January 2, 2023

You have awesome design ideas and want to start selling products online, but maybe you aren’t sure where to start. One of the biggest benefits of a print-on-demand business is the minimal risk involved because you don’t have to stock inventory.

You may be asking yourself: “How do I get started? How do I find the tools and directions I need?”

The tools you need are all right here on GearLaunch! The most important tools you’ll need are to help customer service, product sourcing, and fulfillment. These are three of the biggest pain points when running an e-commerce business.

GearLaunch takes care of all three of them, so you can focus on growing your company and building your brand.

When you’re just getting started, you’ll need to know where to find or create popular designs, what products to sell, and what to do if you aren’t a designer and need to hire a freelancer to make your ideas come to life!

How to Find or Create Popular Designs

Find Inspiration

Looking for designs to sell on shirts, hats, mugs, or other awesome products? If you’re struggling to find inspiration,  don’t worry! There are many places online to help you research trending designs and find the inspiration you need.

Try Google Images

Google Images is a gold mine when you’re looking for new design and text concepts. Type in a niche followed by the word “quote” and you are on your way.

screenshot of a google image search of cat lovers quotes, 8 different images pop up with a cat and text

Start by searching for popular unattributed quotes to inspire your designs. Before you use an image, be sure to verify that you aren’t violating any copyright or trademark guidelines. It’s always best to create your own image to avoid any issues.

Try a Pinterest Search

Pinterest has become an incredibly powerful search engine. No matter your niche or design idea, you’re sure to find inspiration on Pinterest. Simply go to the search bar and type in your niche followed by words such as “quotes,” or “designs,” or choose from the dropdown list and start searching.

screenshot of GearLaunch's Pinterest page

Pinterest is a gold mine when looking for trending or popular images. You can find tons of inspiration on GearLaunch’s Pinterest profile. You can also type in keywords you’re targeting for even more inspiration.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You should never fully copy a design you find or claim it as your own unless expressly given permission to do so. You should only use your research as a starting point to create your own original work.

Copying and stealing another artist’s work will get you into a lot of trouble. For more information on copyright and trademark best practices, read our blog post here.

Design for Your Audience and More!

When you’re trying to find or create popular designs, don’t focus on what you can sell to one person. Focus on designs you can sell to multiple people over multiple niches. When you’re looking for new designs, you’re better off looking for a vague concept that you can change multiple times to apply to another niche.

This strategy is called personalization and is a popular method many online businesses use to appeal to more audiences. With GearLaunch you can add personalization fields to your designs for a more customized experience your customers will love!

For example, create a design that says, “I like horses and like… maybe 3 people” as well as another that reads “If you don’t like horses then you won’t like me… and I’m okay with that.”

You can change the text for any popular animal such as dogs and cats. The more designs you create with personalization, the more likely you are to appeal to larger audiences.

One design can be made into 100 different designs with hardly any extra work, and still, be appealing enough to become profitable for your store! Personalization is incredibly popular with print-on-demand stores and is a proven way to grow your brand online.


Not a Designer? Hire One!

If you want to try your hand at design, you can use any number of free online design tools.

However, there are a few places where you can find designers to create designs for you, but the prices will vary. Spending money isn’t always an option when starting out, but can be worth the investment in the long run.

Design Crowd: Simply post a brief description of the type of design you want, include some examples and the direction you want, then several designers will create and submit their work. This allows you to choose the one you like the best at your selected price point.

screenshot of a designcrowd page

99 Designs: 99 designs is one of the more expensive options, but it gives you full control over the direction in which your design is being created.

You start out by creating a campaign for a design on the product you’re targeting, then you’re able to review submissions and make suggestions. The process allows the designers to make changes based on your feedback.

You communicate directly with the designers who opt to take on the job, then at the end, you only pay for the winning design. Then, the winning designers get paid for their work.

You’re also able to see what the other designers’ styles have to offer. You can take these small intricacies from their personal styles and suggest them to the others competing for your work.

screenshot a 99Designs page

Fiverr: This is the most cost-effective route to take while still getting awesome work done. Fiverr gets their name from the fact that they offer professional campaigns at the lowest prices starting at $5.

You may need to pay more depending on the designer you choose to work with and the size of the job, but a small job won’t break the bank.

Fiverr is a wonderful resource for small designs or semi occasional tasks like daily shirt designs or promotional material to help sell your products.

screenshot of a Fiverr page

Upwork: Upwork is a freelance platform that allows you to find employees to handle tasks or make yourself available for jobs others need done.

It’s perfect if you’re looking to hire anyone from graphic designers to virtual assistants to outsource daily tasks and focus on the growth of your business. They have a user rating system so you can see what others thought of their work ethic and abilities, as well as an in-depth interviewing process complete with filters to weed out certain details, while actively searching for others. This is a great tool for building your team from the ground up.

screenshot of a Upwork page

Check out our complete guide to hiring the best freelancer.

Now I Have a Design, What Products Should I Sell?

One of the best parts of running a print-on-demand business is the versatility of products available. Especially when you use a platform like GearLaunch that offers a broad array of products. You can choose to sell your designs on only t-shirts, or broaden your audience with one of our other product categories. You could sell apparel, home decor, wall art, drinkware, or various accessories.

The best part? Products are always expanding!


T-shirts and other apparel are often the first products new print-on-demand businesses target with their designs. There are plenty of fun designs, niches, and holidays for marketing.

A smart shop owner will branch out and try some of the other products available for increasing ticket size at check out. If your customers love your design on shirts, they may also love your designs on mugs, jewelry, or home decor!

Woman wearing a white t-shirt that says "Happy 4th of July Independence Day" in red and blue

Home Decor

Home Decor is an exciting new product and many sellers are having great success with this category! You can sell your designs on items such as pillows, various bedding items, curtains, table decor, and even bathroom decor! Are your customers cat lovers? Try your cat design on a pillow!

navy pillow with pink and light blue triangles on it with "Meow" on in it in pink and the o is replaced by a cat face

Wall Art

Wall art has become increasingly popular with artists and designers online. You can sell your art on a variety of canvas prints, metal prints, acrylic prints, framed prints, and even tapestries. Art sales online have skyrocketed over the last 5 years and provide e-commerce businesses an easy way to expand and grow!

poster of a sunset over the ocean with a blue background behind it


You’ve seen designs on mugs all over the internet, but now you can expand to other drinkware products as well! Reusable travel tumblers are a hot item for customers on the go. They’ll love taking their favorite designs on the road, on outings, or to their favorite sporting event. Selling your designs on drinkware is a must!

white traveler tumbler with black lid, it has a blue square with a black checkmark in it and red lines going across horizontally to make it all look like an American Flag


Another often-overlooked category for print-on-demand businesses is accessories! Cell phone cases and jewelry are big items online. When you’re looking to grow your business, it’s a good idea to test your designs on a variety of products to see which ones resonate with your audience. Not every niche will be interested in every product, but when you diversify your offering, you increase the likelihood of a bigger ticket at checkout.

hand hold bright blue phone case with "Old School Mom" in white pixelated text and the O in mom is a red heart

Time To Get Started!

Now you have the tools and ways to find or create popular designs, you can get started with your own print-on-demand store! Let GearLaunch help you get started today!


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