We’ve often said that to start an online store with Printful, all you need is a design. We (together with existing ecommerce platforms) take care of the rest.
But what if you can’t even make a design?!
Photoshop and Illustrator are expensive programs, not to mention not everyone is blessed with an eye for design, or time to acquire the necessary skills to make those designs.
With all of the available tools at our fingertips, it’s inexcusable to write yourself off as a potential apparel store owner just because of the itsy-bitsy fact that you might not have those design resources available. Here we’ll outline a few ways to go about getting a design ready when you have zero design skills, be that creating your own, or finding a designer to hire to make your t-shirt.
Here’s a list of resources that you can take advantage to get your hands on a talented individual who has the skills (and programs!) necessary to turn your vision into a tangible print file.
1. Have a chat with the Printful Design Services team
The help you’re looking for may not take very long to find – the talented and professional designers at Printful Design Services will be happy to help you overcome your design-related obstacles.
They can create and adjust print files not only for Printful, but other print platforms as well. On top of that, the team can redesign your logo, design a completely new graphic based on your ideas, or create a unique piece of art that can be digitized and made a part of your design.
Be sure to visit the Design Services gallery to check out some of the wonderful work they’ve already done, including a few impressive before-and-afters.
2. Crowdsource with 99designs
If you like to weigh your options and take a pick, then you can consider 99designs. You describe the idea you’re going for, and set the amount that you’re willing to pay for that particular job.
Designers will then submit their versions of the design, and in the end, you’ll be able to choose your favorite from the pool of designs. Keep in mind, the amount of designs and quality of designs depends on the amount of money you offer for that particular assignment.
99designs recently released a new ‘Find a Designer’ tool. It allows you to browse and select a designer based on your needs.
3. Find your dream designer on Dribbble
This is the platform of choice for established designers. You can browse through their portfolios and get to know their personal style. If there’s anything that particularly interests you, then you can get in touch with the designer and ask them if they’d be willing to work with you.
Designers who are for hire will have the “Hire me” button on their profile, like this one:
4. Find a freelancer online through freelance sites
There are a bunch of tools that facilitate the process of finding, hiring, and paying for freelancers. These platforms also include reviews from other users, so that you have a better idea of the person you’re about to work with. Some of the most popular include:
This is less of a “freelancer” site than it is a site for anyone who wants to offer their skills for $5. This is an entry-level space, and the basics are offered with an option to upgrade your purchase.
This might be better for simpler designs that you need a hand executing.
6. Offer existing designs to be sold
There are a bunch of great designs out there that aren’t being sold. If you’ve spotted a design online that you think would be great on a t-shirt or a poster, why not reach out to that designer? Offer to put it up on your store, and share the revenue.
That’s what Startup Vitamins did with one of their most eye-catching posters, “This is a bullshit free zone”. Originally designed by the London-based creative agency Sell!Sell!, they agreed to share the design for a portion of the profit from sales.
Another option could be purchasing extended license editable design bundles. Check out Thefancydeal, they offer some awesome designs! Or head over to Envato Elements, where for $29/month, you get access to 500,000 amazing illustrations, fonts, mockups, and more. (Disclaimer: these are affiliate links).
7. Find a designer in real life
Last but certainly not least. In fact, you might want to try this one first. It’s so easy to not convey your message online, that you would be much more able to explain face to face, having a conversation with the designer.
There are a few places you can go to look for a designer. One great opportunity is using the Meetups option. Go to Meetup.com and enter “design”. It’ll give you the closest design-related events. Bam! You’ve got a room full of designers!
BONUS: Make use of your store’s logo
Your t-shirt design can also be your store logo. In fact, that’s what a lot of retail giants do. Brands like Ralph Lauren and Lacoste have an entire collection of shirts with their brand logo.
But what if you’re starting your business from ground zero and don’t have a logo yet? Hiring a professional designer might not be something you, as an ecommerce newcomer, are ready to pay for. Luckily, there are a bunch of tools available that can help create a logo without having to rob a bank. One of them is Logaster.
Logaster generator makes logo creation process very easy. Simply type in your company name, choose from 22 different categories, and then preview hundreds of free logo templates. Logaster can eventually generate one that suits your needs. You can customize the logos and download them for free. Later, if you decide to invest into your logo, you can download a high-resolution version of your logo for $9.99.
No more excuses
If you’re a bit of a Shakespeare because you have a way with words, you can always take advantage of our mockup generator’s text tool. And if you’re all about those visuals, create designs with our custom-drawn smileys and shapes.
These two tools allow you to add design directly on the product, so you don’t have to use any additional design software. After all, there is plenty of thoughtful, moving and plain fun quotes that can get you the sales you want!
So that is that! We can no longer say “all you need is a design” to start your store. Now the right phrase will be “all you need is an idea”. And you’ve got ideas, haven’t you?