Behind the Scenes with a New Design!

I get asked a lot of questions from friends and family about my design process- where my ideas come from, how I make my designs, how I get them printed, etc.- so I thought it would be fun to take you on a journey from start to finish!

We are going to start with a brand-new design (which I’m making in real time as I write this post) that will be placed on a brand-new product, and you’ll get to see every step of the way.

Just a little background- I use my iPad Pro (9.7 inch) with the Apple Pencil and the app Procreate to make all of my designs. I’ve had the iPad for about 4 years and absolutely love it.

I have used Procreate for the same amount of time and love all of the features and options. If you’re looking for an art app, I highly recommend Procreate!

When I first want to make a design, I try to already have an idea of what I want to make. This is especially important because there are different canvas sizes to choose from on Procreate- a shirt design has different dimensions than a mug design, and a digital wallpaper has different dimensions than a cell phone case. Resizing art can affect the quality, so I avoid it by choosing the appropriate canvas size the first time around.

The product I’m designing today is a wraparound mug. The design will wrap all the way around the outside of the mug, so this will be a long and skinny-ish canvas. I’ll be doing the “Nope” mug that you can see on my list of ideas that I keep on my phone.

I start with opening the canvas and turning on the canvas guide, a gridline that helps me keep my lines straight. You can see the blue grid in the image below.

I typically work on several different layers, which makes it easier to move things around if they need to be nudged a bit. When I’m doing a design like this with multiple lettering styles and brushes, I usually place each different style on its own layer so they’re easy to distinguish if I need to move something around.

I start with the brush pen and do all of those Nopes.

Then, I move to another layer and do the Nopes with a different brush. I add in some other phrases, like “not gonna happen” and “rejected” for variety and also to fill weird spaces. Here’s what all of the different layers look like, and also what they look like together.

I decided that the was too heavy looking with all of the black, so I’ll go through and add a different color to each layer. I also remove the background layer.

After that step, it looks like this.

After that, I’m mostly finished, but take the extra step to zoom in and look at each individual word and letter to make sure that when I added the color, I didn’t miss any pieces. You can see in this picture how I missed a few tiny spots!

See the streaks of black? That’s the original color peeking out from underneath the new color.

I’m always very careful to do this because even though it’s hard to see on the screen, it would be glaringly obvious on a printed product.

At this point, the file is ready to transfer. I use AirDrop to transfer the image from my iPad to my laptop. Once it’s on my laptop, I go to my print partner’s website and select “Add New Product.” I pick out the plain white ceramic coffee mug and this is what my screen shows-

I drop in the design and make sure that it’s sized correctly. Since the 11oz and the 15oz mugs are different sizes, I usually only offer the wraparound mugs in the 15oz size. On the 11oz size, the design would either appear too small or, if I enlarge it, would be cut off on the edges, which you can see in these two pictures.

One thing that I love about my print partner is that they offer a 3d view which allows you to see how your design looks on the mug from all angles! This is the 15oz mug, and you can see how the design fits perfectly around.

Once I’ve double checked that everything looks good, I choose the mockups I want to use. With double-sided mugs, I make my own mockups but with the wraparound designs,I just use the ones that the print shop provide so they look right.

From there, I provide the mug description, create the title and tags, add the pricing, and hit “submit.” It goes straight into my Etsy shop drafts, where I change out the mockups (if applicable, like with the double-sided designs), add details (for example, that the mug is ceramic and has a handle), choose the shipping profile, and publish!

It is immediately available for purchase after it is published, and I don’t touch it after I hit that “Publish.” It is automatically fulfilled and shipped by the printer, which means that I have more time to make even more designs!

You can check out this mug, as well as all of my other designs and products, right here.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the behind the scenes peek at the process of designing and listing a new product! If there are other behind the scenes you’d like to see, please let me know in the comments below.