What Are Printables?

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Are you looking for a way to express your creative side and make money at the same time? If so, then printables could be what you are looking for. You might already be venting your creative side with designs for Print on Demand products.

Perhaps you are ready to further extend your little online business to include printables. Let’s see what the difference is so you can decide.

How Do Printables Differ from Print on Demand?

Both provide a great vehicle for expressing your creativity.

Both can provide a way to make some additional money.

Neither require handling of inventory which means you can concentrate more on creating designs.

But let’s look more closely at how each business model works.

The Print on Demand Model

With this creative model, you sign up with a company that takes care of product manufacturing and shipping. You create a graphic design or slogan and then load it on your choice of merchandise.

The company handles all customer queries and possible returns or changes. This is a very relaxing concept in which the artist, possibly you, gets to concentrate on the design side of things.

Merchandise can be anything from t-shirts to coffee mugs and hoodies, just to mention a few, even books. With most POD companies there is a huge number of different product categories from which you can choose for your designs.

This t-shirt is just one of many product categories:

As the name suggests, nothing is printed and manufactured until a customer has placed an order. Everything is Print on Demand (POD).

There are many POD companies. The ones that I have an account with include Zazzle and Merch by Amazon.

As an artist or designer you use your software of choice to create a digital graphic or slogan. I use Adobe Photoshop (affiliate link) myself but there are many choices such as Canva or the free GIMP designing software.

Photographers can also upload their work for printing on t-shirts and giftware.

The Printables Model

So how do printables differ from the print-on-demand business concept.

For starters, the customer buys a downloadable file and prints it on his/her own printer.

The file could be anything that is printable once downloaded. And of course to attract a sale the printable would need to be something that the customer finds useful, something that makes life easier in some way. For example, it could be:

  • Meal Planners
  • Fancy calendars
  • Daily planners
  • Budget planners
  • Puzzles
  • Financial planning sheets
  • etc.

This is an easy, fast and economical way to create artistic planners and other useful downloadable sheets. For the customer, printables provide a cheap way to access useful sheets that make daily tasks easier in some way.

Again, just like print-on-demand, the designer is spared the hassle of needing an inventory.

I guess one notable advantage of printables would be instant gratification. The customer sees what he/she likes, makes a purchase and instantly gets to download the chosen file.

Are Printables Easy Money?

Of course, there is nothing to stop you from selling some designs both as a printable as well as a POD item if they suit.

For example you could design a calendar or a series of stickers or some meal planners. These could be loaded and printed on demand by a POD company or they could be offered as a downloadable file for the customer to print at home.

This particular family meal planner is manufactured by Zazzle as a board that can be written on and erased. If, instead, you created a printable, the customer would end up with a paper-based version.

Similarly, if you designed a checklist, you could either have a POD company produce it with your design, such as an erasable board for example or you could convert it into a file to be downloaded and printed on paper.

The end product itself would be different, both with respect to materials, size and price, but in each case the customer would receive a very functional tool.

Create an Etsy Printable Business:
Learn How to Make & Sell Printable Products on Etsy!

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