Most the articles on this site are about the hobbies I am most fond of: hiking, biking or historic downtowns. I also consider graphic design a hobby, so I may occasionally show some of my digital artwork here, too.
I am entering the world of print-on-demand with my graphic design hobby. Print-on-demand makes it possible for you to buy a product that does not yet exist. You can order a single item like a T-shirt, face mask, or baseball cap featuring a cool, fun or inspirational phrase or graphic, but it is not sitting in a warehouse somewhere with the graphic already printed on it. When you place an order, a blank coffee mug, for example, will be imprinted with the graphic you choose.
It’s a good way to find unique gifts. Here’s an example of one of my designs that’s available:
With print-on-demand, there’s no more need to print hundreds of t-shirts, cellphone cases, coffee mugs or posters, and then hoping people buy them. Printing machines designed to prepare just one item at a time at a somewhat reasonable price are found at print shops around the country.
For my first endeavor into print-on-demand, the website redbubble.com handles everything. You pay them. They arrange for the item to be printed and shipped. They handle returns. Other than creating and uploading a graphic, it’s hands-off for me.
Redbubble.com has over three million visitors per month. They offer millions of designs to choose from from over 700,000 individuals who get a small percentage each time a product with one of their digital creations is sold.
Nice product previews
As you can see on the sample with the motorcycle t-shirt above, you get a nice mockup view of what a product will actually look like. You can preview several different color choices.
When you scroll down the product page, you will also come across a link that will take you to a page where you can see that motorcycle graphic on other products such as hoodies, tank tops and aprons.
One graphic = 30+ products
Each time I create a new graphic to feature on redbubble.com., the website automatically makes it available on dozens of different items. At the time that I wrote this article, I had uploaded 17 graphics. That means about 575 possible items featuring my artwork can be purchased, and that doesn’t include the color choices that are available on most things.
Here’s some more examples featuring my designs:
How about an eagle on a pillow, laptop skin or facemask?
This graphic is inspired by the comeback of America’s national bird, and how the species is thriving at Lake Guntersville in Alabama. It’s available on over 55 items including about every kind of top you can imagine, plus baseball caps, tote bags, mouse pads, etc.
This scene from the Walnut Street Bridge in Chattanooga would look nice on a poster, canvas print or t-shirt.
I took a photo in 2020 while walking across the historic bridge, which is a pedestrian walkway now. I converted it to the digital art you see here to try it on Redbubble. You can see it on about 40 different print-on-demand items. Check out the canvas-mounted print.
That’s a one-of-a-kind item. So is this other Lake Guntersville graphic:
The digital art is based on a photo of a sunset I captured near Scottsboro, Alabama. It’s also available on about 35 products. See my Lake Guntersville Collection.
More about print-on-demand
The online print-on-demand category has grown a great deal in the past five years. It should continue to grow since it’s very popular among people between the ages of 18 and 35 who, rather than wearing designer clothes, prefer to express their individuality through the unique t-shirts they wear and the stickers they put on their laptops.
If you want to, you can design your own graphic, then upload it and have it printed on a just about anything you can thing of. Or, you can choose from millions of designs that are found on a large number of print-on-demand sites. Amazon has quickly became a dominant force in the category.
Printing one thing at a time does cost more than the average mass-printed item.
At my regular 8-to-5 job, I’m lucky enough to work closely with a group of pro graphic designers, and maybe a little of their skills have rubbed off on me through the years. Whether it has or not, I enjoy designing digital artwork. And I expect to come up with dozens of unique but simple graphics that may look good on t-shirts, caps, mugs, pillows, etc.
To track the progress of this hobby, bookmark my Redbubble homepage: https://www.redbubble.com/people/southernoutings/shop.