Whatever kind of design job you have, the time comes when you ask yourself: "why am I working for a boss when I could sell design work I've created directly to the public?" There are loads of ways to make money from your talents, and it's simpler than ever to sell design work online.
You no longer have to invest huge amounts of time and money building your own online store: there are many existing ecommerce websites which will allow you to reach a wider market and sell your products.
So whether you're looking to publish a book, create your own T-shirts, or sell a series of art prints, the following sites offer a tried and tested way to make the most of your design work and start generating an income from it...
01. Art Web
Art Web is an ecommerce site that specialises in selling art online to buyers around the world. A community of different artists and creatives use this online platform to network and share their work, as well as make money from it. The service works on a no-commission basis, and there's a free plan that gives you an online gallery with up to 15 images. There's also a paid-for version that gives you more images and a professional-looking website.
Bouf brings together creatives, artists and designers who create unique products to sell their works to consumers who are bored of the mass-produced items on the high street. Featuring designer home and garden items, quirky accessories, and 'gifts with a twist', the site is selective about who sells through it, so you first need to go through a simple application process.
03. Click for Art
Click for Art specialises in art prints, canvas prints and limited edition housewares, from cushions to mugs and laptop cases, and features work from over 50 artists and design studios from Europe, the US, Asia and Brazil. They are always on the lookout for new talent so this could be a great avenue to sell your designs to a commercial audience. Find out how you can get involved here.
04. Gela Skins
Want to see your designs come to life by applying them on designer skins for iPads, iPhones and so on? Then head to Gela Skins, which features some gorgeous designs and explicitly aims to "support and promote independent artists everywhere" through their business.
Designers and artists who are looking to publish a book or graphic novel – but don’t have the funding – should make a beeline for Unbound. Like a kind of Kickstarter for books, this site helps you find people to fund your project and see it come to life.
Launched in 2004, Big Cartel is one of the most popular platforms for any creative looking to sell design work online. Unlike a lot of websites, it allows you to build your store and customise it to give it a unique feel as well as it adapting to your existing website.
Giving you all the professional tools you need to conduct market research – such as a tracking and social networking – you're given total freedom and control over the ways in which you choose to sell and promote your work. The price plan ranges from free to $29.99 a month depending on the support and facilities you wish to use, as well as the number of products you are offering.
Open to the community of artists and designers globally, Threadless gives you the opportunity to submit your designs to a public vote. If you get enough votes from the community you'll get the chance to make money through their online production and promotion of your products. It's definitely a site to look into if you have designs hidden away and wanting exposure, as well as being a great networking resource.
08. Society 6
Society 6 is another online platform for creatives to sell design work, focusing on "affordable art prints, iPhone cases and T-shirts". It's free to set up, and the products are produced made, shipped, and managed for you - leaving you with only the designing to do.
With the site only taking a small percentage of what you sell back, this is a great place for designers and creatives looking to get their work featured onto a vast range of products.
Launched in 2005, Etsy is a global ecommerce website that caters for the needs of creatives looking to sell design work, focusing on handmade goods, vintage items and art and craft supplies. Essentially it's an online version of a massive craft fayre. It could also be characterised as a folksy version of eBay.
The site charges 20 cents per item listed, while for every item sold Etsy collects an additional 3.5 per cent commission.
Zazzle is an online marketplace that lets you sell your designs on hundreds of products. It's free and easy to create an online store on Zazzle, and its powerful tools make it possible to sell your art on t-shirts, stamps, posters, mugs, business cards, skateboards, calendars, tote bags, hats, and more.
Storemate ensures that its customers are introduced to personally inspiring and socially relevant designer wear and cool gear. The designs are hand-picked daily by storemate's community of designers, bloggers, brand managers and style artists. So be safe in the knowledge that the guys running this site are just like you.
You can sell just about anything on ArtFire – from jewellery to prints and tees to handmade crafts, this is a perfect site for the designer with more than the usual wares. By optimising and pushing your designs to major search engines, it's also great for much-needed exposure.
On Redbubble you can set your own commission for all product types – avoiding any dodgy percentage cuts. It also has an array of artist groups that host challenges to inspire your creativity. It's free to join, with the site sending you your earnings every month.
INPRNT is a moderated gallery with a three part submission process.
First, sign up for an INPRNT account and submit three of your best pieces for review. That submission is then voted on by artists already on the site. The artists that currently have accounts help curate new submissions to the service.
Once the submission is approved, the new member's account is automatically upgraded to an artist account and they can upload work to their gallery straight through the site and it's available for sale instantly.
Not on the High Street gets over two million unique visitors per month, which then doubles at Christmas. Their TV and outdoor ad campaigns are also seen by millions, so this is a site for some great exposure. They are constantly looking for small businesses that are looking to grow, so if that's you – head here!
Meryem Meg is a Leeds-based graphic designer and illustrator whose inspiration lies in melodic word play and typographic experimentation. Follow her on Twitter at @meryemmeg.
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Have you found a great way to sell design work online? Let us know about your experiences in the comments!