If you’re new the print on demand scene you may be wondering whether or not you should create all your own graphics or if you should get a little help and purchase them from a reputable source.
In this article, I’ve broken down the pros and cons of each option to help you make the decision that is right for you.
This post is in response to a question received from my questionnaire, if you haven’t filled the questionnaire out, you can do so here and get your questions answered.
Buying Graphics Pros
Fast & Efficient
Buying graphics saves you time and effort since you can quickly access a wide range of pre-made designs and illustrations without having to create them from scratch.
This is a big bonus because, though quality is the #1 priority, quantity is a close second.
There is a vast selection of professionally designed graphics available for purchase, allowing you to find high-quality designs that suit your brand and target audience.
With a quick search, you can find graphics for every holiday, most hobbies and interests, and any movement that may be important to you and your ideal client.
My favorite site to find graphics is Creative Fabrica, but you can also find good graphics on Etsy and Creative Market.
By purchasing graphics, you can rely on the expertise of professional designers who have honed their skills and created visually appealing, well-executed designs.
If you don’t have a lot of design skills, then this is a pretty major pro.
That being said, not all designs on these platforms are high quality, but it’s pretty easy to see which is and isn’t a good design with your eyes.
If you are already a great designer, this point likely doesn’t carry as much weight for you.
Buying Graphics Cons
Purchasing graphics requires a financial investment, as you’ll need to buy the licenses or pay for individual graphics. This can impact your business’s profitability, especially if you need a large volume of graphics.
However, Creative Fabrica also offers a subscription to their platform where you pay a monthly fee (or annual depending on the plan your pick) and you have access to their whole catalog of products.
Lack of Uniqueness
Since other individuals or businesses can also purchase the same graphics, there is a possibility that you may encounter others using the same or similar designs. This can diminish the uniqueness and originality of your brand.
So this is something to seriously consider when you are deciding whether or not to buy graphics.
Understanding the License is Your Responsibility
Understanding the license terms is crucial, as some licenses may have restrictions on their usage, particularly for print-on-demand applications. It is 100% your responsibility to ensure that the graphics you purchase can be used in the intended manner.
This is another reason I like Creative Fabrica as their license for print on demand is very clearly stated on their website and very easy to understand.
Making Your Own Art Pros
When you create your own graphics, you have full copyright control, allowing you to protect your intellectual property and prevent others from using or replicating your designs without permission.
Creating your own graphics enables you to develop a distinctive visual identity for your brand. You can tailor your designs to match your brand’s personality, values, and target audience, setting yourself apart from competitors.
And, by consistently creating your own graphics can help you develop a recognizable signature style. This can contribute to building a loyal following of customers who appreciate your distinct design approach.
Your Imagination is the Limit
By crafting your graphics, you have limitless creative possibilities. You can bring your unique ideas and visions to life, customizing the designs to perfectly align with your brand’s messaging and aesthetics.
When you create your own graphics, you have the potential to license your artwork to other companies. This can serve as an additional revenue stream for your business, allowing you to generate income by granting others the right to use your designs in various products or marketing materials.
Making Your Own Art Cons
Designing your own graphics can be time-intensive, especially if you’re starting from scratch or lack experience.
The process of conceptualizing, sketching, refining, and digitizing the designs can take a considerable amount of time which limits the quantity you are able to produce.
If you’re new to creating art, there may be a learning curve involved. Acquiring the necessary skills, software knowledge, drawing or painting skills, and understanding design principles may require time and effort.
Equipment Can be Expensive
Creating high-quality graphics may necessitate investing in professional design software, hardware, and resources. If you are creating physical art and scanning it in, then you need a scanner and a program to then edit the art. These expenses can add up, particularly if you’re aiming for advanced tools or specialized equipment.
What I Personally Do and Why
I create a lot of my own work as I’m building up a portfolio. I’m also developing my skills so that I can get my artwork licensed and add that revenue stream to my overall income.
I also have a subscription with Creative Fabrica and use a ton of the graphics that are offered in their catalog. This allows me to create a large quantity of designs, especially for holidays.
When I first started out, I mostly used purchased graphics for my designs as I wasn’t confident in my own abilities. Now, 4 years in, it’s switching to mostly creating my own work and using graphics from Creative Fabrica more sparingly.
I keep these designs separate in different Zazzle shops so that I can monitor what does and doesn’t do well a little better.
In my Spoonflower shop, I have a few patterns that were made with purchased graphics, but I don’t really do that anymore as my Spoonflower shop is the most likely way Art Directors will discover me and I don’t want them to see and want something that isn’t 100% mine.
I highly recommend using Creative Fabrica as it is the most cost-effective way to purchase graphics for print on demand. They have a catalog of over 7 million products (and counting) on their website. You can check it out here.