Chinese New Year 2017 Art

Inspiration of the Day: Chinese New Year 2017

Chinese New Year 2017 Art

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! The Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is underway! These festivities will last through February 15, 2018.

Many designers, we found, were inspired by this joyful holiday. So today, we’re sharing some of their work. Enjoy! For more information on each artist, make sure to click on the image.

| Cover image art: year of the Rooster: Francesco Faggiano |

2017 - Year of the Rooster by Francesco Faggiano
2017 – Year of the Rooster by Francesco Faggiano
Happy Chinese New Year - Rooster by Antonius Setiadi K
Happy Chinese New Year – Rooster
by Antonius Setiadi K
Happy New Year 2017 by Mei Mo
Happy New Year 2017 by Mei Mo
Happy Chinese New Year! by Folio Illustration Agency
Happy Chinese New Year!
by Folio Illustration Agency
Year of the Rooster by Winson Chao
Year of the Rooster by Winson Chao
Happy Chinese/Lunar New Year by IDEO
Happy Chinese/Lunar New Year
by IDEO
Year of the Rooster by W. Illus
Year of the Rooster by W. Illus
Year of the Rooster by Jessica Ciccolone
Year of the Rooster
by Jessica Ciccolone
Happy Chinese New Year! by Thom Hill
Happy Chinese New Year!
by Thom Hill
Chinese New Year 2017: The Year of the Rooster by Andy Hau
Chinese New Year 2017: The Year of the Rooster
by Andy Hau
雞年 Rooster Year 2017 by John Mao
雞年 Rooster Year 2017 by John Mao
Happy Rooster Year! by Jenn Liv
Happy Rooster Year!
by Jenn Liv
Lunar New Year 2017 by spacescass
Lunar New Year 2017
by spacescass
Year of the Rooster by Claire O'Brien
Year of the Rooster by Claire O’Brien
Year of Rooster - by Cincin by Tommy.L
Year of Rooster – by Cincin
by Tommy.L
Year of the Rooster by Kay Wolfersperger
Year of the Rooster
by Kay Wolfersperger
Chinese New Year 2017 by Andrew Diec
Chinese New Year 2017 by Andrew Diec
Year Of The Rooster by Mauro Gatti
Year Of The Rooster by Mauro Gatti
Chinese New Year card 2017 Year Of The Rooster by Lemongraphic
Chinese New Year card 2017 Year Of The Rooster
by Lemongraphic
Fire Rooster by Wren Sauer
Fire Rooster
by Wren Sauer
Roost by Oddds
Roost
by Oddds
Lunar New Year by Lorraine Nam
Lunar New Year by Lorraine Nam
How to Close a Sale Graphic Design

The Eccentric’s Guide to Design Sales – Train To Be A “Closing Pitcher”: 3 Useful Tips

Yeah yeah yeah, you’ve heard the old cliche a million times – “ABC – ALWAYS BE CLOSING!” If only it were that simple. True, when selling your design services, you want to maintain a clear objective, and follow every deal to its proper conclusion, but not at the expense of honest-to-goodness interpersonal relationships. Take time to stop and smell the roses, together. But always be conscious of other people’s time. And when it’s all said and done, heck, you might even want to send your clients a dozen roses.

On that note, maybe the old adage should be updated to better suit the times: “ABC – Always Be Courting.” Hmm. Now there’s a novel idea. Court your clients. Show them some love. Hear what they have to say. Get to know their goals, aspirations, and concerns. Let them feel like you’re taking care of them, and get them to home plate, safe and sound. We know, we know, it sounds a bit kinky, and we’re certainly mixing our metaphors here a bit. But, bottom line is, you’re not going to succeed at either of these approaches unless you train yourself to be a closing pitcher. And your objective as a closing pitcher is not to strike ‘em out, but to ensure that all parties involved are swinging for the fences, and heading for home! OK. Now we’re double [maybe even triple] mixing our metaphors here. Just bare with us.

Here are 3 useful training tips for you on how to be a closing pitcher in design sales, courtesy of Go Media, your Cleveland Design Service experts.

    1. The Wind Up – Have a clear objective going into any negotiation. Keep the tone of the meetings brisk and the preliminaries brief, but don’t rush it. Keep your story fresh, and avoid using the same anecdotes every time. Don’t bring hooch to a baby shower as it were, or caviar to a Super Bowl party. Adjust your pitch to suit the situation. Every client is a little different. This doesn’t even require that you memorize your own schtick. On the contrary. You don’t want to be too scripted. But you certainly don’t want to sound one dimensional either. Clients can pick up on tired, worn out yarns. It’s more about paying attention to where the conversation is going, following your own lead, looking for signs & shifts in the conversation and making it work. Always leave a little room to shoot (or Pitch) from the hip.
    2. The Pitch – OK. Now everybody’s settled in and it’s time to get down to brass tacks. Wind it up and let ‘er rip, slingshot! Have your value proposition buttoned down, and simply articulate how you intend to deliver. Introduce a level of collaboration to the proceedings too, but not to the detriment of closing the deal. It’s important to give your clients the impression that you’re in the driver’s seat, and they can just enjoy the ride if they so choose. Somebody has to drive. Might as well be you.
    3. The Wrap Up – Okay. Party’s over, and all signs point to a decision. This is not a pressure tactic. This is reality. Time is tight, at a premium, and very precious in any negotiation. So get to the point. If the meeting ends with an “I’ll get back to you”, there’s a 50/50 chance you’re sunk. The narrative should always be pointing toward the finish line, home plate. Be the narrator. Take the lead. Any good closing pitcher worth his or her salt intuitively understands this. Avoid loose ends during the wrap-up, and minimize the number of unanswered questions before everyone hits the showers. Don’t let the deal hang out there like an unsolved riddle, and don’t encourage your clients to take the time to think it over. One common way closing pitchers succumb to this pitfall is by giving their clients too much wiggle room and too much homework at the end of a meeting. This is just an invitation to stall.

People want to feel like you’re taking care of them. They want to hire you to handle the heavy lifting. If you depend on your clients for too much additional information, you’re just encouraging them to drag their heels. This is not to suggest that you should be pushy, no. Simply keep your eyes on the ball, steer things home as much as you possibly can, and remain conscious of other people’s time.

Give your clients the tools they need to seize the day, swing for the fences, and make a commitment. Deliver the right pitch, custom made for their business, for everyone’s sake. Good Luck!

Watercolor Vector Freebie

Download of the Day: Abstract Watercolor Circle Vectors

Free Abstract Watercolor Vector Freebie

Join us every Thursday, when your friends here at the Arsenal take over the Go Media blog to share insights, tips, freebies or other fun to brighten your work day.

Today we’re releasing abstract watercolor circle vector freebies for your use in any personal project. This includes three abstract watercolor vectors as seen below. Enjoy!

Love our products? Access our huge product library ($11k in resources) and exclusive content for only $15/mth. Yes, seriously. Learn more now.

Download it now:  http://tinyurl.com/hdcfbro

Watercolor Vector Freebie

If you are looking for more watercolor elements, you may enjoy our:

Where Can I Learn Graphic Design? – A Newbie’s Guide

Where Can I Learn Graphic Design?

Are you new to the world of graphic design and wondering where you can find resources to further your knowledge on the subject? You’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re sharing some of our favorite online resources with you. Some of them are free, others require payment. We hope you find them helpful as you begin to develop your career as a kick-ass graphic designer. We believe in you!

Learning graphic design online

What this will entail: this will include one-of-a-kind artwork – including business stationery, brochures, packaging, illustration, infographics, typography, posters, prints, t-shirt design and more. Skills needed: Adobe Creative Suite, illustration, communication skills, understanding of printing practices, business prowess. How? Learn the technical skills through online sites. Have the opportunity and funds to learn in a classroom setting? We highly recommend it! But you can learn a wealth of information on the web. Here are some places we recommend checking out:

Read Blog Posts:

Watch Documentaries / Movies / TED Talks:

Design is One: A movie about Lella and Massimo Vignelli, the famed couple who brought us their New York subway map and other numerous graphic design projects.

Helvetica – a feature length independent film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture

Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight – Glances into the everyday moments of Milton Glaser, the brain behind the iconic I <3 NY logo and New York Magazine.

Sign Painters – Sign Painters explores the history of the time-honored craft of sign painting.

Start Learning Online:

Adobe – Where better to learn Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator?

Go Media’s Arsenal – We can’t go without mentioning our tutorials! Do not miss our best-selling series on Adobe Illustrator, including Adobe Illustrator 101 a Tutorial for BeginnersAdobe Illustrator 102: Illustration Using Vector Art, and Adobe Illustrator 103: Texturinzing Vector Illustrations, Modifying Type, T-Shirt Design

Creative Live – Creative classes, inspiration, and tips in photo and video, art and design, and more. Classes priced individually.

Skillshare  – “Bite-sized” classes in not only design but business, technology, photography, film, writing, crafts and more. Classes are $12 billed monthly or $8/mth billed annually.

Lynda  – Courses in business, technology, and creative skills taught by experts. Free trial available. Starting at $19.99/mth.

Udemy – Course in development, business, IT and software, personal development, design and more! Check out the platform’s biggest and most popular PS course by Manfred Werner.

Phlearn – Aaron Nace’s site is a lively and engaging place to learn about all things design. Check out his free tutorials or head directly to his YouTube channel.

Proko – Beef up your illustration skills over at Proko’s YouTube channel.

Ledet – Offers 2 to 5 day hand-on Adobe training classes (in person). Watch and enroll for them here on their site.

The Illustration Academy – intense, immersive illustration experiences. Online workshops available.

Skillcrush – Becoming a better designer means learning to communicate with your colleagues. Hit up Skillcrush’s 10-day bootcamp and become better friends with your developer. If you like the course, you can further explore the world of web design throughout Skillcrush and on sites like Code School.

Online Courses Review – Lists some great online resources

100 Best Photoshop Tutorials (from Basic to Advanced) – by our friends at PSD Stack

eBooks, Books and online resources on design and business:

How to Draw the Marvel Way by Stan Lee
The Elements of Graphic Design by Alex White
Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team by Alina Wheeler
Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton
Logo Lounge by Catherine Fishel and Bill Gardner
Type Matters by Jim Williams and Ben Casey
Drawn to Business by William Beachy
Thread’s Not Dead by Jeff Finley
Graphic Designer’s Pricing Toolkit by Go Media
Making and Breaking the Grid: A Graphic Design Layout Workshop by Timothy Samara
Above the Fold: Understanding the Principles of Successful Web Site Design by Brian Miller
Logotypes and Letterforms: Handlettered Logotypes and Typographic Considerations by Doyald Young
What to Do When It’s Your Turn (and It’s Always Your Turn) by Seth Godin
All Marketers are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works — 
And Why Authenticity is the Best Marketing of All by Seth Godin
Package Design Workbook: The Art and Sciences of Successful Packaging by Steven DuPuis and John Silva
Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port
Authority Ebook by Nathan Barry
Trust Agents by Chris Brogan
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink
How Pleasure Works by Paul Bloom
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Design Currency by Jenn and Ken Visocky O’Grady
The Voice of Knowledge by Don Miguel Ruiz
Getting Things Done by David Allen
The Art of Non Conformity by Chris Guillibeau
Mindfulness in Plain English by Gunaratana Bhante Henepola
Rework by Jason Fried
Brains on Fire by Robin Phillips, Greg Cordell, Geno Church and Spike Jones
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul by Adrian Shaughnessy
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Built to Sell by John Warrillow
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Hiring the Best by Martin Yate
SEO Quickstart Guide by Go Media
96 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire by Paul Falcone
The Talent of Edge by David S. Cohen
Accounting Made Simple by Mike Piper
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
The Advertising Effect: How to Change Behavior by Adam Ferrier
Decoding the New Customer Mind: How and Why We Shop and Buy by Kit Yarrow
Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing and Advertising by Ryan Holiday
Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson

What resources have you found helpful in your journey to becoming a graphic designer? Please share with us in the comments section below!

Advice on Starting Your Own Design Company

The Biggest Surprise When Starting My Design Business

Today, we’re talking with some of our friends about the surprises they have faced owning their own company. We hope you’ll weigh in down in the comments section below.

What surprised you most about starting your own design company / freelance business?

“I think the biggest was surprise when starting out my own graphic design business was that the phone wasn’t ringing on its own. I had wrongfully assumed that just because I had all of this cool personal work (or at least what I thought was cool a decade ago) that people would be knocking down my door to work with me. That wasn’t the case at all though, I had to cold call and email businesses and people I had never met and ask to work for them in way I could to get my foot in the door and get real world experience. I had to learn that what was cool to me wasn’t necessarily what was cool to everyone else, and could be entirely different than what actually paid the bills. I feel like a lot of young designers don’t understand that design is not always (and in some cases rarely is) a synonym for “artist”, that alone could be a quite a shock.” – Jason Carne, Lettering Artist and Graphic Designer

 —

“The importance of being massively different.
Before I started RetroSupply Co. I worked for a little business in Portland, Oregon called Paid to Exist. I worked closely with the owner. And one of the biggest lessons I learned was that you have to amplify what makes you different to rise above the noise.  So find the stuff you love about your discipline. Then amplify it. Be unapologetically weird. You won’t be the right fit for everyone. But you’ll gain the loyalty of a group of clients that love you.” – Dustin Lee, Designer and Creator of Retro Supply Co.

Retro Supply Co.

Advice on Starting Your Own Design Company
Lunchbox Love by Lenny Terenzi

“Approaching this from someone who worked from home for many years then transitioned to a large studio space I think I unprepared for what that would bring. Even though I am essentially still a one-man shop that amount of tasks that I have to do to stay on top of things has increased ten-fold. I just didn’t expect that and it took me awhile to adjust to that. Bringing in some tools to help automate tasks (like social media, financial etc.) has started to ease the burden.”  – Lenny Terenzi, Owner, Hey Monkey! Design and Print Graphic Design, Branding, Illustration and Screenprinting Studio

 —

“I was surprised at how much pre-gaming design requires before garnering work: setting up accounts, creating paperwork for billing, proposals, cold emails, and research for marketing, etc. I was told to expect a loss for the first four months depending on experience and notoriety. I had none of both, so I worked at a loss for eight and almost gave up. I hated the responsibility falling entirely on me, spending hours trying to meticulously craft an email while tracking follow ups. My workspace was so unglamorous – I got my start working on top of a trashcan next to my desk – and I felt constantly uninspired.

However, I studied every interaction and made slight adjustments, whether to the hour of publishing work, language in emails, tweaks on fine print in contracts. Eventually my feedback became fruitful, and I saw better engagement on posts. I saw business as a puzzle, one that could propel me to a career, and did my best to solve it.” – Danielle Evans, Lettering Artist, Designer, Stop Motion Animator, Illustrator, Creator of Food Typography and Dimensional Typography, Creator of Marmalade Bleue

 —

“I started my business right out of college after freelancing nights for about 6 or 7 years. The thing that really knocked me on my ass about operating a full time studio was how much discipline I realized I needed to get things done. Working part time was easy. I knew I had a set amount of hours to get a few things done and my life didn’t really hinge on it. Once everything relied on paying bills and growing the business, it felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I knew that I really had to hustle, show the world I was getting better at my craft with each project, and that I was a capable of truly understanding how the market worked. I needed to prove that my work was actually worth paying for and that it was an asset to have for someone who wanted to grow their business with a smart identity. It all seems so obvious, but when I was first starting, I just assumed things were going to naturally work out. I didn’t realize how much work it actually took to make a full time design studio viable as a career business.” – Jon Contino, Creative Director, Founder / Creative Director of both Contino Brand and CXXVI Clothing Companies

Advice on Starting Your Own Design Company
Vosay Web Development Project by Go Media

“I was surprised to realize how challenging this question was for me to answer. I think it is because I had already been in business long before I started my design firm. My first foray into real “business”, was when I was 17. I grew up in the college town of Kent, Ohio and had friends attending the University before I was done with high school. The guys I grew up with were almost all musicians. When a friend of mine began tending bar at a place called the Europe Gyro, he encouraged me to host a club night. He put a good word in with the owner and invited me to come meet him. I was a minor going to pitch a college bar on hosting a dance night. I nervously told him what we’d like to do, what we would provide and how we’d charge at the door. He agreed to give it a shot, on the spot. We settled up with a handshake. In many ways, the rest is history. I guess the most surprising thing about opening my business was that, in many ways, there would be countless more handshakes to “give it a shot”. At the end of the day, so many people in business will look past your age and experience and be willing to give you a shot if you’re offering something they might want. Of course, you’ll face rejection too. That old sports adage, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”, applies here. Take the shot. You may be surprised how many times you’ll end up scoring.” – Wilson Revehl, VP, Web Developer at Go Media

Work by Just Curious

“What surprised me the most when starting my own design business was the variety in the work. I went to school, got my degree, worked in a print shop, and when I decided to go out on my own, the job inquiries that I received were nothing like what I had learned about or dealt with before. But even though it’s the most surprising part of it, it’s my favorite part. The variety in work means I’m always learning from my clients and learning how to adapt better to new situations. There is always room to grow in this industry, but I never realized how much room there was. It’s amazing.” – Brittany Barnhart, Owner, Just Curious LLC | Illustration and Design

“The thing that surprised me the most when I started my freelance business was how necessary setting a schedule and sticking to it was—at least for me. I always dreamed of having the freedom and flexibility to work whenever I wanted, but once I got a taste of that freedom it was enough for me to realize how detrimental it can be for my productivity. That’s not to say that I don’t love being able to work from anywhere and that it’s wonderful to have the flexibility to take a random weekday off, but sticking to a set schedule 90% of the time (or more) has been the key for me to staying productive and also locking down a good work-life balance.” – Shannon Blaz, Web Designer and Developer, Owner of Blaz Design

“Honestly, I think the answer for me, back in 2004 when I went full-time, was, ‘Holy sh*t, I can’t believe this worked out so easily!”

But for something more fit to print, I just recall spending about three months stressing out, looking for clients and then when that wasn’t working, looking for jobs again. I think I gave it two weeks, the looking for clients part, before panicking and going back to looking for an employer. I had a few small gigs rolling in, but by the end of the three months, I had job after job flowing in…it took a ton of work at first, like, 60 – 80 hour weeks, but once I had my website built, my brand out there, and had given some of those initial clients enough time to get back to me, well, it was like magic!

There was less real competition in Pittsburgh back then, though. The big agencies I was competing with then, most of them don’t even exist today. So, I think I got in during a sweet period of the death of the old but before these new whippersnappers could get together.

After that initial shock of downs and straight up, though, the biggest thing I fell in love with was the location independence. After about two years of freelancing from Pittsburgh’s coffee shops, I bought a van and hit the road, traveling full-time ever since. To me, that’s the best part about being a designer.” – Nathan Swartz, Web Designer, Owner ClickNathan

Your turn! What surprised you most when opening your own design firm or freelance business? Share with us in the comments section below!

Chrome Extensions We’re Addicted To Lately

Here at Go Media, we’re all running on Google Chrome and rely on lots of extensions to make our days a lot more productive (and fun). Here are some of our favorites. Have any to share with us? Please do in the comments section below!

Best Chrome Extensions 2017

Awesome Screenshot – screen capture for all or part of any web page. Add annotations, comments, blur sensative info, and share with one-click uploads.

Clear Cache – Clear your cashe and browsing data with a single click of a button.

Colorzilla – Advanced eyedropper, color picker, gradient generator and other colorful goodies

DO IT! Add Shia LeBeouf on web pages! He delivers the most intense motivational speech of all-time.

Drag: Transforms your Gmail into organized task lists

Untitled-11

Eye Dropper – an open source extension which allows you to pick colors from web pages, color picker and your personal color history

Google Keep – Easily save the things you care about to Keep and have them synced across the platforms you use.

Best Chrome Extensions 2017

Hootlet – Post to multiple social networks with one click, saving time and extending your reach.

Jot – Quick note taking extension to replace the new tab page.

Best Chrome Extensions 2017

Muzli 2 – Stay Inspired – the freshest links about design and interactive, from around the web. A designer’s must!

Page Analytics (by Google) – The Page Analytics Chrome Extension allows you to see how customers interact with your web pages.

Panel View for Google Keep – This extension serves as a shortcut to keep.google.com, but also much more.

Untitled-9

Rather Nice – Receive a wonderful compliment, each and every time you open a new tab in Chrome

Sortd Smart Skin for Gmail – Effortlessly organize emails and tasks in a simple Gmail workspace

Tracking Time – enhance your preferred web project manager with the time tracker button, track working times and get automatic timesheets

Tupacsum – a lorem ipsum generator for the web designer that keeps it real

font

WhatFont – the easiest way to identify fonts on web pages

Window Resizer – resize browser window to emulate various screen resolutions

WiseStamp – Email Signatures for Gmail

…how about you?

How to Create a Rainbow Effect in Photoshop

How to Create a Rainbow Effect in Photoshop (Freebie Included)

How to Create a Rainbow Effect in Photoshop

Hello Everybody!

It’s 2017 and this year, I don’t know about you, but I’m resolving to settle into my skin more than ever. This means saying “yes” to life more often, saying “no” when I’m really not feeling it and letting my true self come forward, even when I feel like I don’t fit in. I’m going to be myself fully. Unless I have the opportunity to be a unicorn. Then, I’m going to do that.

I’m really excited to announce that we’ve just released a very special texture pack called Glow. It gives you the opportunity to add very special rainbow effects to photos and designs, primarily colorful light leak and vintage effects that will breathe new life into or enhance what is already pretty darn cool. We’re providing you with 45 effects that we handcrafted here in house. We know you’ll love them.

Buy GLOW

Curious to know how we created these ombre effects?

Well today is your lucky today, because we are going to create a special one just for this mini-tutorial. You can download it here >> Magical Rainbow Overlay

Now, onto how we made it.

STEP ONE:  Start a new document with a transparent background, sized 4235 x 2927. Select your color picker and choose your first color. Since we’re making a rainbow effect for this tutorial, we’re going to select a red tone #b62528. Using a large brush, simply paint your canvas to your liking. Try something a little different than ours! Don’t worry too much about perfection here.

Untitled-3

STEP TWO:  Next, head to FILTER > BLUR > GAUSSIAN BLUR. Choose a radius of 250 pixels. Press OK.

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STEP THREE: Shift + Ctrl + N to create a new layer. Drag this layer beneath your first layer. Use your color picker and select for our next layer (orange). Paint with the orange, then repeat the blurring process found in step two. You’ll want to make sure that you paint some orange beneath the red so that they overlap a bit.

Untitled-4

STEP FOUR: Repeat this entire process with yellow (#FFFF00), green (#008000), blue (#0000FF), indigo (#4b0082) and whichever colors that tickle your fancy, remembering to use a new layer for each color. (New layers should be added beneath older layers.)

Untitled-5

STEP FOUR: Select all of our layers, then right click on your mouse > Select > Merge Layers. If you plan on using this as a background in addition to an overlay, I would suggest adding a solid color background to your image as I’ve done below. (Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color)

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To finish up, merge those layers together and name your file.

STEP FIVE: Next, File > Place your image into your document. Drag your image beneath your overlay.

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STEP SIX: Now comes the fun part! Choose Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options (or the drop-down shortcut in your layers panel) and play with the options to get the effect you’re after. To get this effect, I chose  the Color Burn blending mode. You can also stack the textures atop one another to really get a unique look. Have fun with it!

unicorn-2

Buy GLOW

How to Launch an Online T-Shirt Business

Keys to Launching an Online T-Shirt Business

How to Launch an Online T-Shirt Business

Here at Go Media, we receive many fantastic emails from fans and friends who are creating their own online clothing businesses. They write with many questions for us – everything from how to get started through how to launch with a bang. We thought we’d take this opportunity to address some of these great questions and give some advice to the best of our ability. Ready? Let’s get started!

Brand, brand, brand.

To have a successful business, you need to build a strong brand. You need to come to understand what you offer that is unlike any other apparel line, who your target customer is and what makes you stand above others. Keep in mind that there are millions of apparel lines out there. Until you have a compelling story line, you’ll be on a road going straight to nowheresville.

Once you have gotten real with yourself, identified your brand and developed your vision, you can begin to create the assets needed for your business, including your mark, logotype, truly unique apparel, ad material, etc.

Pick your pleasure.

Do some research and choose a site (or multiple sites) where you’ll post and sell your designs. Sites like Teespring, Fabrily (Teespring Europe)FreshMonk, Gooten, GearBubble, Teechip and Teezily are ready-to-use platforms that will help you launch your own web-to-print ecommerce business.

Teespring

Prefer to run your own store? Try to create your own eCommerce website through sites like Shopify, Wix, Squaespace or Weebly. Fulfill orders through a trusted printer (like Jakprints) or fulfillment sites like Printful.

Another option is to work with marketplaces such as Big Cartel, EtsyRedBubble, Amazon, Cafe PressSociety6 and Zazzle. The benefit of this is that the marketplaces have not only tools set in place to get you going in a jiffy, but pre-existing customers who are ready and waiting to take a look at (and hopefully purchase) your work.

You can also try submitting a design to a site like Cotton Bureau, but understand that the acceptance of rejection of your design is solely at the discretion of the site.

Email Marketing Platform MailChimp

Set up all of the accounts.

Stake your claim on all of the social media accounts associated with your new brand. Yep, a Facebook page and Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat accounts, a blog – you name it. You will need these to advertise all of your awesome designs and connect with your ever-growing community, so set them up now and get to work on them when the time is right. Depending on which platform you use, you will also want to set up a Mailchimp account. This will be vital in collecting information from and keeping in contact with customers. Email marketing, after all, is free and one of the best, most targeted ways of marketing available.

In order to keep your finances in order, you may need to get set up with accounts such as Stripe, Square or Paypal.

Nail your photography and copywriting.

Should you need to take your own product photography, make sure it’s on point. Do your research on where it’s being sold, as many retailers will ask for your product to be shot on a plain background. Make sure that you shoot all sides of your product (front, back, various angles and close up shots as needed), so that your customer gets a real life, intimate view of it. Not a professional photographer? iPhones work miracles these days, especially when partnered with time and care.

Template_HeroIMG_Arsenal_Mockups-Pullover-Hoodie

Better yet, use pre-existing professional, high resolution mockup templates from the ArsenalMockup Everything or Shirt Mockup, to ensure that your customers are seeing your designs displayed on the best of the best.

When writing product descriptions, know your stuff. Order the apparel you’ll be selling and give it a test run. How does it feel in the real world? Is it true to size? Does it shrink after washing? What does your design look like on a classic tee versus a tri-blend tee? Do they fade differently? Is it truly something you’d want to wear?  If not, start from scratch until you find the perfect t-shirt. You know, the one just like your favorite tee you can’t help to wear over and over again.

You’ll need to test your product on family and friends of all sizes and shapes, so this is a great opportunity to get some modelshot photos in. We suggest taking these photos on both white backgrounds and out in the real world.

Do your research! This will take time, but will pay off in dividends.

Once you’ve nailed the best product and understand how it feels, you’ll really need to sell it in your product description. Read other product descriptions until you’re blue in the face. What do they include that appeals to your senses? Include not only a detailed description of your product, but what makes it unique, how it will benefit the user and how it will improve their life. American Giant is doing a fantastic job of this with their “World’s Best Hoodie” campaign. Consider using testimonials here as well.

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Ship it out, keep in contact.

If you’re responsible for shipping out your own product, do so without hesitation. We suggest using a scale and label printer from stamps.com, where you can also print labels. This makes things incredibly simple and allows for the shipment of product immediately. Should you have any difficulty with fulfilling a product or need to delay shipment for any reason, get in contact with your customer immediately and be honest. Customer service is key.

While we’re on the topic of shipping, consider adding your own personal touch when your product is on its way out of the door. Write a personal thank you note to your customer and stop and take the time to make your packaging something to remember.

Get your work out there.

While you’re getting up and running, get your gear out in the real world. Share samples with friends and hit the streets with your designs by participating in flea markets, art shows and other community events where you can sell your merch. Getting your name out will start the momentum you need and can give you some immediate feedback as well.

Be relentless.

Starting any new venture takes tenacity. Instant success isn’t guaranteed. You may fall more times than you’ll step forward. The more you count your failures as learning moments, the more you keep pushing towards your goal, the greater the chance you’ll become known. So keep narrowing in on who you are, what unique gifts you can bring your audience and put your best foot forward always. We believe in you!