Nice to meet you here! We are extremely happy that you came up with the idea to start on your own with POD.
Have you already read our guide How to start with POD?
If not, click and check it here.
But we are pretty sure that you still have a billion of questions (even if you didn’t get it yet).

When the first step is done – you realized you want to start-up, so it’s high time to move forward:

  • Step two: what exactly do you want to produce? T-shirts, cups or maybe backpacks? Hope you are done with it.
  • Step three:  design - and that’s where the problem began to appear.
  • Step four: think about you brand strategy. What do you want exactly? The problem is coming closer…
  • Step five: where to sell... WHERE? And HOW?....it’s coming so close that’s you even start feeling ticklish
  • Step six: how to create a proper promotion and gain new customers?

…Bang! You are slaughtered and there is 0 left out of your enthusiasm.

We don’t want the things going this way and to lost you. We want to present you some… Allies! Don’t be afraid, you are not alone on the battlefield. There are lots of software friends that were invented to HELP you and make life much easier.

Let’s divide them on their purposes:

  • Tools for brand identity
  • Design tools (logo and design creators, mock-up generators)
  • Process management tools
  • Photo editing tools

Brand identity

If you don’t want to be ‘noname’ on the market and lost among more powerful others, so you probably need to create a brand cell.

The brand design portrays an image of your company to future customers and determines how your brand will be perceived. The main goal - is to be recognizable in the brand-overloaded world (and afterwards get loyal customers of course). By the way, we highly recommend this brilliant book for you as a helpful tool that will suit any business model https://www.pwc.com/us/en/careers/campus/assets/img/programs/personal-brand-workbook.pdf

What exactly will you need to create a brand identity?
That’s all will help you to encourage people to engage with you.

Let’s look closer


Naming
Having troubles with naming? We tested several name generators and chose the best options on the market right now.

Their algorithms are almost the same – you write down the keyword and it creates hundreds of variants. By the way, if you need a domain it will check its availability.

Brand Colours
Brands colours is an important part. You know colours strongly affect our brand perception and may cause even misapprehension of it.

Palette generators is an awesome way to find out what exactly colour palette you will need for your brand design. If you can name only one colour for your future brand - that’s not a big deal. The others will be automatically generated based on the best design practice for you and you need just to choose what fits your brand vision the most.

Here are two links where you can browse thousands of colour combinations to find your perfect match.

Ok then. Design tools

How to create a design and logo for my apparel?

Canva
Canva is a perfect option for newbies who has struggles with making graphic design in Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator. By the way, it is a free software where the majority of tools are for free. So you can effortlessly create logos, apparel design, ads and printables without being a professional designer.

Tailor Brands
It uses an intuitive algorithm to create a custom logo. For making it you need to enter a name, choose an industry you are in and to add some description to make it more custom. After that AI   you several options to choose and you can add extra-features to make it even more customs. What’s great for POD it allows to see how the created logo looks in use on apparel, company merchandise and social media pages.

Designhills
The service names itself as smart logo-maker, but they also offer designs for T-shirts and apparels specifically for POD. The process is a bit more complicated than in mock-up generators, but as a logo-maker it has a better variety of automated unique logos and why not to make some company merchandise on it?

Have struggles?
Mock-up services as a time-money-psycho-saver

If you never thought yourself as a designer - nevermind. If you don’t have access to the design tools, designer or even simply have a lack of time and energy – nevermind. Human beings have already created services specifically for lazy bones. Mock-up services offer a magnificent variety for all the needs and phenomenal ability to customize.  Some of the mock-up services are already integrated into the big platforms (such as Printful and Printify), so do not hesitate to use them it in your workflow.
Here are two winners of a race:

Placeit

Placeit is an awesome tool. Truly, believe us. It has the world’s largest mock-up library with more than 13k+ templates for whatever apparel. This service offers you not only to create designs for your T-shirts. It has video and slideshow mock-ups, multi-purpose design templates, it has a logo-maker with more than 3000 templates. By the way, it allows creating designs for your marketing campaign, because it has mock-ups for social-media posts, Youtube banners and templates for ads in various sizes.

The main obstacle – you should pay for every single mock-up design you create and the price depends on the type of action. If you are going to use a service on all cylinders the Placeit offers a subscription what is much more affordable.

Printful

These guys managed not only to build a powerful printing platform but also one of the most user-friendly printing mock-up generator. It allows you to use their templates and clip arts or to upload your own design. It is very time-saving if you are using Printful platform as it integrated into their workflow. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy!

Printify

This printing platform also provides mock-up generator with templates and designs, but it as not user-friendly as the ones above. It requires really long registration and has not so many designs to offer. But in case you favour Printify to work with and prefer simple designs - that’s really cool to have all-in-one place and not to distract to others.

And last but not least: final flourish we can’t avoid and NOT TO TELL.
These things you need to do every time:


Any helpers with the workflow?

Printavo

Printavo is a cloud-based shop management software specifically designed for printing business purposes. It helps to increase shop efficiency and your team to stay organised.  What’s inside?

  • a calendar involved in your workflow, where you can track your orders and see on what stage are your tasks
  • customers base with well-organised shopping and billing information
  • e-mail platform to communicate with your clients directly from Printavo system, send them mock-ups with design and approve it right in the workflow
  • payment system inside the workflow: you can manage your payments, customer can pay using the secret link you sent to him
  • analytics. hell yes, it has analytics, where you can take a look on your revenue, expenses and sales by users. It gives a great view into the profitability of your business.

Design’N’Buy
Design’N’Buy - is an awesome online design tool lab that offers Web to Print Software for you POD business to galvanize your stores offering. It has 4 products for you to work with:

  • All-in-one Designer
    Web to print software for multi-store B2B and B2C setup - must-have for printing apparel business It is highly customized to fit your business requirements. The store offers a variety of ready-to-sell products and also personalized as well. It has a design studio based on Adobe Flash where customers can create a unique design they want.
  • Premium Marketplace Solution
    It is a software based on Magento platform and created for building network for customers, print re-sellers, graphic designers, vendors and print service providers to stay all-in-one place - on one single centralized platform.
  • PrintCommerce
    It was created to solve all business printing needs for personalization. It offers to integrate its product design studio into your website and to generate ready-to-print art files made by your customers. It has integrations with e-commerce platforms like Magento, PrestaShop, Opencart and NopCommerce.
  • Product Configurator
    This tool goes beyond personalization and lets customers to built and design their products on demand. It has a tremendous variety to choose the products to design - from simple apparel till automobiles and furniture.

Ordant

Odant - is a cloud-based MIS software specifically made for Print companies and Sign shops. Frankly, it’s a very customisable application that produces complex estimates and manages orders in a few seconds.  This software makes possible for customers to calculate the precise cost of projects and place orders online, upload files and track order processes.

What about photo edition?

In case you found a perfect photo to print instead of created simple logo graphics, there is also alias on this way. You may need help to upscale an image or to make it proper size for print. Furthermore, you may need quickly to edit and make more vibrant.

Object AI

- this photo-editor was made specifically for the e-commerce purpose. Driven by AI it detects the objects in photos automatically and removes a background. By the way it has a background opacity which helps you to control the focus on the product.

Removebg
It is the fastest and most adaptable background removal tool. No need to select pixels and edges manually, it selects automatically with the impressive speed.

PicMonkey
PicMonkey is an awesome online photo editor. You can not just simply edit and add filters, but add also graphics on your photo, use templates for your marketing and printing tools. It has really good collection of designer-curated textures and frames to boost the fantastic design (which you can use on your apparel)  and a ‘touch-up’ function - one-click edition.

Pixlr Pro
One of the most powerful web-based image editor. Removes the background, hale and patch to remove objects, convert photos into a vector art. Has professional tools which are easy to use for newbie. Has Pixlr Pro version what allows access to premium fonts, PSD templates and royalty stock filters.

Let’s Enhance
- a perfect choice for printing purposes. It turns your low quality images into high-resolution masterpieces. In case you have a picture with tiny dimensions it helps to upscale it up to 16x, so you can choose pictures whatever you want for your POD business.
By the way, digital photos look darker when they are printed. So after the upscaling, we highly recommend making a tone and colour enhancement for the better result.

image 2x upscaled and enhanced with Let's Enhnace

Try it here and make your image fit the printing well. You don't want your unicorn be full pixels, right?

What integrations do POD-platforms use?

Well, since we’ve researched the software you can use for design and brand making in POD, it’s high time to observe what e-commerce integrations big fish platforms use.

We checked TOP-5 printing platforms and here what we have got:


All of the platforms offer API to automate your POD-business connecting the printing platform with your e-commerce store. And that’s awesome because you can make more money, but you can’t make more time.


What is more, some of them have super-unique integrations.
ShipBob offers Magento and BackerKit e-commerce platforms to use, Printaura uses Opencart and Printful has a connection with Ecwid, Gumroad, Bigcartel and PrestaShop. By the way, Printful has integrations directly with marketplaces like Amazon, Inktale and Ebay (what other platforms can’t provide).

If you are already done with your printing platform, you have also to choose your e-commerce platform to sell online. What about their fees and auto-fulfillment?

(photo credits to Printify server) ‌‌

Last but not least, we want you also to make the right marketing strategy for your POD. Read this if you interested in proper analytics of your product.

Hope we clarified it a little for you and now you are well-awared about your next steps.

Seems not so scary, right? We are pretty sure that’s with all this grand-canyon-of-information you are savvy enough NOW to run your POD-business up to big success.

Cross the fingers and let the creative force be with you!