Ever since I decided to sell art online I have spent some time testing a few print-on-demand sites. I’ve tried Zazzle, Society6, and Redbubble.
I already knew all of them as I love to see what other illustrators are working on, but I never considered using these platforms to sell my own work. But as you know I recently decided to give it a go! This is my experience and personal (very personal) review of these sites.
The first one I’ve tried is Zazzle.
Zazzle is really easy to use to sell art online, has a good technology and a good inbuilt editor. This editor allows you to modify and adapt the dimensions of your designs directly on the product image. There is the upload area where you can drag and drop your design, and on the side of it, there is the preview of the product you have selected, which gets updated with your illustration as you go.
A blank and customizable item. Just click on ‘add your image’ on the right and begin to play.
You can make the design bigger, move it around, change the background colors and add text, and you will always see what it looks like in real time. The range of the fonts available is huge and modifiable in size and color. The preview pics of the finished work upload fast and are really large, taken from multiple angles so that you can see every side and every detail. The quality of the products they offer is really good: I’ve seen items made by friends in the past and I loved them.
the editor: you can change pretty much everything and add texts as well.
The other cool thing about Zazzle is that you can set up as many stores as you like with just one account and one password. You can have many stores with different themes, and the great thing is that you can also select your items to be visible across multiple stores! If you think the design of certain products matches the theme of other shops you own you can select the shops where these products will be showcased. Which of course means increased visibility and sales. Another nice thing is that they let you decide the percentage you are going to earn. Unfortunately, you have to reach 50$ of royalties before you get paid. Apart from this, it is a very good platform to sell art online, and it is already giving me some results.
27 shades of cats lumbar pillow cat illustration
SUMMING UP ON ZAZZLE
- great technology and editor
- easy to use
- multiple stores with one account
- you can set your royalties
- you have to reach 50$ in royalties before you get paid through Paypal (100$ if you want a check)
- the payment process after you reach the 50$ can take up to a month and a half!
The second site I have tried is Society6.
I’ve been knowing Society6 for way longer than Zazzle and had great expectations given the amounts of well-known designers that sell through it. To say I was disappointed is the least.
I’m sorry I don’t have pictures of the process.
Their front page looks great in my opinion.
First of all, it’s tricky to use as every item needs to have specific image dimensions. If you are a designer, working on Photoshop is no mystery and part of your daily routine, but in this case is one more thing that you have to do that takes time and slow the process down. Once you have adjusted all the images’ dimensions you can finally upload them through their uploader.
Which is slow! My internet connection isn’t the faster, but I can’t blame the slowness only to my provider because it does the job on other platforms. Sometimes you wait for the image to upload for minutes and nothing happens. It happened to me more than once that I had to repeat the uploading more and more to get it done. And unfortunately, once it’s done the results are often quite disappointing. There is only one preview picture, which is not that big and often it looks blurred. There is no inbuilt editor: once you have your design up, a page with a row of items on which your design can be applied appears, and you can only enable or not these items, with very little editing options if not size and position.
I have appreciated the possibility of downloading the Photoshop file of a few items in order to design something very specific, but it’s not available with everything.
Often, after having worked for a few hours to make the images right and upload the files, the finished product won’t show up in your shop. In my case, the i-phone cases I designed showed up on the shop’s front page, but as I clicked on the image a ‘sorry, no results’ appeared. In the help section, they explain it is something that happens when there is a lot of traffic and that it usually gets fixed after a few hours. In my case, it went on for three days.
I like how social it is. You can follow people and leave comments. Apart from prints, where you can set the price and your earnings, all other prices are already set. There is no threshold payment to reach to get paid, which is nice.
I am a very visual person and I love the way the site looks so I think I’ll give it a second try in the future, but for now, there are too many bugs in their system, there is way too much to do to fill a shop and I don’t have so much time. I want to have fun while I sell art online, not to waste time. I closed my account.
Cushions on Society6 look especially good.
SUMMING UP ON SOCIETY6:
- great range of products
- no payment threshold
- had no personal experience, but read the quality is good.
- every image has to have specific sizes – more work
- very slow uploader
- poor editing and preview technology which makes it less enjoyable
The last one I’ve tried is Redbubble,
Another print-on-demand site that I’ve known for a long time.
What can I say? It’s a great combination and compromise between Zazzle and Society6! It’s easy to use, fast, and visually appealing.
The uploader works fast even with large files.
The editor: you can change the background color and the size and position of your design. You can also multiply it!
on this page you can enable and edit the products on which you want you want your illustration to appear.
the preview. It’s only one image, but it works.
No need to edit the images, a simple png or jpg will do, it’s really simple and fast to use and there is a great range of products. The editor is very similar to the one Society6 has, but it works faster and gives good previews pictures, which is important to get the feel of how your item will look in the hands of a customer. You can’t choose the final image that will appear in the shop though ( a feature that is available on Zazzle). For example, with mugs, if you have a centered image it won’t be shown if not in half, as the mugs are pictured only on the left and right side. Naturally, if you click on the product and browse through the images you’ll see it entirely.
The shop’s page is great, there is a lot of focus on the artists’ portfolios and is also very social with the possibility of following artists and leaving messages. There is no threshold for payments, and you can set your own fees.
Redbubble was born as a t-shirt shop if I am not mistaken, and I know the quality of their t-shirt is great. Maybe for someone who isn’t much experienced and it’s just beginning to sell art online, Redbubble is better.
SUMMING UP ON REDBUBBLE
- visually appealing
- easy to use
- great range of products
- no payment threshold
- interface sometimes not so intuitive (but maybe it’s me)
Their bags look very cute. Love the metal zipper.
So who’s the best to sell art online?
In the end, Redbubble and Society6 are really similar: both very focussed on the artist, social, with a good portfolio page. Society6 looks cooler and younger but as I said, it doesn’t work smoothly. Redbubble is a lot more solid.
Zazzle is very product-based, not so art-focussed, but it’s so solid and easy to use that working on it’s fun, even if it’s not as visually charming as the previous two (but still looks good).
As I said I’ll give Society6 a second try in the future, while for now, I’ll sell art online through my Zazzle and Redbubble shops. l let you know how it will go! And if you know other good platforms, had different experiences, or stories to tell, please speak!