Have you ever been so passionate about something that it starts to seep out into all aspects of your life? This has been my experience with art and design over the past few years. I have always found myself using painting, drawing, and collage as forms of self-expression; these were ways of taking personal experiences, feelings, and thoughts and communicating them to the world around me. The process of exploration through color, line, and shape has always served as a creative outlet and has escalated into my passion.
During my senior year of high school, I joined the lead layout team for our literary arts magazine which introduced me to Adobe Photoshop and InDesign (lately I have also begun working in Illustrator). I began to notice that my knowledge and love for the visual arts started to influence organizations I was involved in, topics I chose for class papers, and what I spent my free time doing. Since my senior year (I am now a sophomore at Wake Forest University) I have not only decided to be a studio art major, but I have become involved in the WakerSpace — a creative space on campus — and help do graphic design for multiple social media accounts. I continued to play around on different Adobe platforms and in a time where everything is so customizable, I wanted to find a way to have my designs on different products for my friends and me to enjoy. Redbubble seemed like the perfect opportunity!
Since starting my Redbubble store a few months ago, I have learned some key tips for being successful. Do not get me wrong, there are varying definitions of success in the design business, but as a college student just looking for another way to be creative and share her love for design with her friends and family, I have to consider myself successful because I am accomplishing my own personal goals. Here are some tips, recommendations, tidbits of wisdom, my two cents from having my own Redbubble store!
- Stay up to date on what is trending
Staying up to date on what is trending is SO important. This depends on who your audience is, however. Are you making designs for your friends? Family? The general public? A mix of all of these? Either way, it is crucial to create designs geared towards the interests of your audience. Personally, I aim for a mix. I find platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, and even the Explore page on Redbubble to be extremely helpful in letting me know what is trending globally to get a general idea (I like to say this keeps me ~hip~). I am also always asking friends and family what they would love to see on my page for purchase.
- Strive for a variety of designs
By providing a variety of designs you reach a wider range of interests, styles, and aesthetics. Having a variety can mean offering one design in multiple colors, offering designs of different themes (ie. travel, animals, quotes, etc.), or designs created on different platforms (I personally use Adobe Creative Cloud and scan in my own artwork: paintings, drawings, photographs, collages, etc.). To this point, the more designs you offer the better, but keep in mind the importance of curating a portfolio of good quality work.
- Take advantage of managing your portfolio
To my point of curating a good portfolio, it is important to make sure you are proud of every design you publish. They do not have to be professional designs or Picasso-esc, but they should be things that are relevant and you work hard on. Your passion comes across in your work, trust me. With your Redbubble account, you can click on a page entitled “Manage Portfolio.” Here, you can make designs public or private, download photos to promote your artwork, and create “collections” which can sort your work into folders for a more streamlined shopping experience. I have found this portion of the process crucial because you can continually be making designs visible to everyone or only you to gauge what your site looks like. By reading how your audience responds to your work, you can create a well-curated site of artwork you are proud of.
- Make designs that you would want to purchase
This might be the most important of all of my tips simply for the fact that your artwork should be reflective of you and you should not only be proud of it, but be excited by it. If you make designs you love, then you will be motivated to continue to design and release more work.
- Promote your work and have fun! (cliché, I know)
My final tip is to promote your work and be confident about it. Take advantage of social media such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook to reach more people and to let your friends and family know about this super cool thing you have created! Under the “Manage Portfolio” tab you can download photos of your work on various products that offer that design and this allows your audience to see what it would look like when they receive their order in the mail. Hopefully, these tips were helpful, and what is most important is that you have fun and continue learning with each design. YouTube has so many tutorials, Pinterest is great for inspiration, and friends are always a great support system. Go create :)
My Redbubble account: Eeg29
* images courtesy of Emma Martin via Redbubble (https://www.redbubble.com/people/Eeg29/shop)