How to get designs for print on demand: a practical guide


Is it possible that you are thinking about getting started with print on demand or merchandising, but you’re stuck on what to use for designs? Then look no further, because today we’ll show you how to get free print designs for your business.

The process is straightforward for the majority of these free design websites:

  1. Please create an account.
  2. Save the image or graphic to your computer.

It is possible that a third step, attribution, will be required. However, you must attribute free graphics to either the site or the original author of the design or photograph in this step if you want to use them on some websites (not all). Let’s get this party started!

What is the better manner to get free print designs?

The following is a list:

  1. Printify
  2. Vecteezy
  3. Pixabay
  4. Freepik
  5. Unsplash
  6. Death to Stock
  7. Pexels
  8. Morguefile
  9. Stockvault
  10. Gratisography
  11. Picjumbo
  12. Pikwizard

Images and graphics websites that are simple to create

πŸ› Freepik

You can find hundreds of thousands of resources on Freepik.com, ranging from business-related resources to automobiles, animals, and nature graphics, among other things. If you are employing their free plan, you are free to use any of their pictures, including those on digital products, without any restrictions.

The only stipulation is that you must attribute them in all instances, including physical products. It may be appropriate for some designs, particularly those intended for children or special events. If you choose their premium option, you will have access to all of their plans, not just the available ones for free download.

πŸ› Pixabay

In addition to offering stunning, user-generated content that covers nearly every area of every aesthetic for free print designs, Pixabay is a massive, free stock photo service that offers attractive, user-generated content.

The images on their website include breathtaking mountain and waterfall photographs, as well as illustrations. Look through the more than 1 million images to find something for every customer and merch store, then get inspired to design!

πŸ› Vecteezy

Similarly, Vecteezy is a fantastic service that provides a freemium model for creating free print designs. Based on license, the vast majority of their millions of images are available for use in all your projects without charge. Their professional subscription also allows you to download premium designs from their contributor community, which is available for a fee.

The designers at Vecteezy and its contributors have everything you need, whether you want a simple tee design for your slogan or something stunning.

πŸ› Unsplash

It is possible to find excellent, attribution-free images on Unsplash from photographers all over the world. The photos in this category are typically landscape or portrait photographs that photographers have submitted to be pleased with their subjects.

Despite the limited selection, you can use their creative commons license for any free print design projects, nonetheless of whether they are commercial or non-commercial. Begin browsing right away to gather some beautiful images and inspiration for your next project or endeavor.

πŸ› Death to Stock

Death to Stock Photo is a well-known email service that regularly delivers stock photos that are “non-Stocky” to your inbox. Because they have been carefully curated, these photos don’t have that “stock photo” feel of cheesy corporate actors hamming it up for the camera that so many stock photos have.

If you sign up and start receiving some fantastic designs into your inbox for use in your merch products, you might find that you can turn free into profitable with these fantastic options.

πŸ› Gratisography

Gratisography has fantastic, always-free creative photos that can be used for virtually any purpose. They are all broadly accessible to download, and there are no copyright restrictions on them whatsoever.

As stated, you can do pretty much everything you can think of with these images and designs, so get creative! They have quick, eccentric, and stunning photos of unique subjects at their disposal for you to use on your next merchandising endeavor!

πŸ› Morguefile

Described as “free images for creatives by creatives,” Morguefile offers more than 350,000 images to choose from, all of which are available for download.

These are generally stunning landscape or nature photographs, but they also include pictures of people in their everyday lives, culture, and history. Look no further than this website for all of their images for free print designs that you can use on your projects if you’re looking for some unique perspectives on some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet.

πŸ› Stockvault

There are over 1 million royalty-free images in Stockvault, which have been organized into collections for your convenience. However, you can find some free print designs with graphics or photos suitable for your next project among these stock photos used for websites, posters, and other printed materials.

View and explore the diverse collection of available images on this website; you will not be disappointed!.

πŸ› Pexels

All of the photographs on Pexels can be employed for free, including for free print designs, and they are all public domain. The only restriction is that you must modify the image if you intend to use it on an actual product and enhance the value – you are not permitted to sell only the image or graphic, which is reasonable.

For those who intend to modify the photos or illustrations for their purposes, Pexels offers a diverse collection of images that they can use for free. Explore their offerings and see if you can find anything that sparks your imagination!

πŸ› Picjumbo

Picjumbo is yet another freemium photo service that provides excellent collections of both free and paid photos to its users. Another excellent resource for free print designs, with hundreds of thousands of photos, it’s perfect for categories such as food and home, where it’s perfect.

If you’re creating a brand and need some images of hot chili peppers – or even if you’re making a snarky image with them – this is the place to start looking for some vibrant, powerful ideas of hot chili peppers!

πŸ› Pikwizard

An additional popular site with stock images suitable for everything from American flag tees to babies and cats is PikWizard. If you’re creating merch or even just web design, you’ll be pleased to know that they have a large community of users who are eager to upvote the best images on the platform, saving you time from having to sift through a slew of pictures of the same boring fruit bowl.

Get started with PikWizard and take advantage of the hundreds of thousands of images available on their platform for use in your free print designs. All of the images are royalty-free and require no attribution.


Print design tools that are entirely free

πŸ› Canva

Canva is a freemium online photo editing and design tool that allows you to edit and create fantastic free print designs by selecting from thousands of pre-designed templates. Creating images, graphics, and even books on a budget is also a good option for not designers of any kind.

If you’ve got some free print designs in mind that don’t necessitate a high level of technical expertise, this might be the tool to use to get them completed for nothing. If you’re a part-time, amateur Picasso, their extensive templates library will be handy to you. So please take a look at their library and get designing!

πŸ› BeFunky

BeFunky is an incredible editor for people who are obsessed with Instagram. BeFunky makes it simple to add filters, frames, textures, and other effects to your photos without editing them.

You also won’t have to download any additional software because everything is available online and ready to use for your free print designs. Dive right into BeFunky and start working on that Instagram-inspired photo album right away!

πŸ› Pixlr

Pixlr is yet another free online photo editor suitable for beginners or those who only require a few minor adjustments. They provide free access to their platform in exchange for signing up, which is ideal for creating your free print designs.

Some of their features, such as drawing on photos, retouching photos, and applying filters, are available for you to use – and they are all completely free. Take a look and see if you agree that their intuitive design is as appealing as we do!

πŸ› Ribbet

Ribbet is a fantastic-looking photo editor that is available online and on mobile devices. The comfort with which it can be used, combined with its mighty and robustness, is a significant advantage.

Please look at Ribbet for all of your free print design needs, and consider becoming one of their thousands of satisfied customers who are growing every day.


7+ Techniques for Coming Up with Creative T-Shirt Sketch Ideas (For Print on Demand)

Created employing one of the many T-shirt pattern templates accessible through Envato’s Placeit, this excellent T-shirt design idea is sure to turn heads.

The fact that you don’t have to worry about up-front costs and that you can get feedback on your designs quickly based on demand makes it an excellent way to build your portfolio as a graphic designer. The tutorial will let you know everything you need to know about print-on-demand T-shirts.

Print on Demand (POD) is a process in which a designer collaborates with a supplier to have their designs printed on white-label products such as T-shirts, mugs, and blankets whenever someone places an order online using the designer’s design.

On-demand printing T-shirts are becoming increasingly popular. Following a report published in 2017 by the consulting company Credence Investigation, the traditional T-shirt printing market is predicted to attain $10 billion by the year 2025.

The only drawback is that you have no control over the packaging, and the printing customization is limited to the methods employed by the third party in question. More detailed information about the pros and cons of POD can be found in Shopify’s post on the subject.

Printing on demand is not as simple as it appears

It is impossible to predict which design will be successful. Although a plan may appear to you to be artistic, customers may think otherwise. And when you think you’ve discovered a good design, it may be already too late because many designers have already noticed it and copying the trend.

You could spend too much time and money designing POD merchandise that doesn’t sell if you know your target market and conduct proper market research. Fortunately, this tutorial will cover several different methods of researching good designs for various POD niches and how to locate images and fonts to use to create those designs.

The 7 Best-Selling T-Shirt Niche Markets and Product Ideas for Print on Demand

Printing on demand can be used in a variety of applications. The slang, buying reasons, and popular Tee shirt design ideas for each niche are unique, so knowing your place will make it easier to create items that people will want to buy when you know what you’re talking about anything.

Listed as follows are some of the most notorious T-shirt blueprints, along with a few print-on-demand products where you can put them to use.

πŸ› PetsΒ 

According to the American Pet Products Association, people adore their pets, which explains why the pet industry is worth $95 billion per year.

You can create cool shirt designs based on usual sub-niches such as birds, cats, or dogs, but in addition to a market for unusual pets or enormous animals such as horses, lizards, wolves, and hedgehogs. If you want to create cool shirt designs based on cats, dogs, or birds, you can create cool shirt designs based on birds.

Choose from a variety of pet T-shirt templates and cool shirt ideas available on Placeit, including the one shown below:

πŸ› Laughter

Take a look at this graphic design idea for a T-shirt. T-shirts with bold slogans and T-shirt quotes are excellent conversation starters. Funny images, punchy one-liners, nerdy jokes, and even memes can be found on POD merchandise related to humor.

Use T-shirt mockups from Placeit to give potential buyers a sense of what a shirt would look like when worn.

πŸ› Profession

Although you may despise your job right now, there are millions of people who wake up every morning excited about what they do.

Jobs can design some cool shirt designs. On the other hand, not all positions are famous; some have more enthusiastic employees than others. Lawyers and accountants, for example, do not receive the same amount of affection as nurses or firefighters do.

πŸ› Sports, lifestyle, and recreational interests

Another reason people purchase custom-printed merchandise is to demonstrate their interest in certain sports, hobbies, or lifestyles.

Listed below are several of the most popular T-shirt niches you should consider for your T-shirt business:

Ideas for Sports-Related Niche Websites

  • Hockey
  • Basketball
  • Cycling
  • Football 
  • Baseball

Hobbies and NichesΒ 

  • Gardening
  • Cars
  • Fishing 
  • Bookworms
  • Crocheting
  • Anime/Manga
  • Gamer

Lifestyle Niches

  • Digital nomads are one of the most popular
  • Travelers
  • Vegetarians
  • Moms who work from home (WAHM) 
  • Entrepreneurs
  •  Yoga

πŸ› Relationship

Have you ever seen T-shirt quotes like “World’s #1 Mom” and thought to yourself, “Who would wear that?” T-shirt graphic designs like this are trendy, especially around Mother’s Day and other special occasions. In addition, you can find custom-printed items for single dads, newly engaged women (also known as “brides-to-be”), sibling love, newlyweds, and even grandparents! A T-shirt niche list, which includes friends and coworkers, has even been compiled.

πŸ› Travel and Location

Almost any tourist destination will have cool hoodie designs, cool shirt designs, and collectibles based on the area’s attractions.

Journey T-shirt quotes, architecture, local delicacies, and maps are all used to create print-on-demand merchandise related to travel and tourism.

Designs that are appropriate for the season

Christmas sweaters aren’t the only POD item that can be sold during the holiday shopping season. Seasonal designs for cool shirt ideas represent Thanksgiving, graduation, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and other holidays. Religious holidays, such as Hanukkah, and lesser-known holidays, such as National Pasta Day, have a place in the shop only if you time your promotions correctly and strategically.

How to Select the Most Popular T-Shirt Niche

Clothing, jewelry, shoes, and other custom-printed merchandise are considered “impulse purchases,” and the most effective way to sell them is to appeal to people’s emotions as much as possible.

People buy these items for the reason that they want to flaunt their individuality. Whether it’s their job, pet, hobby, sport, or a country they’ve recently visited, the design reflects something about them and their lifestyle. Keep this in mind when you’re brainstorming T-shirt market niches.

When selecting a niche, it is also essential to consider the size of the market. Although you may be extremely passionate about a particular place, you will quickly run out of customers if there aren’t enough people in that niche. One way to determine the size of a niche’s audience is to use Facebook’s Audience Insight tool or look at the keyword search volume for your target audience on Google’s Keyword Planner.

Choosing a broad niche also provides you with the opportunity to branch out into related sub-niches. If you want to sell t-shirts related to your job, you can categorize them into different categories, such as nurses, firefighters, and educators. From there, you can even further subdivide it into smaller niches, such as pre-school teachers or emergency department nurses.

Learn how to conduct T-Shirt market research for your chosen niche by reading this article

Following your niche selection, it is time to research what you will include in your designs. To collect information, you can use whatever method you prefer, whether through bookmarks, Pinterest pins, or an Excel file. The most governing factor is found a way to save and organize all of the information you gather during this research process.

T-shirt visual designs to put on a shirt and other print-on-demand products, such as cool hoodie designs, can be discovered in several ways, which are detailed below.

1. Find Inspiration for Cool Tee-shirt Design Ideas on Amazon Merch

If you’re looking for unique shirt designs, check out Merch by Amazon, which is Amazon’s very own platform for producing printed-on-demand T-shirts.

Search for cool T-shirt drawings uploaded to Merch by Amazon using a free tool from Merch Titans. You can search for cool Shirt designs based on keywords, the marketplace it was uploaded to (for example, Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk), and the type of merchandise it is selling (i.e., shirts or hoodies).

The following will appear in the search results:

  • Price
  • Items sold 
  • Design Image
  • Brand 

Because the results are established on the tags and descriptions that store owners use on their listings, they are not 100 percent accurate. Design listings with multiple or related keywords may appear in your search results if the design is recorded with various or associated keywords.

2. Using Pinterest and Facebook to Find information

Facebook is mainly an alternative media, but it is also an excellent place to find print-on-demand T-shirts because this is where competitors are promoting their designs through Facebook advertisements.

Enter your niche’s keyword along with the word “T-shirt” or whatever print-on-demand merchandise you’re selling into the search bar on your computer’s browser. You can also include promotional phrases such as “on-sale” or “limited time offer” in your writing. Some people search based on POD platforms, so they use search words such as “Teespring” or “Redbubble” to ensure that they see all posts that contain the URL or name of the platform in question.

You can additionally narrow down the research results based on the date of the post, ensuring that you only see the most recent designs that have been shared on Facebook.

The previous results were obtained by searching for the niche “Cat mom” plus the keyword “shirt” and filtering the results for images uploaded in 2019.

The same method can be used to find cool hoodie designs and T-shirt design ideas on Pinterest, except that you will use the number of “pins” to determine the popularity of a method in this case. The popular keywords associated with your initial search will also be displayed on Pinterest, which will aid you in narrowing down your search.

This excellent shirt design, which was discovered on Pinterest, has over 1,000 pins, which is a good indication that cat lovers would be interested in purchasing a shirt with a similar design.

You don’t even have to draw a cat from scratch to create something similar to this design because there are numerous graphic options for cat T-shirts available on Placeit.

3.Β  Use Etsy to look for original mug and shirt design ideas

Even though Etsy is primarily a marketplace for handcrafted goods, you can also find print-on-demand products there. Enter the keyword associated with your niche into the search bar to find innovative T-shirt design ideas. You can also test with different keyword combinations, such as “niche + joke” or “niche + another niche,” to develop original shirt design concepts.

Take note of designs that have received a large number of reviews, but make sure that the thoughts are for the item you are currently viewing and not for another procedure. The studies that follow are for the article “Reasons to be a mermaid mug,” but as you can see, the last review is for a different product altogether.

4.Β  Look for cool tee shirt designs on POD platforms

Instead of creating a website to sell your POD designs, dozens of marketplaces will allow you to upload your designs and earn money when someone purchases your item from their site, eliminating the need for you to create a website.

Not only can these sites assist you in selling your cool shirt designs, but they can also assist you in conducting market research for POD and T-shirt products. Type in the keywords for your chosen niche and filter the search results based on popular T-shirt designs or the most recently added listings to narrow down the results.

Please see the list below for additional POD marketplaces where you can find design inspiration:

Additionally, Treeview, a website that consolidates designs from Teespring, Sunfrog, and Teezily, is an excellent place to look for T-shirt inspiration.

5. Using Google Images to look for one-of-a-kind t-shirt designs

And finally, there’s the tried-and-true method of searching for T-shirt design inspiration by searching through Google Images. Go to https://images.google.com and type in the name of the niche you’re trying to find information.

Make use of a variety of keywords in combination, such as:

  • Niche + quotes
  • Niche + joke
  • Niche + funny
  • Niche + slang

Google Autosuggest will also provide you with suggestions for additional phrases to include in your search.

Although the search results are not limited to t-shirts, some of these quotes are short and snappy enough to fit into a mug or hoodie without being obnoxious quickly.

A Google image search for “Running Quotes” yields several ideas for what you could include on a wall decal for runners, as shown below.

Caution: A large number of the images you’ll find on Google Images are protected by intellectual property rights. Take care not to use an artist’s paintings or other copyrighted items to avoid being sued. The results of this search should only be used as a source of inspiration.

6. Looking for T-Shirt Sketch Inspiration on Reddit and Other Social Media Platforms

If you are not in the news or politics, this tip will benefit you regardless of your niche. Whatever is currently popular in your industry, there’s a good chance that you’ll come across a clever quip about it on one of these social media platforms.

Platforms where you can search for items that are currently trending, viral, or meme-worthy include:

  • 9Gag. The site is both a website and a social networking site to publish and curate jokes and memes for a wide range of topics.
  • 4Chan. While it is similar in concept to Pinterest because it is a bulletin board for images, the difference is that you do not need to create an account to use it. You will see many comments on some pictures, which may be beneficial in your investigation.
  • Reddit.The site is addressed separately in different communities, and some of these communities will have sub-groups (also known as “subreddits”) to help further organize the conversations there. The best posts receive the most significant number of responses and votes (also known as “upvotes”) from other community members.

Due to most of the information you’ll find on these websites isn’t commercialized, not everything you’ll find on them will apply to your POD project. Because these are just random people talking about random things, you’ll need to use your imagination to arise with a design for a hoodie or a POD blanket that incorporates the information.

The relationship category on 9Gag is chock-full of jokes and complaints about love and relationships, both good and bad. At the same time, posts like the one below may not be suitable for an apparel design. In some instances, the concept of the image or a text version of it may be appropriate. It’s also a positive sign that the post has received over 2,600 points and over 100 comments.

Caution: If you want to avoid a lawsuit, avoid using artists’ images or copyrighted items.

It is possible to find many original quotes on subreddit threads. The vast majority of these quotes have not been trademarked because they are the work of regular Reddit operators being their humorous or sarcastic selves. Unfortunately, digging through Reddit to find puns and jokes is a time-consuming task due to many active conversations to keeping track.

Search for “pun trains,” a term used to describe when users play off on each other’s quibbles, to make your research more straightforward. Another option is to search for subreddits that are dedicated to jokes.

7. Using a variety of niches to create unique t-shirt designs

Incorporating multiple slots allows you to narrow your focus on a specific target customer while giving your plans a distinctive and authentic look.

A perfect example of this is the “Niche + Born in (month)” combination, in which you combine a positive trait or niche with the month of birth of a target buyer. Designs make the client feel special because they believe they will be one of only a few people who own an item of this caliber.

What to Do If You Want to Avoid Copyright

Some architects and POD entrepreneurs use mashups and parodies to avoid copyright issues and avoid having to pay royalties. Because ideas are too vague to be protected by intellectual property laws, a different implementation of one idea from a famous franchise or trademarked character, as occurs in parodies and mashups, presents a gray area for designers to navigate.

For example, while the concept of a hilarious father cannot be protected by copyright, the plot and character details that contribute to the character’s personality can be protected by copyright protection. As a result, Peter Griffin of Family Guy cannot be considered a copyright infringement of Homer Simpson’s intellectual property rights. Regardless of their similarities, there are substantial differences in their storylines and character traits, distinguishing them as separate works that could be protected under copyright laws.

As a result, the defense of “fair use” is frequently invoked in the context of copyright claims.

Of course, you’d prefer to avoid going to court in the first place if at all possible. In this post, Teespy provides a few pointers that can assist you in preventing this situation.

Where to Look for Images, Fonts, and Mockups for Your Designs If You Haven’t Already

Shabir makes an excellent point. If you spend days perfecting one design, it will be difficult for you to test new designs quickly, and your designs may already be a saturated trend by the time they hit the market, so plan accordingly. Creatively using stock images will allow you to design more items in less time.

According to its website, Vladimir Gendelman, the founder and CEO of Company Folders, Inc., also works with customers who want to use stock images on the items they wish to print for their company. As a result, he always recommends that his clients purchase their stock images from a reputable provider.

Sites such as Placeit are excellent resources for design templates, mockups, and other design elements that you may require.

Look for More Apparel and T-Shirt Design Inspiration

How to get designs for print on demand: a practical guide

You’ve now become an expert in T-shirt graphic design, as well as how to select the most profitable T-shirt niches. In case you need even more inspiration for your next project, take a look at these excellent resources: we have cool hoodie designs, articles on how to make T-shirt quotes, cool shirt ideas, and tutoring on directions for use our online mockup tool, Placeit, to name a few.

Are you prepared to begin working on your next design?

Guys, don’t be concerned about it. Creating a t-shirt design does not have to be a time-consuming or complicated process.

It is not necessary to hire a designer or prior design experience to create a good design. Furthermore, you do not require any expensive software.

The apps listed in this article are all excellent choices for getting started with your POD design. Read on for more information.

What we want to know is which app you are going to use.


Final Thoughts

Although this is by no means a comprehensive list, it should serve as a starting point for those wondering, “How the hell am I going to afford all of these designs?” We hope you have found our list to be helpful.

Henrik Bruhn

Owner of a danish Print On Demand production facility and writes about the craft, techniques, and trends in the business

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