Print on demand is big business. This method can be controversial for some and wonderful for others – this page will break it all down for you, highlighting what it’s all about, the advantages and the disadvantages.
What is print on demand?
Also sometimes referred to as ‘made to order’, this is the process of manufacture studios printing artists’ designs onto products as and when they are ordered. Print on demand sites have user spaces whereby artists can become members (or apply in some cases) uploading as little or as many different designs as they wish.
(mock ups created via Live Heroes)
This is totally free. It gives users the freedom to produce and create pieces for free, without the need to invest hoards of money. It’s all available at the click of a button.
The print on demand sites take care of the production and delivery, while the artist takes the time to design each piece and uploads it to the website, ready for sale. It is a great way of getting the word out about your designs and introducing them on a global scale over a range of surfaces. It is also a cool way to test the market and gain an idea of what may work, and what may not.
However, the part that usually causes controversy is the royalty percentage artists make with each sale. Prices of items tend to be fixed across the board, so no matter the artist – the prices will remain the same throughout each portfolio. Some sites offer as low as 5%, others up to 50% (thereabout) while others have the option for you to set your own prices and margins on specific items.
Pros: Free way of seeing how the public respond to your work, with the potential to earn something from it. Your work may become more accessible to big companies, and if they like what they see – there is scope for potential business opportunities.
Cons: Royalty payments tend to be quite low, and some websites will not give you a return until you’ve made a certain amount of money. Additionally, you have no control over pricing (in most cases), delivery and other policies, so you may find it difficult to tailor your products to fit your market. Also, some third party websites may not offer the best quality or service and although this will not directly be your fault, it’s an idea to test the quality by ordering something before promotion on your social platforms.
A number of POD sites may require you to sign exclusivity contracts on particular items, meaning you cannot recreate certain items anywhere else and will have to rely on that singular source for income on the specified item(s).
Overall it is a cost free method of sharing and selling your work on a global scale. It can provide some passive income, but more importantly – it can open doors; you never know who may come clicking.
Some POD sites are listed below: