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How I upload my designs on Spoonflower for success



How I upload my designs on Spoonflower for succes_Blog by SnehaColoursoft

Spoonflower is one of the biggest players in the US market for fabrics, home décor, and wallpapers. Many interior designers use this website to find designs for their projects, fabric companies for their sewing projects as well as creative individuals making wonderful DIY projects.


I started my Spoonflower shop in the year 2021, but since I hadn’t done much research about the platform, I couldn’t start selling right away!

Reason: Spoonflower doesn’t make designs available for sale unless you proof it.


And how to proof the designs?

One has to order the samples of the uploaded designs to check if the design, color, and scale are fine. And if the designs seem good to go for sale, it would appear in the shop.


Being from India, ordering samples was a costly affair. So the easier path was ‘Fill your Yard’ popularly known as FAY which had 42 squares. So each square can be filled with different designs, thus sampling the design. Though this was also costly, I could sample 42 designs at a time, rather than ordering a 5$ swatch.


To cut the story short, I could upload fewer designs, also whatever invested couldn’t be recovered as my designs were not top-selling designs. But in the year 2024, Spoonflower announced that the artist/ designer need not order a physical sample to make the design available for sale. Instead, they made a provision of digitally proofing the design. This was huge!


Many artists were happy some were not...


But for artists like me, who had invested so much and got just a few cents, this was a golden opportunity. The doors were open, it was time to up the game, and upload designs to get sales.



Finding success on Spoonflower can’t be described in a single adjective word unless it is on the extreme ends. It is ruled by so many factors, like are the designs trendy, whether the scale of that design is perfect for wallpaper, color combinations, design styles, how the artist is marketing the design based upon his/ her social media reach, how is Spoonflower promoting it and the list goes on.


I, still haven’t recovered the money I spent on ordering the FAY collection for physical proofing my designs and I do not get frequent sales. But Spoonflower has given me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and participate in the design challenges, given me a free resource to find out what sells best and why, trends, and meet new artists. 


So as I mentioned above, it is not only about recovering money invested, the platform gives you much more for which I am grateful to Spoonflower. Describing my journey on the Spoonflower in a single adjective for artists like me doesn’t do justice to the platform, (this is my personal opinion).


With this background, and all the YouTube videos, skillshare classes, and blogs I have referred to, I am sharing some tips and techniques of how I set my shop on Spoonflower for success.

Also please note: These are my observations and methods which are subject to change if I come across a useful tip.


First things first: Saving the file to upload on Spoonflower.

With many trials and changes, I concluded and now usually set my repeat tile at 3600 X 3600px at 300dpi. I usually design in full repeat using software like Photoshop, Procreate, or Illustrator, depending upon whatever will be best suited for the arrangements of the motifs. I save it in PNG/ Jpeg format. Earlier, I had not developed my SKU system, but since it is in place, I save the file as its SKU number, collection name if the design is part of any, description, and probable tags. This makes my uploading process very fast and I can upload many designs at a time. I learned this from my Society6 shop design uploading process. Society6’s uploader takes a lot of time and by the time I had adjusted the design to suit most of their products, I had less bandwidth to think of the description filled with keywords and 20 tags. So I realized that if I did this research before the uploading process, it would make my life simpler. Later, minor tweaking in the description and tags have to be done depending upon the colorway of the same design.



Photo courtesy : pexels-cottonbro

In this way, I can upload many designs, fill up the basic description and keywords, and then with a nice cup of coffee, can make the changes to make the design seen under different tags and categories.


The Scale of the Designs

Spoonflower usually recommends design at 150 dpi. But Carrie Cantwell’s Skillshare class, Spoonflower Success Secrets: Patterns for Print on Demand tells me that I can change the design scale in the uploader itself. This makes life easier as I can save the file as 300dpi and make the changes if needed in the uploader. 

Carrie Cantwell elaborates more on this topic and also advises checking the previews on the products, which is my favorite thing to do. Spoonflower has some amazing product showcases or in general terms, mockups that can be used for social media promotion also.


Watercolor Barn Owl Pattern | White Sheet Set by SnehaColoursoft

Putting it under collections

I usually design standalone patterns. So I simply put them under categories like animals, florals, botanicals, geometric, and so on. Sharing the collection link on my Pinterest, and Instagram stories then becomes easy.


Description and Additional Info

These two tabs are equally important to me as those 13 tags. The description slot limits words to 150 characters. So I try to use the best possible descriptive words here mostly stating whether the design is hand-painted or digitally drawn and what the design consists of.

 

But the additional information place is where I tell the buyer that they can contact me in case they need different scales, color variations, etc. Here I also describe the design in a more elaborate manner like the mood, where this design can be used, and sometimes also what inspired me to come up with this design. I am not sure how many buyers read the description but this gives me a chance to tell a little story behind the pattern creation. It also looks more human as there is an artist who is telling you his/ her perspective and also giving you suggestions as to where else this design can be used. Who knows, maybe the customer is looking for wallpaper and might find the same design suitable for pillows! 

The possibilities are endless…


My Sketchy Cheetahs | Black and White can be a subtle wallpaper or can be a part of minimal, cheetah inspired home decor

Keywords/ Tags

So many artists have created videos tutorials, and PDFs to share how to add tags to your design. Spoonflower, itself has blogs and tells the best practices to put the tags for the maximum visibility of the design. It also gives suggestions in the uploader itself to tag the design.


As I mentioned before, I usually do the brainstorming before uploading and listing down the probable tags for the design. This brainstorming and research is based upon the hints the uploader gives like the color, motif description, design type, design suitable for; kids, etc, theme and mood, and so on..

Mel Armstrong’s YouTube video, ‘Unlock the secrets of selling on Spoonflower: Discover my Top 3 Tips’ is a wonderful guide to adding tags. 


But this set is my primary data. After my entire uploading and proofing process is done, I do change the tags depending upon the colorways and the scale of the design.

Beyond this, I also watch myself if I want to search for my design here, and the kind of words I use. For eg: for my Butterfly Kaldiescope, I listed the tags but one important tag/s distinguished it from sea of designs: dense pattern, only butterflies and so I added them to the design.


Butterfly Kaleidoscope | Black and white pattern by SnehaColoursoft

Sometimes, while ticking the boxes, you may miss the obvious reason. So I do my basic work before uploading which saves a lot of my time and allows me to concentrate on the important task.


Proofing the design 

Spoonflower’s new digital proofing system is very easy to understand and after it is done, it asks you to tick mark the boxes of fabric or wallpaper or both suiting the design.


Participating in Spoonflower challenges

I have participated in many challenges and have won none. My designs are not even in the first hundreds. But I still participate. Apart from learning to understand the brief, my design comes in front of so many other artists and potential customers. Some favor the design, and some vote. Also as I said before, the winning design gives me a chance to understand what went well here which did not work for me. 


Spoonflower Blog

It is a treasure that speaks so much about insights, trends, collaborations, and much more…


Spoonflower Home Page

The designs their team chooses are also an inspiration for me, especially in understanding popular colors.


So much has been already written about this platform. I am adding my experience to this information pool. This platform has given me the freedom to create and experiment, change the style of designs, upload colorways and so much more. I am grateful to Spoonflower.


You can visit my Spoonflower shop here

 

About me: I am Sneha, your go-to watercolour artist for custom watercolour illustrations, pet portraits, bespoke patterns and much more. Just drop a mail or say hi to me on Instagram and we can discuss your next creative project

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