Where to find design ideas
Oct 12, 2016 - DESIGN
Olivier Stapylton-Smith

Every artist gets some sort of 'writer's block' at some stage in their career. As an entrepreneur you will need to be continually inspired. So how do creatives, like yourself get past this? Knowing the answer to this question is something that comes with time and experience, but there are a few tricks that can help you on your way.

First things first…

When you want to design and sell a t-shirt online it’s important to have an audience in mind. You’ll need to create a design based on what appeals to them in order to sell t-shirts. So the best way to find design ideas is to find out who your audience is and then find out what they like. So here are our top five websites to use for inspiring the most basic design ideas:


Social media channels that are more visual-based rather than text-based channels are not only powerful tools for selling custom merchandise but can act as an online library of ideas. If you have a niche audience in mind, try browsing through images that are related to a particular range of hashtags. If you’re looking for ideas to sell t-shirts to ice hockey fans, try searching the hashtags #icehockey and #iihf before taking a look at any standout images and exploring any other hashtags they might use.


Design your t-shirt, inspiration, design ideas

You can also try looking toward Instagram influencers. They’re people who have a large amount of followers in a specific niche and you can use them to find out what kinds of things your particular niche finds most appealing. For example, following NHL on instagram and keeping up to date with their news will give you an idea of what is relevant in your target niche. Keeping an eye on which posts have more interaction from their followers will give you a pretty good idea of what they’re into.


design ideas, instagram, design 


Similar to Instagram in terms of imagery, Pinterest is a very powerful tool to see what people like and pin to their own albums due to the easily searchable database. One of the best ways to find niche ideas is to search for quotes which will bring up various design styles with a variety of colours and fonts. Searching for ‘NHL’ on Pinterest provides you with a whole bunch of images and you can see which ones are getting the most attention by looking at how many people have pinned each one.


When it comes to analysing market data, Facebook will always be king. To see what’s happening in any niche audience group that you’re interested in targeting, simply use the search bar and click on the relevant pages.

You can also make use of audience insights tool to find out demographic information about the people in your niche which will help you to better understand who you are targeting and what they like.

You can access the Audience Insights tool by going to the ‘Ad Manager’ at the top left hand corner of your home page and going to ‘Tools’. When you’re using the audience insights tool you can select a niche and find out what pages appeal to your target audience the most. You can even find out how engaged your audience is and how likely they are to comment and like a post or page. This gives you an even better idea of what your target audience is likely to enjoy the most and you can design a shirt based on these interests.

If you want to know more about the audience insights tool check out our blog post on it: Targeting like a King: Audience Insights.


Amazon is a great place to find inspiration and gauge the potential market size on a niche. If you click ‘shop by department’, you can see a list of all categories which can provide inspiration for designs. To get a rough idea of what is selling well, sort products by customer reviews. On average, one in 50 customers write a review on Amazon which can help to guess the sales numbers in various niches.


A similar process can be used on other marketplaces such as eBay, which also has the advantage of allowing you to view the numbers of items sold on many products. eBay is also a popular shopping destination where a wide range of t-shirts are being sold on a global scale and can provide great inspiration for your own winning designs.


The great thing about forums is that people often are willing to talk in a lot of depth about their hobbies and share their opinions at length which is a great way of understanding your niche and what makes people in it tick.

Reddit, although not a traditional forum, features thousands of subreddits covering nearly every conceivable subject you can think of, and plenty of subjects you wonder how ANYONE thought of. Make use of the subreddit search tool on the right hand of the screen and you can even try simply typing in www.reddit.com/r/ followed by the name of your niche, such as reddit.com/r/cats.


It really is as simple as that!

Mix it up a little

If you need to, you can mix and match between the different websites. Once you find your audience you can use the Audience Insight tool to see what appeals most to them. Then go to Instagram or Pinterest to see some visual examples of those interests which will help to inspire you. This should help you find a few ideas to focus your design on so that you can start selling your own shirts in no time.

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