How to Launch a Poster Store Online: The Complete Guide

14 min read

Got a design idea that you think would look awesome on a poster? Want to sell it online? This blog post walks you through how to make that happen—from creating your design to printing them and bringing in sales.

What’s great about selling posters is that this business model doesn’t require deep product knowledge, and modern technology lets you automate most of the processes involved. Keep reading to get the picture (get it?!) and learn how to start a poster business.

Who Can Sell Posters

A poster business might be an obvious choice for people who create their own artwork through mediums like photography, digital illustrations, paintings, calligraphy, postcards, and more.

However, launching a poster store (or just a poster item in your existing store) is not just for artists and designers!

Lots of stores might benefit from adding a poster or two to their storefront as a way to make your store’s branding accessible—all you need is to make the poster’s design both aesthetically appealing and reflective of your overall brand. For example: if you sell car parts, you can create a cool car poster and offer it up as an additional product.

Poster examples

Source: Pinterest

Here are a few types of stores that might easily benefit from adding posters to their storefront:

  • Artists: create and sell artwork posters.
  • Photographers: turn your best work into posters to sell them as interior design pieces.
  • Sellers of books, comics, and movies: posters can be marketed as a visual representation of a person’s love for a story or your shop.
  • Interior design stores: incorporate posters into your interior design aesthetic.
  • Educational stores: sell posters with charts, lists, and motivational quotes.
  • Kids’ stores: cartoon posters or bright motivational ones can engage a young audience.

Posters are also a great option for merch products. Influencers, nonprofits, restaurants, basically, you name it! Any brand can sell custom made merchandise. You can print your logo on a poster or reach out to a designer to help create an attractive print for your brand.

For example, Northbound Coffee Roasters roast and sell coffee. They asked a designer to create a poster to celebrate their brand’s 10th anniversary. Now they sell those posters as merchandise in their online store:

To evaluate your potential demand for posters, check out tools like Google Trends. The picture below demonstrates interest in posters around the world. You can also use this tool to find related queries and see how interest in posters has changed over time.

How to Create Posters

There are basically two ways of creating a poster: the DIY way and the drop shipping way.

The DIY Way

If you’re all about rolling up your sleeves and doing things your way, then a great poster selling option is to print them on your own.

On the one hand, the DIY way can be great because you are fully in charge of the production process. You’re the one doing the printing and quality control, and you set your own standards and protocols at each step of the process. You can print your posters exactly the way you want and completely customize your packages.

The downside is that it costs a pretty penny to do this on your own. You have to invest in a poster printer, quality paper, inks, and packaging materials. Plus, you still need time and physical space to do all the work, which isn’t a luxury all small business owners have.

This method might could work for you if:

  • You have the capital to buy a printer and materials.
  • You have the physical space to set it all up.
  • You want to customize your orders and be in charge of the printing process.
  • You have the time to print and ship your orders on time.

The Drop Shipping Way

Another option for poster selling is to partner with a print-on-demand (POD) drop shipper, which is a third-party service that prints and ships your products for you.

dropshipping model

The drop shipping model

This is ideal for big companies that want to outsource large order volumes, and it’s convenient if you’re just testing the ecommerce waters. Here’s why:

  • Minimal upfront cost. You don’t have to invest in a printer, paper, ink, or inventory. And many drop shippers don’t require upfront or monthly fees.
  • Time saved. You don’t have to print, package, and ship your posters, which gives you more time to focus on your business and marketing. This is a bonus for established online stores. If you’re getting hundreds of orders every month, it can be hard to keep up with the demand.
  • Flexibility in your designs.You can test new design ideas without losing money if sales aren’t as high as you’d hoped. Plus, you’re also not stuck with leftover inventory.

But drop shipping also has its downsides:  

  • Since there’s such a low barrier to entry, you’ll have a lot of competition.
  • Your drop shipper will charge you the cost of the product and printing, which eats into your profits.
  • You don’t fully control the production process, and you can’t customize your packages as much as you may want.

How do you find the right drop shipper?

If you do decide to opt for a drop shipper, the choice of who to partner with can be an overwhelming one. To narrow down your search, consider these basic criteria:

  • Integration with your store. It’ll make your life a lot easier if your drop shipper integrates with your store’s platform, as orders will go automatically to them for printing and shipping.
  • The quality of posters. Look at the paper, ink, and available sizes. And it’s a bonus if you want to offer framing and they have it as an option.
  • Order samples. Some drop shippers let you order discounted samples. If they do, take advantage! Samples allow you to check out the quality first-hand and stand by your product.

Printful is the only print-on-demand drop shipper that integrates directly with Ecwid, so setting it up for your store is as easy as pie.

Learn more: How to Start a Profitable Dropshipping Business

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Tips for Creating a Great Poster Design

Now that you know how to start a poster printing business, let’s discuss another important thing—the design details.

Your poster design will depend on your niche and your audience. But there are some general rules of thumb to keep in mind.

Tools and Services

If your design skills aren’t up to snuff, leave it to the pros and look for a freelance designer. Don’t know any designers? No problem! Check out sites like Fiverr, Behance, or 99designs to help find the right person for the job. Read this blog post for more ways to find a freelance designer.

If you want to design the poster yourself, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are popular image editing tools. But there are plenty of cheaper and free options out there as well, like Gimp or Affinity.

If you’re not a designer but you’d like to try creating a poster illustration yourself, check out services like Canva. It has lots of free design templates you can use to make your own illustrations. Check out the poster category to find a template that fits your idea.

Design at Your Intended Size

The most important rule to remember is to create your design at your intended size and dimensions, with a good resolution. If you make your design too small, it’ll lose quality and definition as you resize.

For example, if you’re designing a 24×36” poster, use those dimensions in Photoshop from the get-go. If you want to encourage poster framing, try to work with a size that has standard dimensions, so it’s easier for your customers to find a frame on their own.

Minimalism and Typography Work

You don’t need to be a professional designer to create a good-looking poster. Minimalist designs or text-based images can work well, so play around with typography or design one of your favorite quotes.

Photographs also work well, especially when printed on Luster photo paper — it’s fingerprint-resistant and its finish is between a matte and a glossy look.

Poster example 2

Luster photo paper

Again, designs that work depend entirely on your niche.

You can find free photos to use for your posters through photo stock services like Unsplash or Pexels. However, make sure to check the terms of use first. Photos sourced from such services cannot be sold without significant modification. That means you can’t sell them unaltered, but you can create a new design based on photo stock pictures.

Create Designs at Full Bleed

Create your design so it covers the entire canvas. But don’t include any important details at the margins, just in case something gets cut off in the printing process.

Use Original Artwork

This might go without saying, but it’s important to avoid work that’s copyrighted. Create your own, original artwork, or at the very least use something that’s available in the public domain.

Copyright law is a long and complicated topic that varies case by case. If you have any doubts about what you want to print, be sure to speak to a professional before diving in.

How to Promote a Poster Store Online

One of the best parts of making posters through a print-on-demand service is that you can invest more time and effort into promoting your product. That allows you to reach a broader audience and eventually get more orders. But how can you set your business up to sell posters online so that you’re busy taking orders?

Posters are visual products, so social media is one of the best places to promote your store. And when it comes to interior design, Pinterest and Instagram are your go-to platforms.

For example, Boho Art & Styling runs an Instagram account where they show how their posters can fit different interiors. They also tell their followers all about their poster’s unique detailing, and announce sales in their posts.

Pinterest is the place where people go for inspiration when renovating their home, planning holiday decor, looking for presents, and so on. What does that mean for your poster store? That Pinterest promotes product discovery! So make sure your pins link to your online store.

TikTok is another social media platform you can leverage to reach your target audience. Here you should focus on short and eye-catching videos. For example, if you create poster designs yourself, post videos that show off your unique creative process in action.

If you sell online with Ecwid, you can connect your online store to Instagram and TikTok to display your product catalog right in your social profile and tag products in your photos and videos. Customers will be able to buy your products without even leaving Instagram and TikTok apps.

How to Start Selling Posters Online

If you want to launch your online poster store quickly and without extra effort, consider the following steps to open an online drop shipping store:

Note that Printful drop ships a large variety of printed products—from mugs and tees to phone cases. If you like your poster design, you can consider expanding your image onto a wider range of sellable products.

Still not sure where to start? Read this guide to learn everything you need to know to successfully launch of your online business: The Ecwid Business Blueprint: Build Your Successful Online Store

Happy selling!

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About the author

Nora is a content marketer at Printful and regularly contributes to their blog. She recently relocated from Toronto, Canada to Riga, Latvia and spends her downtime reading, running, baking, and exploring what Europe has to offer.

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