Did you know you can sell personalized digital items, and automate the process so that you never have to physically edit an order yourself? It can be done, and its’ the best way to not only create passive (or semi-passive) income with your graphic skills, but it’s also a great way to scale your design business.
You might already offer premade designs to your clients (such as premade logos or wedding invitations, for example); the kind that you have to edit for the customer each time they order, and then spend days going back and forth making changes for them. This sounds great at first, but eventually it becomes a) tedious and boring and b) really difficult to scale.
Well guess what? You’re in luck. There’s no reason to sit there editing each order for clients, when your clients can do it themselves. You can turn your wedding invitation into an editable template that your client can access or download, and change the information to their own. And there are 5 different ways to achieve this; I’ll discuss each below..
Templett is a browser based image editor that connects to your Etsy, Shopify or Woocommerce store using a shortcode-like function. Templett was the first of it’s kind, and therefore cornered the market early, compared to it’s direct competitor, Corjl (which I’ll discuss in detail below). However, Corjl is cheaper and has more features, so their market share is quickly increasing.
- Their editor is much smoother and more user friendly than Corjl (but this is partly because it lacks so many features)
- Because it’s older, Templett has slightly more brand recognition than Corjl. But only slightly.
- You can only sell Templett templates if you have a shop based on Etsy, Shopify, or WordPress Woocommerce.
- Their email “technical support” is laughably bad
- As of this moment, they don’t support mobile or tablet based editing
- They upgrade features incredibly slowly. Some features that were supposed to debut around the first of the year still haven’t debuted…9 months later. And the owners of Templett have been telling customers for years now that things like mobile editing and clipping masks are “coming”.
- It’s more expensive than the alternatives.
- On a personal note, I’m not impressed with how they handle copyright infringement. At one point I sent them proof that a customer was selling my designs, as well as designs from other stores, and the owner refused to do anything or ban said customer.
Templett has multiple plans, but the start plan costs $29 a month, and you’ll also pay 29c per transaction on top of that.
Corjl essentially does the same thing as Templett and was originally seen as a copy cat. However, Corjl has most of the features that Templett currently lacks. A few things you can do in Corjl that you can’t do in templett are…
- Circle text
- Clipping masks
- Attach additional images to a client’s order
- Edit on mobile or a tablet
- Set different download limits for each template
- Give the client the option to download an image with a transparent background
- Automatic png compression
- Image modes for text
- Sell variations from one listing
For these reasons, I’d say that Corjl is the most universal option on this list. You can create and sell an editable template for just about anything, including things like logos, which are more difficult to do in templett.
That pretty much covers the pros. As for the cons…
- Their editor is not as smooth as Templett’s, and the added features mean it’s a slightly steeper learning curve for sellers (buyers, not so much). But neither of these things are a deal breaker.
- Their bleed function tends to be slightly off
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST
For a month to month plan, Corjl’s cheapest package costs $9.99/mo and has a 65c transaction fee on top of that. They also have a 15 day free trial.
A few things to keep in mind about both CORJL and TEMPLETT:
- Licensing fonts. You can upload your own fonts, but you’ll need to purchase a server license for most of them in order to use them legally. Server licenses are really expensive — they tend to run between $170 and $400 per font.
- Licensing graphics. If you plan on using clip art that you didn’t make, you’ll need to make sure the creator allows said artwork to be used on “design on demand” sites. Some artists don’t allow it at all. Some require you to buy an additional license for it. And some awesome, amazing artists just make your life easier and allow you to use their clip art as you want (within reason, of course).
Editable PDFs tend to work best for invitation suites, and that’s about it.
- Your clients have to install the fonts you use in order for this to work properly
- …for this reason you’re limited to using only free fonts on any editable fields
PHOTOSHOP PSD TEMPLATES
I don’t recommend making and selling photoshop templates
Okay, but really, it depends…
PSD templates can work if you’re targetting a niche of people who are tech savvy. For example, if you’re making templates for photographers, you should be fine, as most photographers are technical and have trained in photoshop.
Similarly, there are some types of digital products that only work in PSD form, like mock-ups with smart objects.
For almost everything else I strongly recommend using either canva, templett, or corjl. Even if you are targeting other business owners. Why? Because marketplaces like etsy are full of regular people who…
a) Don’t have photoshop, let alone know how to use it.
b) Don’t read.
So even if you put the words “THIS TEMPLATE CAN ONLY BE EDITED WITH ADOBE PHOTOSHOP” in huge red letters on your listing, someone will still buy it, and then complain that they didn’t know it was for photoshop and ask for their money back.
Or worse, they’ll leave you a one star review.
Or even worse than that, open a case against your shop.
Trust me, I’ve been there, and it’s not worth the headache or the ding to your ODR.