Happily, it's simpler than ever to sell design work online – you no longer have to invest huge amounts of time and money in building your own online store. There are many existing e-commerce websites that will allow you to reach a wider market to 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 extra income from it...
01. Creative Market
A favourite among designers, Creative Market is a brilliant place to sell your designs online. Whatever it is you're creating – graphics, fonts, photos, even 3D assets – get it online at Creative Market and in front of its thousands of daily visitors. There's no exclusivity lock-in, you set your own prices and take home 70 per cent of each sale. Open a Creative Market shop here.
02. Design Cuts
Design Cuts is a community website offering high quality assets to designers at affordable and discounted prices. Patterns, brushes, backgrounds, fonts, graphics and other slick assets abound. "We're very exclusive and work with only the best designers in the world, curating the highest quality marketplace around," it told us. To be featured on the site, Design Cuts says to get in touch via its Contact page.
03. 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 to 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. Sell your art with Art Web here.
04. Big Cartel
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. Sign up for a Big Cartel store here.
This is a Limited Edition, formerly Click for Art, specialises in art prints, canvas prints and limited edition products from cushions to mugs and laptop cases. It features work from over 50 artists and design studios from Europe, the US, Asia and Brazil. If you're a talented artist, this could be a great avenue to sell your designs to a commercial audience. Fill out its Artist Application to be considered.
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 the site's online production and promotion of your products. It's definitely a site to look into if you have designs hidden away, if you want exposure and great networking. Look into selling with Threadless here.
07. 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. Find out how to sell on Society 6 here.
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 fair.
With 30 million registered shoppers, Etsy is the most popular of craft-driven retail sites, and offers the kind of global audience most creatives would struggle to reach on their own. The site is open to all sellers, and it's relatively cheap to use: listing an item for four months (or until it sells), costs $0.20 (around 13p), and commission fees sit at just 3.5 per cent (plus VAT) on each purchase.
There are some downsides, though: with this popularity comes stiff competition, quality control is essentially non-existent, and keeping on top of updates can be time-consuming. Open an Etsy shop here.
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. Sell your designs with Zazzle here.
On Redbubble you can set your own profit margin 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. Find out more about selling on Redbubble here.
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. Once the submission is approved, the new member's account is automatically upgraded to an artist account and you can upload work to your gallery for sale straight through the site. Apply for an INPRNT site here.
It costs £199 to join Not On The High Street, and sellers have to pay 25 per cent commission, plus VAT (Etsy, by comparison, only charges 3.5 per cent). However, the site pulls in over two million unique visitors per month, which doubles at Christmas, so for many it's worth the investment.
NOTHS focuses on quality rather than quantity. It's more exclusive than competitors like Etsy, with strict guidelines and a tough application process. The result is only the best designer-makers can secure a spot on the site. Find out more about selling on NOTHS here.
13. Design By Humans
Design By Humans is an online store offering T-shirts, phone cases, prints, mugs and more with designs from over 15,000 global designers. Describing itself as a "community" of passionate artists and customers, you upload your designs and the site handles the logistics of payments, printing items, shipping orders and so on. You can even opt for a custom storefront. Sign up for a Design By Humans store here.
MyFonts is one of our go-to sources of new and exciting fonts here at CreativeBloq, and you can be featured on it! Your type designs could reach a broader (paying) audience by being featured in one of the site's bundles, as well as its collections filtered by descriptive keywords. Find out how to sell your typefaces through MyFonts here.
15. Your own website
While established platforms offer ready-made audiences and low barriers to entry, if you've established a solid customer base, it might be worth building your own bespoke web shop, where you won't have to shell out listing fees or commission. Ecommerce plugins make this even more accessible.
Shopify comes highly recommended, offering simple inventory management features, customisable web URLs and a a beautiful selection of website themes to get you started.
16. Pop-up shops and craft fairs
OK, so this one isn't online, but it's worth considering. A temporary physical space is one relatively low-risk way to expands your customer base and gain some insights into who what sells and why.
Being able to speak to people face-to-face is also a good way to cement your brand in their memory – even if they just walk away with business card the first time. Renting a space with a friend or collaborator can help bring down costs, and it’s easy to do it on a budget with a bit of effort and imagination.