How to Design Your Own Calendars to Sell Online

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You can sell gift calendars that you design.
You can sell gift calendars that you design. (Image: calendar with bow image by Photoeyes from Fotolia.com)

The advent of print-on-demand companies has made it easy to produce items such as t-shirts, calendars and other image-friendly items. The most difficult part of the entire process is creating images that are marketable. To design a calendar, you’ll need to create 12 works that will appeal to a wide enough range of individuals to make your endeavor profitable. You’ll also need to ensure that the images are of high quality and follow the printer’s guidelines. Do this, and you may end up being the next Alberto Vargas or Mary Englebreit.

Things You'll Need

  • Artwork or photographs
  • Scanner
  • Computer
  • Photoediting software

Choose a theme for your calendar. Anything is up for grabs—cars, roosters, landscapes, abstracts—the important thing is that the work you choose for your calendar be a cohesive body of work. In addition to the theme, look at calendars you like to see how other artists handle seasons and holiday months.

Decide if you want your design to bleed off the edge of the calendar or to have white space around it. Adjust the size of the calendar designs as necessary. Consider adding a decorative border to your artwork. You can change the border according to the month, or keep a consistent border to unify your work for the whole year.

Scan your artwork with a scanner designed to handle color images at a high optical resolution. Most scanners purchased today can handle the job, but if you want a professional-quality reproduction, get your images scanned by a graphics professional.

Consider the dimensions of the calendar. Look at the specifications that companies such as Café Press and Zazzle have listed on their websites (see Resources). Use a photo-editing program to adjust the image size and resolution to the specifications.

Choose a site to print your calendar, and upload your images. Café Press recommends uploading images in PNG format to avoid any distortion. It will also upload in a shorter amount of time than many other file types. Preview the calendar. Order one calendar to be shipped to you so that you can preview it and ensure that it meets your standards.

Make any adjustments that are needed. Most issues with quality have to do with resolution and color. If the problem is with your scanner, ask a graphics professional to assist you.

Promote your calendars, especially in November and December, when people will be purchasing them as Christmas gifts. Remember that you can have an excellent calendar design, but if no one is aware it is available, you won’t be able to sell it.

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