How can you become successful in the world of custom merchandise? 

There are a lot of ways to make success happen for yourself. But when you get to the nitty gritty it comes down to a partnership between great designs and great products.  Print on demand makes it easier than ever to provide awesome products. While leaving the stress associated with inventory, sourcing, testing, and placing big expensive orders in the dust of their wake.

Yet, even with so much being done for you, the design process is where most people end up losing steam and failing. By lacking inspiration, not being able to come up with original ideas or execute great designs you may feel unmotivated and find yourself losing momentum.

Without quality designs, your products are just empty fabrics and clothing. Blank canvases ready to have the next hot-selling design printed across them.  If this is something that you’ve experienced, then this article was written for you. I’m going to give you 6 design tips that you can use when creating your next hot selling design.


1.) Get a never-ending flood of ideas from Shopify’s Free Slogan Maker
.

Coming up with new ideas can be the most frustrating part of the design process. Looking at an empty shirt and trying to visualize a clever quote or design can make a grown man run and hide in the corner.  Luckily with tools like the Free Slogan Maker, you’ll have a great starting point.

All you do is enter a keyword that’s relevant to your niche or products and hit the “generate” button to get hundreds of suggestions.  The results of which are created to fit on most available products. From my personal experience selling the best sellers are usually accompanied with a clever slogan or quote, so this is a great way to get started.

With it being an automated tool, don’t expect every suggestion it gives you to be a winner.

Nonetheless, it’s a great starting point to get your mind working on the creative side. You can then start switching out words and phrasing to make the suggestions fit better with your branding and offer.

Now that you have some ideas floating around it’s time that you started looking a bit further into your design options.  If you’re not savvy at graphic design, it’s best that you find someone who can knock it out of the park.

This will ensure that your idea is brought to life as closely as possible. I’m gonna show you how to do that by following this next tip:


2.) Hire a freelance designer
  

Now that you’ve got a few ideas of a slogan or design you want to use you need to hire someone to do it. But how do you hire someone without spending an arm and a leg for quality work?

Freelancer sites like Fiverr and Upwork have been used for years by eCommerce businesses. From everything to graphic designers to virtual assistants, they can be a real lifesaver for a business on a budget.

You can browse the sites by the task you need to have done then look at the prospect’s work history; as well as reviews, portfolios, and detailed information of their skill sets.

After you find someone you’d like to work with, send them an offer and task them with creating your next big selling design.

3.) Start collecting illustrations for references

Having a slogan to give to your new designer is a great start, but as far as the design itself, the more references you can give them the more accurate they’ll be able to create what you’re looking for. 

A great place to look for inspiration is on Shutterstock.

When you’re on the site, click on “images” and select “vectors” from the filter. It’ll give you a ton of design templates and references to use. They are all pretty awesome and have been made by super talented designers. So you shouldn’t have any trouble finding some that you like.

A simple keyword search will pull up thousands of options that you can edit, redo, and apply to your products. So long as you have the right license you can take your pick. (Each site is different so make sure you read the rules on what goes and what doesn’t fly.) 

4.) Get even more inspiration from photography

 Just like Shuttershock for designs, there are a ton of other places where you can access royalty free images taken by professional photographers. If not to use them as inspiration, you might also be able to incorporate some into your designs. 

The two that I use the most are Unsplash and Pexels.  Both offer you excellent high-resolution images that are free to download. Not only can you use them for inspiration, but Unsplash also allows their images to be used for promotional purposes.

Though, you may want to edit the images a bit if you’re planning on using them just to be safe. You can never be too careful when using someone else’s content. Even if you’re given permission.  Better safe than sorry, right?

5.) Run a design contest to get the best version

If you have the means, and a little extra money, 99designs is an awesome way to get the best design work possible.  Crowdsourcing is rarely considered when people think about design, but it definitely shouldn’t be overlooked. Designers ‘compete’ for work and you pay for the winning design. It’s that easy.

You can also make requests and vote for the style you’d like to see more of in the other designs being made. Designers will take inspiration from the highest voted style as well as your personal input to make sure they create exactly what you’re looking for.

You start by completing a quick design questionnaire, then the designers get to work.  The number of designs you get is based on how much you decide to pay for the contest, but even the lowest tier will produce amazing work that you can benefit from.

Giving you multiple options for a fixed price so you’re not stumped trying to think of one great idea to move forward with. Now the ideas will be sent to you on a silver platter.


6.) Take inspiration from those who are crushing it

They say that “imitation is the purest form of flattery” so that’s what we’re gonna say when we start creating campaigns similar to what’s already working for others.  Take some time to look at what’s working out for others in your niche or industry.

 -What designs are people responding to the best? 

-What kind of content is getting the most engagement?

-What are people saying about the products they’re selling?

Obviously, I’m not telling you to steal anyone else’s work… but I am most definitely telling you to spy on your competitors to get some ideas. This is one of the best ways to get valuable info while breaking into a new niche.

Don’t forget to look at current events and trends just the same. You can use Google Trends to see what’s going on in the world and find some time-sensitive slogans you can apply to a new product.

This is a great way to tap into pop-culture without stepping on the toes of any infringing property. Come up with some catchy quotes or phrases that have been used in a big recent event and apply it to a design. This has worked time and time again for custom merchandise creators and continues to do so.


With all that being said…

I hope you were able to get some value from the examples and suggestions I just gave you. The only thing holding you back now is getting to work and implementing these industry secrets.

The best part of Print On Demand is that every product doesn’t have to be a hot seller in order for you to make money. You can start with a few designs, test them out, and find what works best with your audience. Once you have that data, start doing more of what works for you and less of what doesn’t.

Set up your storefront on Viralstyle.com today and let us handle all the annoying, heavy lifting for you. So you can focus on creating your next hot sellers, and counting all your money from their success.