A Beginner’s Guide To Crowdsourcing Designs For Your POD Store

Starting a Print-On-Demand (POD) shop is an exciting venture for anyone with creativity and a web connection. POD outlets, selling custom-made t-shirts, coffee mugs, and smartphone cases, present a hassle-free doorway into the digital retail realm with minimal capital. But captivating designs that speak to your audience are essential for your store to shine amidst rivals. This is where crowdsourcing jumps in. This piece introduces you to the art of sourcing designs via crowdsourcing for your budding POD business.

What Is Crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing is the act of seeking insights, ideas, or services from a vast online community. It’s an astute way to harness countless individuals’ collective wisdom and creativity. In the realm of POD, this means seeking the talents of professional artists, graphics gurus, or even your client base to craft unique and memorable designs for your wares. For instance, Swagify.com epitomizes a platform that adeptly leverages crowdsourcing to amass distinct designs and efficiently fulfill personalized merchandise orders.

Why Should You Consider Crowdsourcing?

Embracing crowdsourcing for your POD store’s design needs has a plethora of perks:


By turning to the vastness of global talent, you open your store to an eclectic mix of artistry and innovative ideas. This approach enriches your design pool and ensures you aren’t confined to a single style or perspective.


Crowdsourcing is not just about quantity but also cost efficiency. While you garner many designs, you spend significantly less than having an in-house designer or engaging multiple freelancers, giving you more bang for your buck.

Quick Turnaround

The beauty of crowdsourcing is the simultaneous influx of designs from numerous contributors. This means a faster replenishment of your design inventory, helping you adapt swiftly to market demands and trends.

Fresh Perspectives 

By casting a wider net, you capture a multitude of design philosophies and trends, which can give your store an avant-garde edge. Variable input keeps your products modern and new.

Community Engagement 

Crowdsourcing builds communities beyond designs. Involving customers in the creative process creates stronger bonds and ownership, turning your items into stories and memories.

How To Get Started With Crowdsourcing Designs For Your POD Store

Aware of the manifold advantages? Let’s guide you through launching a crowdsourced design drive for your POD outlet step by step:

Define Your Brand and Niche

Knowing who you’re trying to appeal to with your brand is essential before you start a crowdsourcing campaign. What are the values and beliefs that your company stands for? Describe your perfect customer. The designs you should pursue depend on your target market. 

Choose a Crowdsourcing Platform

Before settling on a crowdsourcing platform for your personal needs, it’s crucial to research the various options available by reading through user reviews, success stories, and finished design projects. Discover an infrastructure that provides all the essential functions at a reasonable cost. Last but not least, the number of the platform’s users might impact the design variety, yet a more select audience may be more in line with the values of your business.

Create a Detailed Design Brief

Once you’ve settled on a strategy or framework, it’s time to draft a detailed design brief. You should describe your company, your intended audience, the product(s) you’ll be designing for, any unique ideas you have in mind, and any technical specifications (such as the size of a t-shirt, if applicable). 

Set a Budget

Figure out how much you’re willing to pay for each design. The price may fluctuate based on the design’s intricacy and the designer’s skill level. Be open about your budget to attract designers who are a suitable fit for your project. 

Launch a Contest or Reach Out to Designers

Depending on the site’s features and your taste, you can host a design contest where multiple artists submit their work, expanding your pool of potential candidates. Instead, you can create a more tailored design experience by contacting individual designers whose work you find particularly compelling. Ensure clear communication regardless of your method of acquiring designs that reflect your brand.

Provide Feedback

Giving constructive criticism is essential whether you’re conducting a contest or working one-on-one with a designer. Make it clear what you like and dislike about each design. Clarity in communication will aid designers in refining their work and meeting your expectations. 

Choose and Pay for Designs

It’s time to choose the final design(s) after receiving submissions or working closely with a designer. Check that you understand the license terms for the design and that you and the designer have reached a payment agreement. To keep a healthy working relationship, pay on time. 

Prepare Your Merchandise

You can now arrange your items for your POD store with your designs in hand. Check that the plans adhere to the technical requirements of your preferred POD platform (e.g., picture resolution, file format). 

Launch and Market Your Products

Finally, it’s time to put your things on the market in your POD store. Utilize your marketing expertise to promote your distinctive products via social media, email marketing, and other readily available platforms. Engage your community and solicit feedback to help you enhance your offers.

Tips For Successful Crowdsourcing

Consider the following extra suggestions to make the most of crowdsourcing designs for your POD store: 

Quality Over Quantity 

It is preferable to have a few exceptional designs rather than a slew of poor ones. Concentrate on quality and niche relevance. 

Build Relationships 

Consider developing long-term partnerships with excellent designers you meet through crowdsourcing. A dependable designer who understands your brand might be a priceless asset. 

Protect Your Intellectual Property

Ensure you understand the ownership and usage rights of the designs you buy. You may desire exclusive rights to the methods or the ability to tweak and reuse them in numerous ways. 

Stay Informed

Keep an eye on market trends and design trends. What is popular today may not be popular tomorrow. Adapt and evolve your designs as needed. 

Test and Iterate

Feel free to experiment with alternative designs and solicit feedback from your clients. Iterate and improve your offers by using data and customer insights. 


Crowdsourcing designs for your POD store is a clever way to tap into a large pool of creative ability, cut expenses, and keep your inventory fresh. By adhering to the steps recommended in this beginner’s guide and staying receptive to new concepts, you can establish a successful POD business that distinguishes itself in a competitive industry. Remember that successful crowdsourcing is a collaboration between you and the designers, so treat them with respect and fairness, and your business will likely grow and develop.