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How to design Print on Demand assets

The best tips to create great designs.

how to design print on demand products

 

Do you want to design Print on Demand products? Then, this post is for you. We have made a selection with the best tips for those who want to publish their first designs.

No matter if you have some experience or if you are a beginner. Keep reading to find out the best practices for Print on Demand designers.

This article is part of our Ultimate Print on Demand Guide. Check this growing collection of articles to learn everything you always wanted to know about POD.

 

On this article:

Use designs in high resolution
Stick to a color palette
Avoid combining similar colors
Focus on a specific target
Generate a good slogan
Choose a readable font
Mind the background of your designs
Avoid zooming
Place your designs in the safe print area
Generate mockups for your designs
Respect the Copyright of third-party designs

 

Use designs in high resolution

 

The resolution of digital images has a significant influence on the quality of the final product. In digital design, the resolution is measured in Pixels Per Inch (PPI).

If you want to use your designs for Print on Demand, their resolution must be at least 150 PPI. Try not to handle files with more than 600 PP. In any case, once this value is higher than 300 PPI, the human eye can not appreciate the difference.

 

Stick to a color palette

 

If you want your designs to look professional, set a color palette for every project, and stick to it. Five or six colors are enough to create a balanced, beautiful composition.

Print on Demand companies use industrial ink to place your designs on their products. The colors on the final garment won’t look the same as they do on your screen. Screens project light, so the colors will always look brighter on their surface.

 

how to create color palettes
This random color palette has been created with Coolors.

 

If possible, try to create your designs using the CMYK color model. By doing this, you will get a better idea about how your products will look like. If you’d like to learn more about color models, here’s a beginner’s guide.

In case you don’t know how to make a palette, don’t worry! Some helpful design tools can help you with that purpose.

  • Palettable allows you to build new color palettes from scratch.
  • LOL Colors curates color palettes and provides social proof regarding their popularity.
  • Coolors provides random color palette suggestions and allows you to modify them by playing with shades of color.

 

Avoid combining similar colors

 

If you place similar colors together, some details will look blurry and undefined in the final product. As we have said before, Print on Demand companies print their products through automated procedures.

 

how to design print on demand assets
If you mix similar colors, you won’t appreciate the details of your design.

 

If two types of ink are too similar, their aspect will melt in the physical product. There’s a chance that they get printed with the same ink. For this reason, it’s better to use different colors in the same composition. If you need to use similar colors, try to raise the contrast of the image.

 

Focus on a specific target

 

This tip is all about the content of your designs. There is a considerable amount of Print on Demand articles on the Internet. To gain visibility, you should focus on a specific potential audience.

You can create designs for teachers, fishers, or runners. The key to this tip is to create every product for an audience. From a design perspective, this will also help you develop palettes, write quotes for your items, or pick fonts.

 

Generate a good slogan

 

A fresh message can boost the sales of some items, like a hoodie or a journal. Of course, to print a quote, you have to write it first. As we said, if your items are target-oriented, this task will be more simple.

 

how to generate a slogan for Print on Demand

 

If you do not have copywriting skills, but you’d like to put quotes on your designs, don’t worry! We’ve found a fantastic tool that will make your life easier. It’s the free slogan maker by Shopify. The mechanism is straightforward. You just have to introduce a topic, and the tool will give you a massive list of slogans that you can use on your designs.

 

Choose a readable font

 

Now that you have the right messages, you need to make them look good on your products. Fonts are a crucial element to make quote designs look professional.

 

how to pick a font for print on demand
This beautiful Serif Font is called Bilingual Script. You can find it here.

 

Try to choose fonts that are easy to read. The aesthetic should also align with your core message. Sans serif fonts will look good on modern designs. For formal purposes, serif fonts will work better than script fonts. If you need some help combining fonts, check this article.

If you want to use a font in your Print on Demand designs, you must have a commercial license. Here at Creative Fabrica, all the fonts include a consent for full Print on Demand use.

 

Mind the background of your designs

 

This is one of the most common beginner mistakes in Print on Demand design.  If the file that you want to use for your model is a JPEG file, the white background will be part of your design. If the item has been saved as a PNG file, it will not include the background.

 

 

Usually, the thumbnails of PNG images show the design over a checkerboard background. That way, you can see that the layer is transparent.

 

Avoid zooming your designs

 

Zooming your designs to make them look bigger is another common amateur mistake. We know that zoom is an accessible and simple mechanism, but this does not mean that it is the right thing to do. Zoomed images lose resolution and, therefore, quality.

 

how to resize or scale your designs with Canva
Canva allows you to resize your designs easily.

 

If you want to make your design look more prominent, try to scale or resize it. Even simple tools like Canva allow you to make this change without ruining your design.

 

Place your designs in the safe print area

 

Most Print on Demand companies offer mockup generators to help you place your designs on their products. These tools are user-friendly, but you must follow some rules.

One of the most important tips is to place your design inside what’s called the “Safe Print Area.” This way, you will help the manufacturer to print every element where it is supposed to be.

 

safe print area
The grey rectangle shows the Safe Printing Area of this hoodie.

 

If you do not respect this limit, some parts of your design will be missing or out of place. Remember that industrial printing processes are automatized: there won’t always be a person supervising.

 

Generate mockups for your designs

 

One of the main disadvantages of Print on Demand is that you won’t have any stock of your product available. Without stock, you can not take promotional pictures to show your designs to potential customers. You should always display some good images of your products. If your audience doesn’t know what would they pay for, they won’t rely on you.

 

create mockups for your products
You can find this frame mockup here.

 

For this purpose, mockups will be your best allies. Most companies allow you to create promotional images that integrate your designs. If it’s not your case, we’ve got you covered! Here you have a collection of product mockups that include a commercial license. You can use them to list your designs on your digital store.

 

 

Last, but not least… This is not a design tip, but you must always take it into account. If you use third-party designs, you must have a special license to use them on Print on Demand projects. You can read more about Print on Demand licenses here.

If you are searching for designs with a Full Print on Demand license, check our growing library!

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