Selling Graphic Design Assets Online with Indieground
Last updated: January 26, 2022
When Roberto Perrino of Indieground Design uploaded his first graphics download, he never imagined it would lead him to where he is today. Now, he’s running a business alongside a team of creators that serves clients from all over the globe. Over a decade (and a pandemic) later, the Italian graphic designer looks back on how he took that first step towards professional independence, what today’s sellers need to keep in mind if they want to succeed, and which tools have been instrumental to Indieground Design’s success.
What made your team of photographers, graphic designers, and software developers decide to collaborate together?
It all started in 2010, shortly after I finished my degree in graphic design. I was working a job unrelated to what I had studied; at that time, graphic design was just a hobby I enjoyed while earning extra income with the occasional client. However, I soon discovered Graphicriver, one of the first marketplaces for graphic resources. I started creating some designs (mostly flyer templates) for fun and put them up for sale.
Contrary to my expectations, I began making a small earning right away, which quickly grew as I uploaded new templates onto the marketplace. After months spent creating at night and working during the day, I decided to take a risk and dedicate all my time and energy to designing. About a year later, I managed to earn a stable income and made it a full-fledged, full-time job.
During the first years, I continued creating flyer templates exclusively but eventually I needed to branch out and increase my range of products. So I started to look for people who could help me with this. Finally (after many unsuccessful attempts), I managed to build a team of people I can count on and who have contributed significantly to the growth of Indieground Design. Currently, the team is made up of myself, Francesco (Graphic Designer), Federica (Photographer), and Simone (Web Developer), along with other occasional collaborators, according to the project.
As a team of creators working primarily for other creators, what types of obstacles do you encounter in terms of selling online, and what are the most common mistakes you see your customers making while trying to do the same?
The main challenge is understanding how to transform a new idea into a product that people can edit and reuse. It’s a matter not only of creativity but practicality: Because some products take longer than others to create, you need to know which ones are worth making so you don’t waste weeks or even months on something that isn’t in demand. This foresight is crucial in order to consistently provide quality products to your customers, who are increasingly demanding.
Over the years, selling graphic resources online has become so popular that some categories of the market are saturated. This makes it difficult for newcomers to establish themselves. Also, selling exclusively on major marketplaces is no longer sufficient. As a result, creators like us have started to become more independent, selling directly through our personal store and trying to strengthen our brand by offering a wide range of different product categories.
Finding your own style is critical: Many newbie sellers simply copy other designers’ work. They might make a quick profit, but it won’t last in the long run. Instead, creators must develop styles that can change over time yet always remain true to their aesthetic identity.
Above all else, you need to keep working consistently even after you secure a dependable client base. This industry is constantly evolving and over the years, I’ve seen many creators become complacent and lose what they’ve worked for after riding that initial wave of success.
What would you say to the creator who feels confined by working in-house for companies? How can selling online help them take that first step towards self-employment?
The world is full of people with great ideas and selling online is certainly easier nowadays than it was ten years ago. When it comes to considering self-employment, I believe it depends on what people want to do and what their passion is. If easy income and financial stability are what’s driving you to sell your creations online, then perhaps it’s best to pursue it as a side-job.
On the other hand, if the products you create are a result of your passion, an idea you believe in, and a job that you would do for free, these are all good signs that selling online could lead to a successful, independent career. It goes without saying that you should always have a good ‘Plan B’ and never launch out blindly.
When it comes to graphic design, what advice would you give to creators and small businesses which have tiny budgets for such services?
The products that we offer and those that can be found on marketplaces such as Creative Market or Envato are aimed primarily at professional designers. However, as long as they’ve got some familiarity and basic knowledge of the software, small business owners and creators can also use these resources.
That being said, the graphics aspect is fundamental for the image of a company, and as with any other field, it’s always ideal to work with a professional.
The economic aspect of finding a graphic designer is relative and complex. This is because there are no universal rates for graphic design products and, more importantly, the customer often has no idea of the average costs required for certain services. There are those who are shocked when a professional asks $100 for a logo design and others who will throw $1000 for something that is not up to standard.
You should take time to find the right person for your taste and budget. You shouldn’t settle with the first one you find, the one who works nearby, the one recommended by a friend, or even the posh agency. Choose the person you want to rely on based on their portfolio and whose style is closer to the image you want your business to project. Today you can collaborate with designers from all over the world, and tools such as Behance and Dribbble make it easy to select and hire professionals that correspond with your budget. If spent wisely, the money invested in your brand is never too much.
Which marketing channels have proved the most effective for your business?
In my opinion, there’s no one answer to this question because each channel performs its functions and attracts a different type of audience.
Instagram gives you the opportunity to directly reach a wider audience on a global level, and attract people with different interests. We use it primarily to stay up to date with our followers and keep our clients updated.
We particularly appreciate Pinterest because it works in a “perpetual” way and does a great job bringing customers directly to our website. We also consider Behance to be very effective because it allows us to reach a selected audience that covers virtually all the key aspects of our target market.
How has Payhip helped you promote and sell your products?
Payhip played a fundamental role in my business from the moment I stopped selling exclusively on marketplaces and started doing it on my own website, with which it integrates perfectly. I chose Payhip for the simplicity and intuitiveness of its dashboard and the many functions that enrich the shop.
The biggest advantage of the platform is that it takes care of bureaucratic aspects, in particular the EU VAT so that a European-based business like mine can sell digital products online without any issues or worries. And the customer service is always helpful and kind, which cannot be taken for granted these days!
Indieground Design provides brands with a full range of graphic design assets such as mockups, templates, custom fonts, and much more. Check out their entire range of products here.