Sunday, 4 January 2015

Redbubble VS Zazzle

When I was thinking of joining a print on demand website, I searched for comparisons to find out which to start with, and settled with Zazzle. I later joined Redbubble, and I am glad that I did. Today I am going to share some of the things I have liked and disliked about both these websites thus far, mainly their usability but also how artist friendly they are. I hope my experiences can help you decide where you will start your POD journey. :)

Now before I joined Zazzle, I was quite skeptical about the whole POD selling style. The user agreement, royalty rates and usability were things that I was concerned about. I knew for sure that I wanted to maintain the rights to my own images, to set my own royalty rates and to be able to put my designs on products hassle free.

1. Artist Rights: Do the Terms and Conditions allow you to retain the rights to your work?

The good thing about both Zazzle and Redbubble is that you maintain the rights to your images. The main thing is that you are not giving them exclusive rights to your artwork - you can still sell and use your artwork anywhere else, while also selling it at Redbubble and Zazzle. When you sign up for these websites you grant them the right to print your images on their products, and to use your designs in advertisements if applicable. When you remove your designs from these websites, that terminates the user agreement and Zazzle and Redbubble will not be able to use your designs anymore.

I recommend reading the terms and conditions for any Print on Demand website you sign up for. You always want to make sure you are comfortable with, and know what you are signing up for.

2. What is the default Royalty Rate at Zazzle & Redbubble?

Redbubble and Zazzle both allow you to set your own royalty rates, which is good. Redbubble recommends the default royalty rate of 20% although you can raise and lower the rate accordingly. I opted to do different default prices for different products, depending on what I would personally purchase something in a retail store. On Zazzle you can set your royalty rate anywhere from 5% to 99%, though they recommend that you set your royalty rates to 5% - 14.9%. I've always thought that their recommended rates are rather low, considering they have 40% off sales rather often (which lowers the amount of royalties you get). The important thing is that you can choose your rates, so you can set them to whatever you are comfortable with. Keep in mind that your designs are unique - so if someone really really likes it, they will buy it, regardless of what so-and-so's item is priced at!

3. Usability & Customization

As for usability, both are relatively easy to use, although Zazzle is definitely more tricky than Redbubble. I actually found Redbubble very easy to start up... I am not sure if it is because I tried it after I had learned Zazzle.

Zazzle has a more in depth customization system, and more things to consider when designing. You can either add items individually or you can use quick create. Since quick create often "breaks" and does not give you the full range of products, most people add each item individually. Both of these options allow you to adjust your artwork to your liking, change your background colour, add text, etc. You can even use Templates at Zazzle that allows customers to easily change the text or add their own pictures to products you design. This is especially useful when making invitations, greetings cards and photo gifts.

It did take me quite a long time to get zazzle's customization system figured out, and I am still learning new tricks as time goes by. Zazzle is considerably more time consuming than Redbubble, because of the care it takes in making each product customizable for customers, and because of how in depth you can go in personalizing each product. Not to mention the hundreds of products they have available to design and sell!

Redbubble on the other hand does not allow customers to customize the products, and since there is less you can do with your artwork on a product it takes less time to add your work. The great thing about Redbubble is that you add your artwork first, and it then loads on all of the products available. Here you can resize it, choose placement for each product type by dragging it around on a template, and there is even a tiling option on most products. I do like how easy it is to add things here, and that they group similar products together for an easier creation experience. The products look eye-catching and professional in the preview, which is a nice bonus.

The Verdict 

As of today I still prefer zazzle, even though it takes me a lot longer to upload products there.
What I like about Zazzle that Redbubble lacks is the customization. I like that I can pair different design elements and template fonts together to create unique designs that people can customize themselves.

Another thing I like about Zazzle is their product selection. They literally have hundreds of products, so you can design on almost anything, from luggage tags to wedding invitations. Redbubble has been adding to their product line, but I do not think they will ever go this crazy in products. On the other hand, Redbubble is simple, easy to market, and clean. Its more art focused, whereas Zazzle is more product focused.

One thing I mentioned previously is that I love the tiling ability Zazzle had on its products. Redbubble now offers this on their products as well, so its a tie in this regard! I love to pattern my illustrations. This is great because if you are creating patterns you can add a single pattern tile (which looks great in product previews) and repeat it to fill the entire space on a product using Zazzle & Redbubbles design tools. This is also helpful because it means you can save smaller files, instead of tiling it yourself and taking up massive amounts of space on your computer with huge patterns.

Right now this is still a hobby with potential for me, so my decision is partially based on how much fun I have creating on each website, and Zazzle wins out in that regard. :) There are things I have been noticing about Redbubble that makes me feel like I will have more success there, but that is something for another post.

Maybe in the future I will add another POD site to the mix, who knows? (I am open to suggestions!)

Do you have any questions about Zazzle or Redbubble? Feel free to ask in the comments below, and to share your Redbubble or Zazzle shop! :)

Updated September 25, 2017 to add new information.


  1. I like Society 6 and Skreened also although the latter is only T-shirts and tote bags.

    1. Thanks for the feedback... Society 6 does look really good. I hadn't heard of skreened before, I'll have to check it out! I'm always open to hearing about other POD sites :)