Diesel Laws

Diesel Laws

San Francisco, United States

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Selling, Without Selling Out

To most people, selling your art usually means spamming everyone in your friends list to buy, buy, buy! But very often, that can have a terrible effect on your network and social connections. Here are 5 tips I have learnt of how to effectively sell, without selling out.

1. Don’t Share More Than Twice a Week

If you share your art through Facebook, Twitter and more, be careful how often you do it. If you do it too much, it will feel like bombardment to your friends, and often they will hide/unfollow you because of this. Naturally, by doing this they will never see your updates from that point on (unless they visit your page directly) – which is definitely not good for business or your social connection!

2. Spread Your Net Further

If you are only sharing it through a few social networks, consider going bigger with your message. Often, when I produce a funny shirt, I will make sure to send copies to all the humour/t-shirt roundup blogs to get the word out. I did this with Stolen Air Guitar which resulted in my design being displayed on a few big blogs and getting shared through many of those “image” sharing websites (see here). Sure many of them don’t actually include the link directly to Redbubble, but when someone wanted to buy it all they had to do was type Buy Stolen Air Guitar into Google and there it was.

3. Play On Parody

Parody, as we know, is a big seller on Redbubble. But the important message here is the word Play. Sure Parody might be a great ticket to get seen, but remember to do somethng that inspires people every now and then – basically show you have some substance. If someone was scanning your page to hire you for your designs how can they really see who you are through one genre?

4. Start A Riot

Ok, while some designs get people to think, they don’t often start a riot. But this tounge-in-cheek expression is important to keep in mind when designing for a saturated market. People love to share designs that make you rethink culture, start discussions and get your brain ticking. Animo does a great job at this, with many of her shirts playing on our thoughts about society and designed to get you thinking.

5. It’s All In The Detail

With my Stolen Air Guitar shirt I was focusing on a quick, fun market to churn me out and go viral in a short amount of time – and it worked. But if you want your designs to stick in people’s minds for a while (like my highest seller: Beetles On Abbey Road), focus on designing with detail. Detailed designs show that the designer cares passionately about his design, and has spent many hours constructing it. The detail can come from paying attention to the characters, subject matter and message that your shirt is sending out. RubyRed , Simon Sherry and Chris Wahl do this extremely well (which is why their work features in the Top Sellers List), often merging humour and parody into their detailed designs.

6. Get Out – Inspired by Simon Sherry

As Simon mentioned in the comments below, it’s important to remember to get out there and talk to people. It’s not enough that you promote your work online, you also must meet with other designers, focus groups and other areas where your work will be appreciated. But there is something I want you to take away from this point: Don’t sell to people. Go to the events/catchups to find out about others. When they ask you what you do, tell them – but don’t sell – just talk.

A few Redbubble members used to run general catch ups with anyone who wanted to attend to take the conversation further, but it doesn’t have to be just Redbubbler’s.

These days you can host an event by just choosing a date, local bar and then creating an event on Facebook (or other places). It doesn’t have to be massive (or official) but you will be surprised how many people may be interested in attending.

7. Focus On The Pull, Not The Push – Inspired by Animo

As Animo mentioned in the comments below “Don’t Actively Sell”. This is a very hard thing for people to get their head around, as it requires a level of selflessness that is not easy to work with.

The market pull is more powerful if you continue to share, inspire and teach others while rarely focusing on your own artwork. This can have huge advantages and can increase your network of followers beyond your target market.

If you are pushing your own artwork all the time, without focusing on others you will eventually be ‘unfollowed’ or hidden. “Unselling” goes against everything we have seen/been taught throughout our years with traditional advertising. But this is the era of Social Sharing and if one of your shirts (enter James Lillis’ JOKE Design which has since been dropped from RB) goes ‘viral’ you will reap some big rewards. And by simply having features, stories and even artwork of other artists in your feeds and journals you are more likely to keep new visitors.

To be honest, this list could go on forever, but hopefully by now you have picked up the best trend for selling, without selling out: Create for your target market (quick and fun or detailed), share it with the right people/blogs and then get back to designing. If you create quality, people will notice.

What are your tips for selling, without selling out?


  • Simon Sherry
    Simon Sherryover 3 years ago

    Great article there DL – some great tips! If I were to add anything it’d be to get out there and talk to people. Not just about your latest designs, but about design itself – getting the conversation started in the right place can get people interested in your work, your process, and (sometimes) your products. A point pretty much illustrated by this post ;o)


  • Great point! I will update the article to reflect this point! Thanks Simon!

    – Diesel Laws

  • Yiannis  Telemachou
    Yiannis Telem...over 3 years ago

    interesting journal

  • Thanks!

    – Diesel Laws

  • fixtape
    fixtapeover 3 years ago

    It would be so fun to do a redbubble meet up.
    Have you attended one?

  • I have actually attended a few – they were good fun, but just as easy to start up one with anyone with a journal :)

    – Diesel Laws

  • Kayla Vernon
    Kayla Vernonover 3 years ago

    Great Journal! I’ve backed off of my designs here on RB so I cound focus more on my other, jewelry making, hobby but your advice still applies! Iv definitely realized that a facebook post here and there is usually more effective than constant updates! It makes people say “Oh whats going on here” rather than “Oh, its just her again.” Iv also just donated a set of earrings for an event for single mothers. I think its nice to let people sample your product with no pressure every once in a while too!

  • Thanks Kayla! Yes, it’s important to change it up everytime and have real discussions with people. I would strongly recommend reading The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk – it talks about the connections we have with people and how customers now have the power – brilliant read!

    – Diesel Laws

  • Kayla Vernon
    Kayla Vernonover 3 years ago

    Thanks! Ill have to check that one out! They always say “Its not what you know its WHO you know” and I think that goes for our customers too in a way. You could have the best product out there but if you dont take the time and treat people right and have true communication with them your not going to have much luck reaching your potential.

  • Spot on! You’re going to be big in business! Connect with me (and anyone else is welcome as well) –

    – Diesel Laws

  • Kayla Vernon
    Kayla Vernonover 3 years ago

    Unfortunantly I don’t have a FB set up, a horrible waste of free advertisment right?!
    Im just wing’n it with RB & Etsy!

  • No that’s fine, many people believe Facebook is a waste of time – but it’s a fantastic business tool – you should get on that!

    – Diesel Laws

  • Zack Nichols
    Zack Nicholsover 3 years ago

    great points – sometimes we know, but just need a reminder…
    thank you

  • Agreed! Reminders are so helpful, I would also recommend continual learning through reading journals, websites and looking at others art every day. :)

    – Diesel Laws

  • Ryan-Byrne-Art
    Ryan-Byrne-Artover 3 years ago

    Thanks Dielsel you really are a good at marketing, thanks heaps for sharing =)

  • Thanks Ryan, I hope some of these tips can help you. I would recommend just starting with ‘conversations’ and chat to other designers etc, and you will definitely find out some great info and what others are looking for “art-wise”.

    – Diesel Laws

  • DreddArt
    DreddArtover 3 years ago

    Great Journal

    I have to admit I really do not read enough of the journals etc on RB and I am even worse at commenting… I never seem to be able to do everything I want to do on here .. I get tied up in organising portfolio, homepage layouts, new works etc and I really want to interact more….
    This journal has definately caught my attention. Thank You DL :)
    I really struggle with marketing myself and my art — I have a house full of 16 years work in portfolios, sketchbooks everywhere and it is such a shame its not on view.. :(
    Funnily enough I have been a Live Music Venue Promoter and Club Night/events promoter and been involved in online promotion for some 10 years!! Always the same with me… can promote others… can wrote others CVs… can offer business advice and have a produced 25 point list of how to boost your websites traffic — But when comes to myself ..

    “Brain CRASHHH!!!”

    FB— but it’s a fantastic business tool – you should get on that!

    I can only agree … the last event I promoted I only promoted on FB …I did not produce posters or flyers at all as had no funds… And my event sold out. It is important to ‘group’ your friends on FB.. I have about 25 groups and only ‘Share’ with the relevant groups .. eg my groups include ‘Art n Stuff’ ‘Redbubble’ ‘Tattooists’ ‘Family’ ‘Friends’ ‘Fightwear’ ‘Club Customers’ etc etc …and who I post to depends on the subject.

    I just need someone else to promote me … lol… I will promote for them in return!!

  • Wow Dredd, thanks for the great reply. Don’t worry, you’re not alone with forgetting to market yourself. At times, I have forgotten some basic elements.

    But the one big thing I can recommend, is focus on getting to know others and inspiring them. Although I have mentioned my art a few times in this journal, most of the focus is on other peoples artwork. 2 reasons as to why I did this:

    1. If you celebrate others, and openly share what they do you will find people will eventually find you.
    2. It’s a nice thing to do, and is much easier to show examples of what others are doing than to try and demonstrate them all yourself.

    People will eventually promote you when you help others (it even happened with this journal on the Weekly Wrap) – and instead of just linking to people and saying “check them out” to gather hits, I actually gave advice that helped me, that I know others can grow from.

    Hope that helps :)

    – Diesel Laws

  • Tiffany Atkin
    Tiffany Atkinover 3 years ago

    a great read there DL, thanks a lot for taking the time to share your wisdom! :)

  • Thank you Tiffany, I appreciate your kind words!

    – Diesel Laws