Thursday, April 14, 2016

Create And Earn Tip #8 - Monetary Value For Text-Only Graphics

It can be intimidating to look at any POD website's marketplace.  For the most part, they are full of awesome art work; enough to make you think you will never be able to replicate something like that.  Or at least that's how I used to feel.

As I've touched in the past, I learned my trade by trail and error.  The first thing I learned was that at the time I wasn't able to create any decent graphics.  To my rescue came the concept of text-only images.  I wasn't able to draw, or take a somewhat presentable picture, but I could type and be smart about it.

After that, I discovered people not only bought beautiful graphics, they also bought funny, inspirational, or encouraging sentences.

In this Create And Earn Tip we are going to cover how to create a text-only graphic others will find valuable.

Step 1- Have a defined target market
As with any image you create, the most important part in it is the person at the other end of the screen who is going to press that "Add to My Cart" button.  They are the ones who need to think your creations are worth the commission you'll be getting, not your friends, family, co-workers, etc, etc.

I already touched on the concept of having a defined target market in a previous tip I wrote.  You can check it out HERE or you can keep on reading.

To developed a defined target market you just need to answer these two questions:

"Who is going to buy my images?"
"Why are they going to buy those images?"

If your answers to these questions are:

Engineers and because they feel proud to be engineers.

Then the next step is to come up with a sentence an engineer will find encouraging, something that will make him/her feel pride in his/her occupation.  It is not that difficult.  Just think of what an engineer has to go through everyday.  Engineers basically solve problems everyday, all day.

Here is a little example of what I'm talking about.  Try showing an engineer or engineering student these sentences and see if they like them or not.

"Have problems?  No need to worry, I'm an engineer".
Or how about this one:
"I don't fear pain.  I was/am an engineering student"

Both sentences are directed to engineers and one to just engineering students.  And both sentences relate to what they go through everyday or what they went through in the process of becoming engineers.

On top of that, there's that positive emotion of pride both sentences were designed to induce.  Do you think an engineer or someone related to an engineer will find value in those sentences?  I'm pretty sure they will.

Never write a text-only graphic without knowing clearly who and why is going to purchase your work.

Having a well defined target market will take you a long way.  The best part of it is that you can have more than just one target market.  Therefore increasing the chances of someone buying your images.

Step 2 - Avoid filters
No, I don't mean filters like the one in your car, although in a way, I kind of do.  Sometimes filters can be good.  Example, an air filter in your car.  It keeps away dirt particles that will damage your motor over time.  Some other times filters are bad.  Example, the kind of font you used to write your text-only graphics.  If you picked the wrong font, others will not find it beautiful.

The worst mistake you can do when it comes to selecting a font, is to use a font that's difficult to read.  No one will find the value in your graphics if they have a hard time understanding them.

Nowadays, I tent to stick with simple and easy to read fonts like Times New Roman.  I can still remember my English teacher back in high school emphasizing how we were supposed to only use Times New Roman font when turning in our essays.  He made a comment about not wanting to spend more time trying to decipher what we wrote than to actually read our essay.

Also, don't forget to use an adequate color for your font.  Remember that with text-only graphics, the main purpose is to get your message across.  Try to use dark font colors when you're planing to use a bright background, and apply light colors when designing for dark backgrounds.

Another filter you'll find in the text-only graphics world is that of misspelling.  No one wants to wear a shirt that says:

"I love cats because their the best" 
"I love you because your my everything"

Take the time to double check your spelling.  There are countless of on-line dictionaries.  Over time you will memorize the proper spelling of each word.

Step 3 - Don't forget you're writing for your target market, not others
Sooner or later you'll find people who will not find value in your text-only graphics.  And they are going to have a great time pointing out how you're not a real artist and how your work sucks.

Once I got an email from some other designer in one POD website where I have a store.  He/she said:

"Does Anyone actually buy those god-awful t-shirts of yours? lol"
(Yes he/she wrote: Anyone instead of anyone)

Clearly this individual went over my work and found a bunch of white t-shirts with black writing on them.  On top of that nothing of what I wrote was funny because I can't be funny to everyone.  Some people like my humor, some hate it.  And that's fine.  I can only wonder why this person decided to contact me if he/she thinks my t-shirts are "god-awful".

I think maybe he/she was having a slow week and wasn't seeing as many sales and decided to check why.  He/she found my work and assumed his/her slow days were the result of my work and he/she decided to try to make fun of me.

I don't know why this person did what he/she did, but when I first got his/her message over two years ago, I went over to check their work and found some nice graphics.  Sadly, today, when I went to my mailbox to pull out their message, I found out he/she had closed his/her store.  Maybe sales really dried up.  Maybe someone said his/her work sucked.

No matter what others think of your text-only graphics, always keep in mind that if you're writing for a defined target market, your work will always have value to someone in this planet.  Don't listen to those outside your target market.  Keep on giving value to those you're designing for.


And once again, we have come to the end of another Create And Earn Tip.  Please follow the three steps I covered and I'm 100% sure you'll start creating text-only graphics that will put a smile on someone else's face.

I hope you have found value in the preceding paragraphs.  Please write down your questions or comments in the box below.  I'll be more than happy to hear any suggestions you may have to help us make this blog better.

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