Organise Your T-Shirt Designs

10 Reasons To Organise Your T-Shirt Designs In a Spreadsheet / Database (And How To Actually Do It)

Updated: May 31, 2019

If you’ve created more than a handful of T-Shirt designs, then you’ve probably discovered that maintaining a well-organised portfolio of artwork can get very tricky, very fast.

And having hundreds (or more likely thousands) of designs is increasingly becoming a necessity for any T-Shirt designer who wants to maintain a steady royalty income – through organic, search-driven channels like Redbubble, Teepublic, Etsy, Merch By Amazon and others.

So what’s the best way to stay on top of a catalog of T-Shirt artwork containing thousands of individual design pieces?

Well in this blog post I’m going to share the basics of my own organisation system – and explain why this is not just a ‘nice thing to have that makes you feel more organised‘ – but is actually an incredibly powerful tool for…

  • taking advantage of new opportunities in the print-on-demand space
  • automating painful, repetitive tasks
  • maximising the value of your work so you can squeeze as much benefit as possible from your T-Shirt design portfolio

sounds good right?

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Vincent Trinidad T-Shirt Artist Designer Interview

“Draw Until Your Back Hurts” – An Interview With Best-Selling T-Shirt Artist Vincent Trinidad

Updated: May 27, 2020

Vincent Trinidad is a natural-born artist – and his creative output is nothing short of staggering.

For the past few years he’s focused that talent on designing T-Shirts, and he’s achieved enviable success.

Chances are you’ve seen his designs somewhere – from his bestsellers on Threadless, Teepublic, TeeFury and others to Redbubble’s Christmas Marketing Campaign, or even on Samuel L Jackson’s chest.

Vincent is not just a highly skilled artist – he’s also proved himself to be a brilliant ‘ideas man’ – producing original work that sells consistently, alongside pop culture inspired designs.

Vincent has been a valued member of my Facebook group since the early days – and was recently kind enough to answer some questions and share his advice for T-Shirt designers everywhere.

I’ve summarised some takeaways at the end of the post – where you’ll also find links to Vincent’s stores and social media.

OK – let’s get to it!

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How To Come Up With T-Shirt Ideas

T-Shirt Design Ideas: How To Come Up With Original Ideas

Updated: May 27, 2020

Every T-Shirt design starts as an idea. And the more T-Shirt design ideas you have – the more great designs you can create.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an independent artist trying to make sales on Redbubble, or a brand owner sending Facebook traffic to a Shopify store, or an Instagram ‘influencer’ selling Merch to your million+ followers – we all need ideas.

And the better your T-Shirt ideas are…

…the better your T-Shirt designs will be…

and the more sales you’ll make.

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Michael Buxton Illustrator DinoMike Interview

Artist Interview: Michael Buxton AKA DinoMike

Updated: May 27, 2020

DinoMikeHave you ever had a great idea, turned it into a great design – and then had someone else copy it, sell it under an official license, and then turn around and demand royalties from YOU??!?!

Michael Buxton has!

Michael (AKA ‘DinoMike’) is a fellow UK native who has been at the online T-Shirt game for over 6 years – with bestselling designs on Threadless, TeeFury, and of course all over Redbubble and Teepublic.

Mike was kind enough to answer some questions from me – and I think there’s a lot of great value in here for both the newbie and the seasoned T-Shirt designer alike.

I’ll share some quick thoughts at the bottom of this article – where you can also find links to Michael’s stores and social media.

Enjoy!

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Increasing T-Shirt Design Output

5 Lessons From Increasing Design Output (And Why It Matters)

Updated: May 27, 2020

December 2016 was my best month ever for T-Shirt sales and income.

It blew everything up to that point out of the water.

But – if I’m honest – I was somehow a little disappointed, and felt it could have been better.

Why?

Because the total number of design available on my single biggest sales channel (Merch By Amazon) was significantly diminished throughout November and December (through a combination of Amazon’s introduction of the new 60-day-rule, plus a crackdown on designs that violated Amazon’s design policies).

In other words, a lot of potential sales were lost because the number of designs I had available (on Amazon at least) dropped significantly.

Now, there’s little I could have done to protect myself against the 60-day-rule (any design that doesn’t sell in the first 60 days gets removed). Some designs sell, others don’t – and it’s very hard to predict this accurately ahead of time.

And there’s somewhat more I could have done to protect myself from the clean-up on potentially policy-violating designs – for example: staying away from controversial topics and potentially offensive jokes.

But the single biggest reason that I didn’t make more in December is this:

I didn’t have enough designs!

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Selling T-Shirts On Instagram: 3 Marketing Tips

Updated: June 5, 2020

If you’ve been reading my blog for anytime at all, then you’ll know my main source of income – and what I write about most often – is selling T-Shirts through print-on-demand platforms like Merch By Amazon and Redbubble. (More on that in this article).

Almost all of those sales come organically.

That means I don’t do much ‘direct’ marketing of my own, and I do almost no paid-marketing (i.e. Advertising).

Well, that is beginning to change.

I’ve been playing around with Shopify for a few months now, and am beginning to see some success using paid traffic via Instagram – specifically by reaching out to popular, relevant accounts and paying them for sponsored posts.

The income from my Shopify store is not about to replace that from my print-on-demand sites (it’s only brought in about $2k/month for the past 3 months), but it’s been a nice additional income stream, and it comes with the added bonus of a direct relationship with my customers, and the chance to re-market to them over and over again in the future.

This post is by no means comprehensive – and I’m no expert in this area – but I have picked up few tips that I think will help anyone who is looking to take things in a similar direction (ie. – your own brand store + paid traffic or direct marketing).

But beware – you will need to drop some cash to make this work.

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Branding T-Shirts online

Brands and Branding while Selling T-Shirts Online: Your Questions Answered

Updated: April 10, 2017

When it comes to selling T-Shirt online, branding is one of the things you’ll wrestle with sooner or later.

  • Should you have one T-Shirt ‘brand’ for all your designs – or several?
  • Should you keep your brand identity specific to a single niche, or broad and general to appeal to as many people as possible?
  • Should you brand yourself as an individual artist / designer, or as a business / company?

These are questions I get asked a lot, so I thought I’d delve into some of the various considerations here…

(and that way I don’t have to personally reply to a bunch of emails individually in the future – I can just send people this link 🙂 )

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Copycats Merch By Amazon

Stolen Designs? How To Deal With Copycats On Merch By Amazon

Updated: April 10, 2017

Copycats are a part of life for creative individuals, and this is especially true in the online T-Shirt market.

What is a copycat? Put simply it is anyone who steals your design and uses it without your permission – where no income from the sales would ever make its way to you. 🙁

The same technology and developments that have made it easy for individuals like myself to make money from T-Shirts online (Print-on-demand sites, easy to use graphic design software etc.) – have also made it easy for those who don’t know – or don’t care – about the concepts of Copyright or Intellectual Property.

I have been dealing with Copycats of my work for the past 3 years, across various sites (Etsy, Redbubble, Teepublic) – but the platform with the biggest copycat problem right now is Merch By Amazon.

This is no surprise, given the size and lucrative nature of Amazon and in particular Merch to generate sales. And Amazon is beginning to deal with this problem – making advances against the copycat scourge daily.

Having said that, it’s not a problem that is likely to go away anytime soon. And when copycats have a real-world impact on your sales and income, it’s hard to just ignore them.

Copycats on the internet may be a ‘fact of life’ – but it helps to have techniques and tactics with which we can mitigate their impact on our sales.

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