Andre Akito


August 30, 2021

What is printable artwork

Printables are pieces of artwork that are commercialized digitally. Instead of receiving a physical product, the client can download the files and select the most suitable way to print the art. There are many different options to print including: local print shops, online printing services or even home printers. Because the files are transferred digitally, printable art is one of the most convenient ways to buy and sell artwork. 

It is one of the most affordable options for clients since they don’t need to spend money for shipping and import taxes. This is very cost effective especially if the seller doesn’t have a print supplier in the home country of the client

Additionally, once a client acquires a digital file, it can be printed multiple times for personal use. After downloading the file, the client will most likely print the file at a local print shop while having the options to choose between different types of paper and frames available.

At the same time, it is a relatively convenient strategy for artists since they don’t need to worry about production and distribution. This means that artists can expand their customer base and sell their art worldwide without having to deal with multiple printing suppliers. They just need to upload the files into an online selling platform, profit from the sale and once the file is delivered, the job is done. Since the fulfillment is usually done automatically, it becomes a passive revenue stream. As a consequence, artists can focus on creating new pieces of artwork.

Lastly, Printables are more environmental friendly, since they eliminate all packaging that pre-printed art needs and also no greenhouse is emitted by transportation companies to deliver the product to its final destination. 

It is worth noting that this method not only applies for photography, but also for other kinds of artwork like drawings and graphic design. So, if you don’t have a camera, you can also use different graphic tools to start creating your own art ! 

What types of Printable Artwork can I sell

The market for printable artwork is huge and there are many different types of artwork that can commercialized.  

For photographers, graphic designers and painters, their artwork will most likely be used for creating decorative wall art, like posters and prints. This means that files should be appealing, aesthetic and original for this purpose. In addition, artists must upload high resolution files that can be printed in large sizes (JPEG, 300dpi and with resolution up to 10800x7200px). It is also common to offer different aspect rations (or dimensions), so the client can choose the most suitable size for his place.

However, in addition to wall art, there are many other products that are also very popular when it comes to printables. Some of the most popular products include invitation cards, calendars, coloring pages, bullet journals and the list goes on. In contrast to decorative artwork, the skills that these products demand are relatively simple, so new artists can easily begin selling their art, since no advanced skills are required to start developing content for this type of products. And one of the best things is that there are many graphic design tools that are available today, so it is easier than ever to start creating a printable artwork regardless your skill.

Summing up, Printable Art is very customizable and broad market. To get an idea about what people are looking for, it is recommended to check up printable platforms like Pinterest and Etsy in order to see what the most downloaded or pinned Printables are.

Where can I sell Printable Artwork

After creating a piece of artwork, artists need to think about how and where to sell it. There are basically two ways that you can sell printable artwork:

  • Marketplaces (like Etsy)
  • Personal Website (like Shopify or WooCommerce)

Selling in a marketplace is definitely the easiest, fastest and cheapest option. However, selling in a market place cannot be the most profitable option in the long term since artists will have to pay commissions and fees for each sale that is completed. It is also important to consider that inside the marketplaces, artists will have to deal with a massive number of competitors that will be aggressively fighting for clients, lowering the price of all products in the category. Therefore, in the end, you will find yourself selling images for very competitive prices.

Therefore, the other alternative comes from developing a website by yourself and selling the artwork there. With a personal website, there are no fees and commissions (except for the payment fees, which are usually low and variable costs). Another very important point is that artists have more freedom to customize their website in their own way. In a time where user experience is so important, this can be a very differentiating factor for the business.  The only upfront cost when creating an website ultimately comes down to hosting and domain. However, the biggest challenge with this method is learning web development, which can be complicated at first. However, if artists use a website builder for e-commerce like Shopify or Squarespace, the development will be easier, but they will also need to pay some expensive monthly fees. On the other hand, you can develop your own e-commerce website for free using WordPress and WooCommerce.

Ultimately, there is no better way to sell your art, it just depends on your personal needs and preferences. I personally use WordPress and WooCommerce for selling my digital photography because I want to have more control of it and also because I think it’s a more cost-effective way. I also wanted to learn more about web development to use it in the future, so I decided to spend some time studying about it. There is plenty of information in the web and there are many free tools that are really helpful for creating the website. 

Hope this post helped you understand a bit more about Printable Artwork. If you would like to check my Printables, they  are available in my shop page. I’ll keep uploading more files over the next months. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions !

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