Print on demand for artists

Why Choosing POD as an Artist?

Selling internationally has not been easy since 2021. On one hand, the pandemic, inflation, and economic recession did not project a very promising future for independent artists. On the other hand, clearance delays at Customs, disruptions in maritime transport, and global shipping container shortages made international sales more expensive. If the problems are to linger well into 2023, artists need to find new ways to sell art. Print-on-demand (POD) would be one of the best ways to make money and create momentum as an artist.

Artist Print on demand Pros and Cons

PROS (11)

  1. Risk-free Opportunity: As an artist, print on demand (POD) means zero upfront costs, letting you focus on your craft without financial burdens hanging over your head.
  2. Fast to Launch: Most POD platforms let you exhibit and sell your artistry in a blink, sometimes in as short as 15 minutes.
  3. Swift Shipping: Geographical convenience is the name of the game. By producing products closer to your admirers, their eager hands get to hold your artwork faster than ever.
  4. Dodging Import Taxes: With global POD platforms, there’s likely a printing hub in the same country as your clientele, sidestepping those pesky import taxes.
  5. Eco-Friendly Footprint: This one is biased and can be only used for your image, yet there is no such thing as producing and selling without polluting. But by printing only what’s ordered, waste is minimized, translating to lower carbon emissions. There is a good list on Eco responsible platforms on this site.
  6. Consistent Reliability: Many POD centers come with years, sometimes decades, of experience. Their tech-driven, fully computerized processes ensure your art reproduces faithfully, every time.
  7. Flexibility: With no ties that bind, you can waltz across to a different POD provider if the current one doesn’t make your heart sing.
  8. Time-Saving: With POD, the need to issue certificates of authenticity or engage in customer service chats vanishes.
  9. Exposure: Many POD platforms come with their own audience, acting as a beacon, guiding art enthusiasts to your creations, and amplifying your reach without an extra dime spent.
  10. Diverse Product Range: POD allows artists to venture into various merchandise like t-shirts, mugs, and phone cases. It’s art that’s usable and flaunts your style.
  11. Payment Security: Established POD platforms often have secure payment gateways, ensuring that every sale reflects in your account without hitches.

CONS (10)

  1. Rival’s Delight: By setting foot into shared POD platforms, you might unintentionally become a tour guide, leading your hard-won customers straight into the welcoming arms of your competition.
  2. Intellectual Property Risks: The vast, interconnected web of POD could become a treasure trove for unscrupulous ones seeking to plagiarize. Your unique artwork might just catch the eye of those looking to rob, not purchase.
  3. Sell-Out Stigma: Tread the line between art and commerce. While POD opens avenues of profitability, there’s a risk of being tagged as ‘commercial’ or, worse, a ‘sell-out,’ especially by art purists.
  4. Dependency Risk: Placing your art business’s success in the hands of a third-party POD service means surrendering control. 
  5. Customization Constraints: Basically, creativity with boundaries. The POD model might box you into set formats or product types, constraining your expression. Your artwork deserves more than a one-size-fits-all approach.
  6. Profit Pinches: While you escape upfront costs, the slice of the pie you receive per sale might be slimmer than if you went solo.
  7. Lacking Quality: Most POD platforms compromise on quality for efficiency, leading to a game of Russian roulette with each order. To counter that, choose the best platforms and always order a sample of your project ahead (it should be with a discount). 
  8. Hidden Costs: Some POD services might lure you in with promises of no upfront costs, only to introduce a myriad of hidden charges, from membership fees to premium listing costs.
  9. Brand Dilution: In the quest to be everywhere, you might end up being nowhere. Being on multiple POD platforms can water down your brand’s exclusivity and essence, making you just another artist in the vast sea.
  10. Lack of Personal Touch: The intimate bond between the artist and admirer can get lost. The absence of handwritten notes, personalized packaging, or direct interactions can make transactions feel more commercial and less heartwarming.

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We also made an article about the two main print-on-demand platforms RedBubble and Society6.