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How to Design a Product that Sells | Fuel POD

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How to Design a Product that Sells

You have the idea of a business, a concept is building up in your mind, and now it is time to bring it to life with Fuel. You decide to open an online store but suddenly realize you have no designs to create your products. 

We know print-on-demand can feel overwhelming at first, more if you’re not a professional or have no previous experience in design. If you’re wondering how to design merch that will stand out to be a hit among the fascinating world of print-on-demand, keep reading 😎

This step-by-step article will help you get inspired to create your next best-selling print-on demand-products. After reading this, you will be able to develop and polish your ideas and find creative inspiration to design unique artworks.

Let’s dive in together!

Design merch for a specific niche

The truth is you cannot design a product if you don’t know who you are selling it to. The first step to decide the concept of your collections is to focus on a niche. Once you’ve chosen it, carry out market research and create a buyer persona based on the insights you find —the more specific, the better. Don’t be afraid of being extra with the details!

If you haven’t created one yet, go to our latest blog to learn how to create a buyer persona.

Let’s say you’ve decided to sell apparel products for sports fan women living in the US between the ages of 25 to 35. Now ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • What are they looking for in a hoodie or sweatshirt?
  • Do they prefer tank tops or long-sleeves?
  • What kind of design style do they love?
  • What are their favorite colors?
  • Which t-shirt fit do they prefer?

Dig deeper and make a list of all the qualities and specs your buyers are looking for in products, and use them as a guideline to design merch successfully.

Group of girlfriends sitting and smiling, wearing custom print-on-demand merch.
Create your designs based on a niche. For example, women sports fans.

Find design inspiration

Now that you’re familiar with your buyer’s preferences, finding the right style, color, fonts, and even design placement for your print-on-demand products is easier. 

When designing, it is very important to visualize your brand’s look and feel, and a mood board is a perfect way to bring your ideas together. A mood board is a collage made out of images, color samples, and text to help you be on track with what you want to create. Keep it close to you at all times during the design process.

Never created a mood board before? 

Let’s create one together, keeping the niche we selected above: women who love sports. 

Step 1. Carry out extensive research to get inspired. The Internet has tons of tools and websites you can dig in to get started, these are our favorite:

  • Google – Your go-to search engine. Having your niche in mind, type “sports fan women,” followed by “quote” or “design.” You can filter by color, size, or image type and find infinite ideas to create your own artwork. 
  • Pinterest – This social media channel will help you organize your ideas and start creating! It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for, you will definitely find it here: from design elements to style inspiration and cool fonts you can try. Browse through thousands of pins and create boards to go back when you need to.
  • Behance – Get immersed in the most creative platform and let the professionals inspire you. Use the “Creative Field” and “Color” filters to wow yourself with the amazing work you can find here. 

Step 2. Select the images, colors, and fonts you like the most, and save them. After you’ve gathered enough style elements, get creative and build a mood board that captures the essence of your brand. 

Step 3. You can either put together a digital or a physical collage. If you decide to go traditional, print your photos and get your craft tools. If you’re more into the tech era, place or link them on a document. There are no rules here, get as creative as you can!

Once you’ve finished, it should look something similar to this:

Representation of a digital mood board inspired by women who love sports.
A mood board is a visual representation of your design concept.

Print-on-demand products you can start with

You’ve decided on a niche and got inspired to create a mood board for your designs, it’s time to place them in your products. Be careful, not all products support every design. This is why you need to choose the ones that do justice to your artwork, here are some suggestions: 


With different sizes to choose from, turn these white canvases into products no one can resist buying. Share your art with the world and let your customers have one of your digital illustrations by adding posters to your store. 

Shirts and sweatshirts

From tank tops to long-sleeve tees, classic t-shirts, and sweatshirts, these are a must in all Power Seller’s stores. Since the printing area can go from 10x12 inches to 14x16 inches, these apparel products are perfect for placing large, detailed designs. 


Who doesn’t love a hot drink on a mug with a cool design? Add your most clever quotes or the funniest artworks you’ve created, and take advantage of the vast printing space of our cups. 

A GIF showing the best-selling print-on-demand products on Fuel: shirts, sweatshirts, posters, and mugs.
Once you’ve designed your artworks, place them in your products to start selling.

💡Fuel Tip: Take advantage of seasonality and refresh products throughout the year. For example, add tank tops and hats for summer or hoodies and mugs for a wintery feel to your store. 

Remember to keep your buyer persona and mood board in mind during your entire design process to make sure your final products are exactly what your customers are looking for. Now you know the basics of design research and how to design a product, are you ready to get started?

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