I find during my live classes that many crafters and artists do not know what all can be created in Adobe Illustrator that can be sold digitally, especially if they’re new to the graphic design industry. I find that many of my students end up designing several things, not just SVG designs, after I teach them the basics to Adobe Illustrator….and for good reason! Learning Adobe Illustrator opened up a whole new world of design for me. Instead of using pre-made designs that I bought from Vectezy or Creative Market, I could now create my own! And its the same for my students. They are not limited to what graphics they can find online anymore. They think up a design in their mind and can design it themselves completely from scratch….its A-MAZING. SO my students venture out to new areas apart from the SVG design that I teach them and I think it is great!
I have been working in the online designer realm for about 12 years now so I have seen shifts throughout the years in design demands. This is something I have always naturally paid attention to since its always been my passion. So for my students and for each of you who are interested in design commerce (selling digital designs online), lets go over some designs that 1) can be created in Adobe Illustrator and 2) can be sold online today. Creating designs once and selling them over and over again while I sleep has completely changed my life and my family’s life and is so so SO fun. I call it “digital crafting” :). I hope this article will give you lots of ideas of what you can create and sell on Etsy or on whatever platform you’re on.
**Note: these are the top digital design sale items I have seen on Etsy...just so you’re aware. ;-)**
Digital Art Trends
I feel this article is also important because of the digital art trend we are seeing today. Millennials are entering the mix. They are putting a cork in things and have been for a while now. (Love you millenials..no offense!) The major change we are seeing due to these millennials is the customization demand. They don’t want to go out to the store and buy what they see. They don’t want to be tied down with options. They want what they want, and they want it now so making items themselves or having the option to spend $2 on a design they can put on their $5 shirt from Walmart and add some custom wording of their own really appeals to them! For one it's cheaper and second they are able to customize it to their liking. The same goes for announcements and several others I mention below.
Statistics are showing a huge increase in digital design sales over the next 10 years….and this is why! Plus we are seeing the top shops on Etsy, many of which are digital! So jumping on board with one of the below right now? I think it’s safe to say isn’t a bad idea..
Top 10 Things to Sell Digitally that Can be Created in AI
SVG Files: For those of you who follow me, this one is no surprise. As many of you know, designing and selling cut files is how I made my start online and what I feel to be one of the best ways to make money online selling designs currently. and how I help others do the same. This is a newer design area that won’t go anywhere anytime soon. I am doing a blog post in a few weeks on just this so stay tuned!
Digital Invitations/Announcements: I looove announcements. They are so stinkin cute and the possibilities with them are endless. From engagement announcements to wedding announcements, baby announcements, birthdays, baptisms, graduation…..the list goes on. There’s soo many options and ones that you could sell on several online platforms. I actually designed invitations and announcements for one on one clients on the side for several years so there’s definitely potential with these. Here’s a shop that sells printable announcements and is making bank! You can create these in Photoshop or Illustrator. In Photoshop you’re unable to create the clipart graphics so I always do this part in Illustrator or purchase these online.
Editable Planners/Calendars: This is another fun area that I’ve seen many designers niche down and sell in. There are so many types of planners that can be designed. I myself have bought printable planners for housework, mom life, work life and business life. People go to Etsy to find custom planners for their needs so if you know of a specific niche where planners are needed, do it!
Many people have binders or notebooks already and just need the printables to go inside. Some of the most detailed calendars/planners you buy in the store are pretty pricey, especially if they’re cute. Many buyers prefer to buy a custom, cheaper method. I buy the same planner downloads for the past couple years from this shop, Maria Sardinha. This way they are all the same and match the theme from the previous year. With more and more people working from home and online the need for planners continues to go up.
Logos: This is a design area that has been around for a while and one I have constantly seen a need for. Just like with planners the more and more businesses continue to pop up online, there continues to be a need for business logos.
Clipart/Vector Art: Another one is clipart and other styles of vector art. Everything from watercolors, to Victorian style clipart to illustrations, to the simplest form of clipart styles, there’s a huge range of clipart and vector art that can be created in Adobe Illustrator and sold online. Many use these as a base to a design. As I have mentioned, I used to buy vector art back in the day to kickstart my wedding announcements. I didn’t have time or the background to design a watercolor flower from scratch so buying a pre-made one online saved a load of time and helped jumpstart the design, giving me a starting point to create the rest.
Digital Papers: Digital papers are another big one I have seen. Some of the most successful shops on Etsy sell digital papers. The spectrum of uses is pretty broad. They can be used for everything from scrapbooking, to web use, to backgrounds. They’re usually used as a design asset.
Printables: Another big one that has been on the rise over the past 5 or so years are printables. Printables are usually art that is ready to be printed, print out typically on a 8.5 x 11 inch size of paper and placed in frames on the wall art.
However, I have seen printables not be limited to this. Some other printable examples include wedding signs, invites, stickers, etc.
Print on Demand
There’s also a whole slew of print-on-demand items that we can add to the list, however I just highlight a few below that I have found to be the leaders here. If you are new to print-on-demand, this is where a third party fulfills the orders for you. So for instance, I have my apparel shop where I have designed each and every shirt but my fulfillment partner does the heavy lifting part with making each shirt and sending it to the customer. I only touch the design when I create, then the rest is off my shoulders. Here’s a few items you can make using a print-on-demand partner such as Printful or Printify.
This is the big one. Many people want unique, personalized t-shirts and go to Etsy or online to find them. There’s several online print fulfillment companies that offer this service, you just have to find one that is right for you and your needs.
Another popular one is customized coffee mugs. Buyers love the uniqueness in a variety of mugs to choose from. Even though I don’t drink coffee, I for one am a sucker for a cute coffee mug!
Pillows are another option. Not quite as in demand as the former two but still worth mentioning. Buyers look for a pillow design that will match their decor but also add a unique and personalized element to their home.
If you want to learn more about how to get started with Print-on-Demand check out “How to Partner with a Print on Demand Company” a blog post I did a little while back. I go over the biggest leaders in the fulfillment industry and give you the steps you need to start your own business to get started with a partner.
That is it for this week. I hope that helped if you are brainstorming what new creations you can make yourself in Adobe Illustrator. Really the possibilities are endless with what type of designs you can create!
What about you? Have you found something else that is profitability that can be created in Adobe Illustrator? If so comment with what it is below!
Have a great weekend everyone! Cheers,