As I said before a lot of times when I come up with an idea, I check the usual suspects in Zazzle and CaféPress to see if it’s been done before. If it hasn’t been done or hasn’t been done well, I jump on the opportunity to be first in line with a brand new design. But realize that POD sites are the second source for inspiration. Popular Culture is my first.
People always talk about having the next big thing in terms of toy or gadget or in this case, design. If you are an established artist you can skip this step and concentrate on being a success, already. If you are not an artist, like me, then you need to have an edge. You need to be a little clairvoyant and study the subject matter. You need to watch television. You need to keep an eye on upcoming trends. I try to make it a point to keep up on entertainment in general. If anything else, I can at least justify to my wife spending time in front of the television. “Honey, I’m doing market research.”
Here’s two examples of how being in tune with the world helped me to be successful.
Facebook is probably the biggest generator in a decline of office productivity since Fantasy Football. The fact that you can play games, chat, and post funny pictures of yourself online makes for hours of distraction. So much so that people have become addicted to farming games. As I, too, became addicted to farming I noticed that there were very little designs speaking to this addiction and thought, “Why not?” I created three or four different designs like, “I’m a big deal on…” and “Eat Sleep Internet Farming” and really managed to get in before a lot of other designers. Granted, the actual creators of the games have their own official gear and I’ve moved towards being a little generic in calling out a specific name of a game in recent designs.
Another popular entertainment item is Glee. I admit to being a fan of the show and quite frankly, I find myself cracking up over little things that most people would probably miss. What I didn’t miss was the bus, when it came to how much people would take to the show as well as myself. So, I cracked open the laptop and worked on a “Property Of” style of shirt just for fans. I tried to make it as generic as possible to not plagiarize the ideas and fonts while still maintaining that yes there other William McKinley High Schools out there and they probably do have a choir or glee club. It’s a consistent seller and other people may have designs that are just as good, if not better, but I was able to get in before the rush.
If you look at the Top 5 Sellers List on my front page you'll notice the two, above mentioned, ideas. Being successful is about being aware. Keep an eye on what could be popular and trendy and you might edge out competition with a better design.
Here's another way to keep up with what's going on in the world. Read up on blogs, look at gadget sites like thinkgeek.com and other techie stuff. Check out Entertainment Weekly and other entertainment publications. Depending on how you want to position your business in regards to customer base is very important. But if you want to be a success you better know what you are talking about.
Get in tune and be successful.