Threadless was created in 2000 as a way for all the creative minds in the world to make great art. It’s great for graphic designers who are interested in creating designs — and earn passive income in the process. Since then, Threadless has expanded from t-shirts to many other products, while introducing many features along the way to help designers and artists earn recognition and money for their work.
For sites like Redbubble, you can simply upload your designs and start earning money. However, Threadless has a scoring system where users score designs from 1 to 5 and give comments. Only the best of the best are printed and sold every week. If any submission gets too low a score (usually below 1), it will be removed by Threadless, so you will really need to submit your best work. Competition is quite tough, with hundreds of quality designs being submitted every day.
On the other hand, the rewards are great if your submission does get selected by Threadless for print. You will earn up to $7 for every product sold and a $250 gift code. Threadless will also promote the design on the site, as well as social media. Furthermore, many people shop at Threadless since they focus a lot on quality — both for their designs and their products. Consequently, you’ll likely earn more per design on Threadless, compared to other sites such as Redbubble or Design by Humans.
If you’re in need of inspiration, Threadless has themed design challenges to get your creative juices flowing. You can always find a few challenges to participate in at any given time. The best part about these challenges is that you will receive a big cash prize if your submission is the winner.
As such, make sure that the designs you submit are of exceptional quality to increase your chances of getting selected for print. If you want to learn some helpful tips and tricks to getting a good score, be sure to check out the forums. In addition, Threadless has a challenge called ‘Design Critiques’, where you can get feedback for your submission from other designers and artists.
You will be able to participate in challenges and send in submissions after creating an account. Threadless requires a JPG image that is 1200 pixels wide x 1200 pixels tall. You can use the submission kit provided by Threadless, or create your own. If it’s the latter, be sure to check out the submissions from other designers and artists. Most of them has the main graphic, along with mockups showing how it would look like on a t-shirt.
To submit a design, go to Create and Submit A Design. Here, you can submit your design to either the open-ended design challenge, or the themed challenges.
After uploading your image and filling in some basic information, your design is ready for submission.
Once your design is submitted, Threadless will take a look and approve it for scoring within a few days. The scoring period is around ten days, during which you can check out the comments on your submission. Once it’s over, Threadless will tally the scores and show you the final score.
If your submission receives a good score and gets selected by Threadless, you’ll be required to submit the source files (if you’re working in vector) or hi-res images so they can use them for print.
In the past, you can’t do much else on Threadless if your submission doesn’t get selected. However, that has changed now that Threadless has introduced Artist Shops. It’s 100% free, and Threadless takes care of printing and inventory for you. In addition, you can fully control the profit margin for each product. In short, you get to make money each time a product is sold — without the time and hassle of having to ship it out.
You can sign up for Artist Shops with your Threadless account. Once done, you’ll gain access to the shop dashboard, where you can create a product, manage your products, and change how your shop settings.
When creating a product, your design has to be at least 2000 pixels wide x 2000 pixels tall, in either JPG or PNG format, and 300 pixels per inch. After the initial upload, you may upload additional files to customize the design by product. Wall Art requires the biggest files, at around 12000 pixels wide x 10000 pixels tall.
Threadless also provides you with a few selected layouts and fonts to customize your site’s appearance, although you’re free to set custom colors. All layouts are responsive, so your shop will look good on any device.
Artist Shops is perfect if you’re looking to build an apparel brand in the easiest way possible. At the same time, all the marketing is left entirely up to you. As such, you will need put in quite a lot of work in order to generate passive income from your shop. The rewards are well worth it — especially if you’re able to build up a sizable following for your designs.
It can be hard for your submissions to get selected for print, and Artist Shops require you to be good at marketing. However, Threadless is definitely a good choice for a graphic designer looking to make passive income — you put in the work and focus on creating quality designs.