inner outlines, and disconnected parts.
Now that you have an understanding of what kind of file will work with the app, it’s time for the fun part — the idea itself.
Have a concrete idea of what you want
It sounds simple, but this is where many entrepreneurs make a costly mistake: they give an unfinished idea to their designer and are disappointed when the end result isn’t what they were expecting.
Why doesn’t this work? Because they don’t have a concrete idea of what they actually want, they’re essentially asking designers to be mind-readers and finish the idea themselves. Of course, no designer can do that. They won’t be able to see your idea if you can’t yet see it clearly.
To get inspiration, it helps to research niche product trends to see what’s gaining momentum in the marketplace. Services like Viral Launch and Google Trends allow you to analyze the popularity of different products and search terms. Keeping an eye on the news, social media trends, and what local stores are stocking can also give you a picture of what kinds of Print on Demand graphics will sell in your store.
Take time to form a clear picture of the theme, shapes, and visual tone you want to feature in your graphic. Know how it should look, and how it should not look. The more concrete your idea is, the more likely your designer will be able to understand it and make it a reality.
One thing to keep in mind is that the more complex the idea is, the more it will likely cost for design services. On the other hand, a simpler design that is easier for a designer to create may cost less.
Once you’ve solidified your idea, you’re ready to present it to the designer.
Bring lots of examples
At this point, you can easily picture the product you want to create. But when it comes to communicating that picture to someone else, most of us struggle.
The most basic way to communicate your idea is to provide your designer with a rough sketch. This will be a blueprint that guides the designer to the final result.
Of course, a single drawing won’t give them the whole picture. To communicate your vision more clearly, share with your designer the colors, materials, patterns, and fonts that you want to use. If you can, make a simple mockup in Photoshop or Illustrator. You can give them your Pinterest moodboard, a mind map detailing the product features, or a word cloud that gave you inspiration for the design.
Most designers would tell you that no detail is too small at this stage.
Finally, the more references and images of similar products you can provide, the better. You can look to successful Shopify stores like It’s the Island Life and Corgi Things for examples of cohesive product offerings and branding.
After sharing your robust examples, your designer should have a good grasp of your idea. Now it’s time to let them do their magic.
Ping! An email pops into your inbox. It’s the finished design.
If the design you receive isn’t what you expected, don’t give up — you might need to explain it in a different way. For example, you can show your designer more examples or give them specific feedback on parts you’d like to change.
When giving feedback, stay away from abstract ideas and focus on the concrete changes you’d like to see: “Can we make this part thicker so it’s 3D printable?” or “This part is good, but can we make it a few millimeters thinner?” Directions like these are much easier to understand than “Change the color” or “Make it bigger.”
The more constructive feedback you provide your designer, the more you help him or her to make the exact design you’re looking for.
Once the design is finished, the last step is to drop it into one of the customizers, generate your 3D model, and list it directly for sale in your Shopify store. You can also order a sample beforehand, so you hold it in your hand, set it on your table, use it for its intended purpose… is it everything you wanted it to be? If no, you’ll want to go back to your designer for some final adjustments.
If yes, congratulations! Your dream product is now ready to be sold.
Want to get in touch? Your feedback, questions, feature requests, and product requests are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.