One of the best ways to make money as an artist is to ship high-quality, custom goods with your artwork on it to your fan base. This technique has been the secret component of many artist success stories. Now, there are websites that will print on demand for you or your customers.
These sites offer beautifully made merchandise, from cell phone cases to t-shirts and duvets, and more. Even better, you can sit back and relax as these companies take care of the entire fulfillment process–including customer service. What could be easier than that? Let’s take a look at the top print-on-demand services for artists out there on the web.
Let’s walk through some e-commerce basics. With the printing on demand concept, you won’t have to worry about fulfillment or production, which is a lifesaver. In most cases, you will, however, be responsible for actually selling the product, i.e., getting the word out there!
Many of the sites mentioned today have built-in platforms for hosting and selling your products, which is even more convenient because your online store is directly integrated with your print-on-demand service. However, there are a few reasons why you might want to have an independent online shop.
Having an online shop through platforms like Shopify enables you to customize the entire look and feel of your storefront. If you have an online presence on multiple platforms, like Patreon or Instagram, you’ll want one cohesive way for your followers to access your content.
Your online storefront is entirely virtual, meaning you won’t ever have to handle any goods. When you receive an order, you simply input the customer’s order into your print-on-demand service and let them take care of the rest.
On Shopify, you can give your customer a tracking number and relate any questions or concerns to your printing company. If it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t! Shopify is one of the world’s largest e-selling platforms, and it amounts to a massive, multi-billion dollar industry.
There are a variety of membership plans available, depending on how much you’ll be selling and how much help you’d like along the way. Creating a storefront, however, is 100% free and makes for a great way to test the waters of selling your art on merchandise.
It’s also an ideal way to test out multiple printing companies at once without confusing your followers. In addition to creating and designing your storefront, you’ll also create listings for your products and decide how to market them.
It’s helpful to order a test piece for yourself so you can photograph it in use and in stylized settings. Most printing companies, however, will provide you with a convincing mockup of what the product will look like and how large it is compared to a scale.
Printful is one of the leading printing-on-demand services on the web and is managed and operated by Shopify. That means it’s incredibly convenient because you’ll be able to seamlessly connect your products to your online storefront.
Printful is known for its high-quality items, customer service, and variety of goods. They’re able to accommodate both high and low volume orders. Printful has an incredible catalog to choose from, which includes clothing, home decor, jewelry, posters, bathroom items, blankets, and more.
Printful was created with artists and sellers in mind, so it makes it super easy to calculate your profit margin. How you set your price is up to you. What’s leftover after the item cost and shipping is yours to keep (speaking of which, don’t forget to set a bit aside for fees and taxes).
Printful is constantly expanding its product line and staying on top of trends. Many of their products are printed on brand-name items, like Champion, which offers an extra incentive to your buyers. They also have an online tool that allows you to create a mockup of your product from multiple angles and models.
This makes setting up your listing all too easy and 100% free to start. With Printful, you don’t need a membership or have to pay any upfront fees. If you’re interested in saving even more money, however, they do offer discounts to those with high sales volumes.
Businesses and in-person shops LOVE Pixart Printing. They are absolutely amazing when it comes to POS displays, banners, feather flags, and even billboards. In addition to their wide variety of retail-oriented products, they also make your usual lineup of stickers, canvases, and books. Pixart is pretty much paper-based, so you won’t find any t-shirts or soft goods here.
The benefit of that is that Pixart has unparalleled quality with its paper goods and can manufacture any product your business could possibly need. They’re an excellent pick for printing books, wall scrolls, calendars, stickers, and now, face masks. They’ll also make you some really nice-looking hang tags, in case you want to add a personal touch to any of the products you ship yourself to customers.
If you plan on selling any of your products at conventions, which most artists do, you can easily sway customers by having professional, customized shelving and POS units. These units are durable and cost a lot less than you think, and they’re reusable.
You can also order customized shopping bags, which is great to drive home your brand with your customer for repeat business. Include a sticker or a business card with your orders to boost customer engagement.
Merch By Amazon
There’s no doubt that Amazon is an online powerhouse right now, so you can imagine the excitement when they announced their Merch by Amazon service. This service offers your customers the ultimate convenience by making your products available with Prime 2-day shipping.
Everything is sent from Amazon warehouses in Amazon packaging, so you can be confident that everything will be handled to the same degree as Amazon’s other packages.
Most people have a Prime membership (and those who don’t just pay shipping), so making your first sales won’t be difficult. Even better, it’s easy to upload your products into a legit-looking Amazon listing. This means you’ll appear in Amazon searches and receive some high customer traffic with minimal work involved.
When it comes to payouts, Amazon will pay you weekly with a royalty on every product sold. For the most part, you don’t have too much wiggle room when it comes to adjusting prices and things. Keep in mind too, that royalties are different from profit margins.
If you want to sell on Amazon but aren’t a fan of Merch by Amazon, consider creating a listing of products from another store. It’s easy to create a listing and customize it to your needs. But with Merch by Amazon, you can use their free analytics tools to monitor your progress and see how much you’ve earned.
Redbubble was one of the first print-on-demand services to enter the scene and remains one of the most popular today. Redbubble offers an incredible catalog of goods, including apparel, home decor, stationery, and wall prints. Of all their plentiful merch options, none is more popular than the viral Redbubble sticker.
Everyone has a Redbubble sticker! Or stickers, we should say. That’s because Redbubble makes it all too easy to buy multiple products at once and offers their customers steep discounts and sales to incentivize them.
You can set up an online storefront on Redbubble and appear in searches by their customers. You can also use their mockups and list their products for sale on your own selling platform. If you’re looking for an all-in-one experience, however, Redbubble is a great place for that. One of the reasons for this is because they do such a great job with coupon codes, seasonal sales, and limited-time offers.
Getting the hang of pushing sales in retail can be a challenging concept for artists who are new to the world of merchandising. With Redbubble, you can let them take care of getting your customers’ attention. Plus, with their high site traffic, you can enjoy sales booms during Black Friday and other holiday shopping sprees.
On Society6‘s website, you’ll see the tagline “Every purchase pays an artist.” That’s sweet and all, but it goes to show that this isn’t a platform for artists to list their wares. Rather, you’ll have to submit your designs for approval, and if you’re accepted, they’ll be listed for sale on the website.
It’s not exactly hard to get into Society6, but you’ll find that many of their products are on the higher end of the price range and that you won’t make as much profit margin due to higher production costs.
That being said, Society6 offers print-on-demand goods that are more luxurious and practical than your run-of-the-mill t-shirts and coffee cups. They make entire pieces of furniture, ceramics, and even rugs with your designs on it. They also feature artwork from Marvel and Star Wars, so it’s more than clear that Society6’s customer base is looking for high-quality, professional products.
If you’re looking to put your designs mostly on canvases and wall art, Society6 is a great pick for you as well. Their canvases and framed art prints are gallery quality, and their tapestries are quite popular. Still, seeing your artwork on an entire credenza is pretty cool (and can have a huge profit margin as furniture has a higher sales point).
Finding your niche is key to success, and Displate is one of the few on-demand printing services that specialize in one niche. That niche is beautiful artwork on polished metal prints. Displate prints are highly collectible and in high demand among fans of digital art.
The advantages of printing on metal rather than paper are that the colors are much more vivid, and the poster stands the test of time. These prints are ready to be hung up right of the box and don’t require any additional accessories like a frame or poster tack.
One interesting incentive you can offer to your customers is that for every plate ordered, Displate will plant a tree in your honor. Save trees and have a beautiful, long-lasting poster made of recycled metal!
By listing your artwork on Displate, you’ll appear amongst the ranks of Star Wars, One Piece, and other pop culture hits. You can list your products through Displate on your own platform or appear in their search results.
Like some other platforms on this list, they’re quite fond of pushing sales and coupon codes and drive traffic through their mailing lists. Displate offers a great way to attract new customers without having to do much work.
Printify is one of Printful’s leading competitors, and they have a lot of similarities. Like Printful, you can print for free on-demand on a variety of accessories and products. One unique advantage to Printful is that they have printing warehouses in multiple countries, which will save your international buyers on shipping.
Currently, Printify has warehouses in the US, UK, EU, Australia, China, Russia, and more. Having decent international shipping will be a huge selling point for your customers, making Printify a fantastic option.
Printify makes it easy to connect to your online storefronts. They have app integration with Shopify, Etsy, eBay, Wix, and some more uncommon sites like BigCommerc and PrestaShop, too. They have an online tool to help you calculate how much your product will cost, what the shipping will be, and your potential profit margin.
Printify has a variety of interesting products in their catalog, in addition to more common merch items. You can offer your customers unique items like Christmas tree skirts, stockings, area rugs, and shower curtains.
Interested in maximizing your profit margin? Sign up for Printify Premium. With a low-cost monthly membership, you can get steep discounts on products and save on production fees. If you’re looking to do a lot of business, Printifiy is a great service to partner with.
Zazzle is a print-on-demand service that’s geared more towards customers. In other words, they cater to customers looking to print their own designs on merchandise for themselves. This comes in the form of wedding invitations, monogrammed water bottles, and tote bags.
You can use Zazzle to your advantage as well, however. They have a great section of artist-created designs, and these are gaining increased momentum in recent times. Customers looking to purchase their wedding invitations or personal gifts will see your artwork and add it to the cart alongside their order. It’s a great idea to cater to Zazzle’s customer base by uploading holiday-themed or special occasion designs, as this is very popular.
One cool thing that Zazzle has added to their catalog recently is PPE. You can create custom face masks, hand sanitizer packets, face shields, and hand sanitizer bottles. It’s never too late to jump in on the fashionable face mask trend! They’re wildly popular right now, and people are looking for the coolest new designs.
With the Zazzle Black membership, you can get unlimited free standard shipping. This is super convenient for artists looking to use Zazzle for profit. Free shipping on your listings is a great selling point for customers, and Zazzle makes it easy to do this.
Fine Art America
Not every artist wants to dish out their artwork on t-shirts, and that’s understandable. If you specialize in fine, gallery-style art, you’ll appreciate the services of Fine Art America. Fine Art America creates elegant, high-quality wall art, prints, canvases, tapestries, and more. They feature art by artists like Norman Rockwell and Slim Aarons.
In addition to gallery pieces, they also include some home decor and apparel in their catalog. You’ll appreciate the fine quality and high resolution of their prints, which has led to a good standing among photographers and digital artists.
One of the cooler features is a digital VR app that allows you to see a piece live in your space before purchasing. This can also be used for mockups for your store. Fine Art America can print on acrylic, metal, canvas, wood, and fabric.
Don’t discredit the yoga mats and jigsaw puzzles, however. Customers love art pieces that are functional and practical because it justifies the purchase. They tend to gravitate towards more unique products that are easily giftable. Think of your art like a museum, and your products like the museum gift shop! You should have a mix of both low, mid, and high-end items.
Design By Humans
Design by Humans is a trendy shirt shop that has some incredible designs featuring characters from pop culture. Like Zazzle, it’s not readily apparent as a print-on-demand service. It’s disguised as a typical online shirt shop with quick shipping times and stellar designs from independent artists.
It’s easy to open an online store with Design by Humans and add your artwork to their curated collection. Keep in mind that Design By Human’s fan base is typically fond of shirts, although they’re able to print on canvases, phone cases, and more.
Despite having a large collection of licensed characters and artwork, customers at Design By Humans are very interested in unique art concepts and designs. If you have your own personal storefront, DBH isn’t exactly the best for high-volume printing on demand. However, it’s great for smaller orders that are in need of some more attention to detail. Try manipulating your listings to appeal to the algorithm. Appearing in the search bar is key.
CafePress is another design your own site with a large catalog of items to choose from. Their products are more basic, which has its pros and cons. One con is that you have less design opportunity and control over the finished product, as well as the choice of color.
But the pro is that their designs don’t require especially large or sophisticated artwork. Some of their best-selling products include hats with small logos and motifs. They also offer harder-to-find clothing options, such as baby clothes, bandanas, and jackets. Pro tip: people will pay high dollar for pop culture-inspired art on baby onesies!
If you have a logo for your business, consider making a few products with it on them. These go a long way with customer engagement. Include them in a giveaway, or give them out for free at conventions. Even something as small (and cheap!) as a pen in your customer’s order will leave a huge impression on them.
InPrnt is another niche printing-on-demand service that specializes in prints only. They have the highest quality when it comes to wall art and paper prints. You can see this for yourself by ordering a piece or trust the word of some of the top digital artists who list their wares exclusively on Inprnt.
It’s a wise idea to add some higher-end gallery items to your shop. Why? Paper is cheap, but art is expensive. You can have a wide profit margin by offering high-end items. They’re in high demand, too, as more and more people are straying from boring wall decor and hanging up incredible digital art pieces instead.
To further the exclusivity of these items, offer some limited edition prints that won’t stay up forever. This will push sales and makes a great selling point or advertisement focus. You can also offer exclusive artwork on InPrnt only (and maybe strike a deal with them to advertise it).
Seeing your own artwork on a physical product is an incredibly rewarding and gratifying experience. Your fans will feel the same way and will flock to purchase your designs. Consider purchasing an item for yourself to test out the quality of the product and shipping method. Plus, you can photograph it in use for more engaging listing photos.
When you do make a sale, be sure to set aside some of that money for taxes and any other fees. Sales tax will be automatically included with most print-on-demand services (another reason why printing on demand is so convenient), but you’ll still have to pay listing and sale fees for some selling platforms like eBay or Etsy. In time, you’ll grow a rewarding business from the comfort of your home!