SEE HOW TO WRITE WITTY T-SHIRT SAYINGS
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Our goal is to help people display their wit through T-shirts and other self-expression products.
We ourselves offer many unique, witty designs, and for those occasions when nothing you find is quite right, we offer the following information about how to design your own T-shirts, have them printed for you, and offer them for sale on the web.
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Gallery of Designs
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Gallery of Designs
Women and Jrs.
Kids and Tots
Gifts and Home
How To Design Your Own T-shirts And Put Them On The Web
I have been selling my own T-shirts and other self-expression products over the web without having to maintain any inventory. In this article, I'll tell you how you can do it too. You can create something utterly unique for yourself, create something for your club or organization, and maybe find a self-financing hobby. Maybe you'll get rich selling them over the web.
First, you will need an account at one of the
companies that will print the T-shirts for you and handle the sales,
taxes, shipping, and returns. I use two such companies, CafePress.com
and Printfection.com. It is easy to set up an account at either
company — just go to the company's main page and follow the
directions. They have the obvious web addresses:
"http://www.cafepress.com/" and "http://www.printfection.com/" .
CafePress has two kinds of shops. If you open a free shop, you are limited to at most one design on any particular product in that shop. If you pay them about $60 a year, you can have any number of designs per product. At Printfection, the shop is free and allows you to do what CafePress charges $60 for.
If you are just going to create a T-shirt or other product for yourself, or you are putting up a single design for your organization, you needn't pay anything at either place.
If you have a witty turn of phrase, you could just put the saying on your T-shirt. How do you develop funny or wise sayings? I sometimes offer classes in the techniques, which doesn't help much unless you're in the Boulder, Colorado area. I'm preparing a book on the topic, and most of what will be in it is contained in my E-zines. You can read past issues of To Wit: An Ezine On How To Be a Wit at my toolsofwit.com site.
But though you could just put text on your T-shirts, good images will make them more attractive. You can do an image search on Google to find images on any subject you are likely to want, but you may need to license and pay for those images. You can get free images from the federal government. They can't copyright their images. You as a taxpayer already paid for them. (If you are not a US taxpayer, help yourself anyway.) Just do an advanced image search restricting the domain to ".gov".
Some of my favorite government image sites are listed in the next column. A directory of government image sites is at U.S. Government Photos and Graphics. You can also use click art. I use art from Dover Publications. It comes on CD-ROM with a book of images to look through.
You will need an image manipulation program. I use the GNU Image Manipulation Program, GIMP. It's free and anything but lame. However, I found it incomprehensible until I bought Akkana Peck's Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional, Apress, 2006 ($50). There is a newer version on GIMP since Peck's book came out, but it's pretty close.
You will get templates from your host, CafePress or Printfection. They're just image files of the proper size. You load the proper template into GIMP for the product you are creating. It will form a background layer. You put the layers of your design on top of it. Then you delete the template, and save the design twice. You save it once as an .xcf file (GIMP's format). That lets you reload it and continue editing or tweaking it. You'll also save it as an image that can be uploaded to your "image basket" on your host. I use .png format, but some others are available. In the next column are some remarks about designing with GIMP.
When you get the design up on the host, you can create products for yourself and have them printed and sent to you. If you are doing a single design for your group, you can set up a small shop, put that design on many products, and let members order them. Setting that up doesn't cost anything either place. If you want to order many products, and you live in the Denver area, use Printfection.com; they are in northeast Denver, and you can arrange to pick up the order rather than paying to have them send it to you.
Now you are asking, "How do I make money from my designs?" It's not trivial. Basically, you need
It is good to have a lot of people who are interested in the topic of your design, but smaller groups with more intense interest will also work. I target part of my site at Unitarian Universalists, of whom there are less than 200,000. It is not a great market size.
It is better if the customers are in some coherent group who read the same zines or visit the same web sites or are on the same news groups. You can get the news to them that you are offering something they want. I have some designs that only a few scattered individuals might be interested in. I'm betting I won't sell any of them, but the designs were fun to do.
You may get some sales through the "market place" at your host, CafePress or Printfection. People go to the company web site, type in some key words, and look through a few of the pages of designs that come up. Alas, a lot of pages come up. For the keyword "love" at CafePress at 3:50MDT on 1/4/08, I got this message on the first page: "1 - 30 of 655,000 designs on 19,200,000 products". At Printfection, I'm told "11060 designs about love" and " Page 1 of 369". The single keyword "love" would not help anyone find your design, especially considering the hits are automatically sorted by most-popular-first, and yours haven't sold any yet.
Clearly, you shouldn't expect traffic to come your way through the market place unless you can improve the odds by a good choice of key words. When you upload an image, you associate a list of key words with it. CafePress helps you find good keywords by telling you, as you type in keywords, how many times they were searched for yesterday and so far today. Also, type in combinations of keywords in the host's market place. The more designs that come up, the less likely people are to find you in the noise.
You can also try to get hits through Google. For information on how search engines rank pages, go to Search Engine Watch. It offers useful information free, and more if you pay to become a member. Webceo.com offers a valuable collection of tools. You can get a minimal version free, and once you learn it, you'll probably want to upgrade. There are a number of tools Google itself provides to improve your ranking. You'll need a free Google account to use them. Many of them are associated with Google Adwords, a system that lets you bid on sponsored links for search phrases. You only pay for click-throughs to your site, and you can limit your maximum per day.
There you have it, how to put your wit to work in the self-expression product industry. You can put it to work promoting your club or organization. You can try to make a living with it, but I cannot yet personally vouch that that will work. I am looking forward to getting my first check, maybe in March or April of 2008, and it will probably not pay me for the cost of my CafePress shop, let alone the Dover CD-ROMs, and certainly not my time. But my friends in Printfection report sending out $100,000 checks. Not to me thay haven't, but you may do better than I have.
How To Write Your Witty Own T-shirt Slogans
There are easy techniques for being witty. We have listed and described many of them on "How To Create Witty Sayings for T-shirts, mugs, bumper stickers, titles, headlines, speeches, comedy, and literary sparkle."
For more information on the book,