• Ellie Lovett

How to choose which printing options to use for printing artwork as a small business owner.

There isn’t just one printing option when it comes to producing prints, art on demand or stocking up for markets and events planned in the diary.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately since I’ve been producing art and how I’ve produced multiple and on-demands prints for different selling channels whether this is online or offline.

I’ve been there where I’ve spent a big chunk of money on 100+ prints, only to find that I’ve sold one or two. It’s ok this happens and I’m fine with it as it taught me to think about how I can utilise the different printing options I have or can invest in, to ensure that I budget enough and not over stock myself, and also keep costs to a minimum, as much as possible.

I’ve explained the options I choose and for what purpose below, which I hope will be helpful to fellow creators and small businesses out there.

In the current climate and cost of living crisis, we’re all very much aware of spending and the cost of running a small creative business. If you’re anything like me, I have a spreadsheet for pretty much everything including costs, income and budget. One item that I realised I spent a lot of my budget on was producing prints from my original artworks. So, to manage this better, I decided to use different methods of printing depending on the selling channel.

There were four main printing options that I used.

1 Printing on Demand

For printing art prints that generated small sales, I decided to invest in a printer that would allow me to print quality prints from home. I chose an Epson Surecolour Printer and it’s been great to use this. I knew this would be an upfront cost that I needed to absorb but for me it was equipment worth investing in. I also use this when I want to add a few prints of maybe two or three new artworks and display them at markets to see what the interest is. This can give you a good insight into what customers there are interested in or purchasing, and therefore whether you need to offer more stock. This option also allows me to turn the order around quickly, without waiting for a third party to produce it, plus I also have complete control of the process - which is nice :-)

Psst…If you’ve not come across Canva - this is my fave platform for creating social, marketing assets and setting up print ready pdfs for print. Canva provides bleed lines and margins so you can be sure to have your print ready file ready to go when you need it for that sale. Explore Canva and what it offers - literally as a small business, this was a game changer for me.

2 Outsourcing to print supplier

Outsourcing to a supplier can be a good and better solution if you want to stockpile art prints, cards, merchandise or accessories maybe for markets, events, or shops that you supply your artwork and art range to. I use it for precisely this reason and use an online printer called Awesome Merchandise. They offer a range of products, accessories and merchandise, recycled and environmentally friendly materials and paper stock and lots of sizes and solutions. You also have the flexibility to choose multiple artworks in one order which is helpful when you may want 100 but within that order, 3 different designs/artworks.

From my time in marketing and knowing the print process, having the chance to see the artwork and sign off before print is really important. You want your print to look right, right, so this gives you the reassurance you need to know it’s as you want it, before they hit the print button.

3 Outsourcing to professional colour-match printers

Colour-matched prints tend to be more expensive to produce as they take more time to match the colour of the original artwork, to the print so it looks exactly like the same. It takes some skill too, which is why I was so grateful when a fellow artist friend suggested Imageville who she uses for her prints. I took my original artworks to them so they could colour-match the prints and the outcome was fantastic. A great and welcoming small team which I would highly recommend.

The prints I had professionally colour-matched are sold as limited editions in my range online.

4 Use local printers in the area

Supporting local printers in the community is as important as supporting any small businesses in your area, and as a small business your part of that too. It’s great to have online printers to use but it can also be good to have someone local to seek advice and be ‘round the corner’ for any quick and easy stock prints you might need.

And let’s face it, sometimes you just want to speak to someone in person, it just makes it so much easier, and you can explain your requirements and explore options that best suit your needs.

I tend to buy small stocks of leaflets for events, markets and workshops from my local printers, which also means that I don’t run the risk of using up my gloss and matte paper stock I have at home for on demand prints.


Another avenue are online platforms where you can upload your artwork to offer a wider range of products and accessories with your artwork as the design, is Redbubble. Not only does this allow you to offer a huge range of products to your customers who love your designs and art, but you don’t have the outlay of sourcing products and suppliers to produce products for you, they do it all. You could even order some of your favourites to showcase to customers at events and markets. Redbubble is a shopping platform that I use. It’s free to set up and if you sell anything through

Redbubble - artists get a cut of the sale too! There are also some fab deals to have that you can also share with your customers or followers.

There’s a variety of options to choose from, so choose on which suits your needs, budget and where you feel it’s best going to provide the best service for what you want producing and how you’re selling your prints and products.

Bye for now...


Check out my redbubble shop

Explore Canva - www.canva.com

Visit Redbubble - www.redbubble.com

Epson surecolour printer - https://www.epson.co.uk/en_GB/products/printers/large-format/surecolor-sc-p700/p/29578

Awesome merchandise - https://www.awesomemerchandise.com/

Imagineville - http://www.imageville.co.uk/

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