For nearly 10 years I’ve now been selling my photos via Redbubble. When I first started selling my art there, Redbubble’s focus was mostly on Wall Art. Over the years a lot of additional products like cell-phone cases, clothing and even jigsaw puzzles have been added. Moreover, they largely extended their global network of manufacturers, making it easy for me to sell my photos world-wide.
In this article I review Redbubble from the perspective of an artist who want’s to sell art and of a buyer who wants to buy that art. And I start by looking at the quality of the products, because this is important for both parties.
For me as a photographer it’s important that my photos are reproduced properly when printed. I don’t want somebody to buy my photos and be disappointed because of quality issues with the prints. For this reason I regularly order prints from Redbubble myself and review the quality, making sure it is good. And I was never disappointed.
But with more and more products being added it is a bit hard to keep up. Although I only sell Wall Art, there have been some exiting options added over the years, which I haven’t tested yet. And since ordering framed and metal prints just for testing can become a bit expensive, I reached out to Redbubble and they kindly offered me a discount code to review those products.
Framed prints offer the classic representation for photos like you would find in a gallery. And I think many of my photos would look great in a proper frame.
That’s why I ordered my photo Big Ben as framed print to test how Redbubble does it. When ordering a framed print you can select from different sizes, different frame types and colors and different passepartouts. I went with a brown frame and black passepartout: the color of the frame matches well with the photo and the dark passepartout provides the right extension of the natural framing I already have in the photo.
So how does the finished piece look? I already knew the print would look great, because I had tested the silky prints before and love them. But I also like the look of the frame. First of all it’s very lightweight, because thin Plexiglass is used for the front, and this makes it easy to hang – a simple nail in the wall is sufficient. Looking at it I don’t see a difference to real glass. The frame is a very light wooden optic frame, which gives the complete piece a very classy look.
The only thing you should be aware of, if you order such a framed print is that you have a proper place to hang it. And this means not next to a window or a very bright light source. Ideally such a framed photo should be properly lit from above. Otherwise the reflections on the Plexiglass can become very apparent depending on the viewing angle.
That’s a common problem with framed prints, which is why it would be great, if Redbubble could also include a higher priced, premium version. This could allow for the use of anti-reflective glass instead. Such glass wouldn’t completely kill the reflections, but they would be further minimized.
About 10 years ago was the first time I tested a metal print from another lab. Back then I didn’t like it very much because of the rough finish. So I was very interested to see how this printing technique had evolved over the years and if metal prints would now be an option I’d recommend.
And I have to say I was surprised how great the glossy metal print of my photo Junction, which I ordered from Redbubble looked. I couldn’t believe that this was printed directly onto the metal – colors and details are reproduced perfectly. If you want to get a print of a modern looking photo with vibrant colors, e.g. of some architecture or city, such a metal print is the perfect option in my opinion. It’s very thin and lightweight and the mounting has it float in front of the wall, which looks great.
Knowing how metal prints look in 2020 now, I can say that this wasn’t the last metal print I ordered.
There are four major factors that make Redbubble the perfect option for me, when it comes to getting my art out into the world:
- – It’s free.
- – I can set custom prices for all products, deciding how much I want to earn on top of the manufacturing and service prices.
- – I can sell my photos world-wide in nearly every country with manageable shipping costs.
- – I can offer a large selection of print products in good quality and I don’t have to stick to certain formats, because many products can be produced in any aspect ratio.
Besides those four points, there’s more though. First of all it’s easy to add, organize and update photos. Information about the necessary resolutions of your images and the color profile can be found here. I can include Google Analytics or use Redbubble’s own statistics to track how popular individual photos are, I have a good overview about my earnings, which I get payed via PayPal each month.
What I also like is that over the years there have been constant improvements to the platform, while maintaining the core functionality. In the time I’m with Redbubble, despite many changes, I never felt lost because the dashboard always gives me a good overview.
And although I have an own homepage to drive traffic to my Redbubble portfolio, I also benefit from Redbubble’s own marketplace, through which anybody can find my art via the titles, descriptions and keywords I use.
For the future I hope to see some more classic Wall Art options, for example, as I already mentioned different glass options for the framed prints or maybe a mounted print behind acrylic glass. Because to be honest, I don’t think my photos look good on t-shirts or leggings.
Now because all of this is my personal experience with Redbubble, I’d just say, for anybody who wants to sell his art there, just give it a try: Order some smaller prints on different mediums and review for yourself, how you like the experience from the perspective of a buyer. Because this is what counts in the end.
And this brings us to Redbubble for buyers. Because of my recent Redbubble review and the tests I did before, I have some experience in that department and I want to share it with you.
First of all, the world-wide delivery is not only a big plus for artists. From time to time I also sell prints on mediums that Redbubble doesn’t offer and if the buyer is not from central Europe that’s always a problem, because shipping costs can get very high.
Buying through Redbubble though means that the shipping costs seldom increase to more than 20 Euro. That’s because of their manufacturer and service network. For certain product lines Redbubble works with manufacturers in different countries and when ordering such a product, it is produced and shipped from the closest manufacturer. But even for longer distances the prices are still not exceedingly high. My 64x50cm metal print, for example, was produced in the US and shipped with FedEx for around 20 Euro.
I also have to say that in terms of updates about the state of an order Redbubble does a great job. Even having prints ordered from different countries I always had a quick overview about the production status and later the shipping status via regular email updates. My order for the metal print, the framed print and a jigsaw puzzle, which I will review once I was able to complete it, took about 10 days from order to completed delivery.
And if for some reason there’s a problem with a product, Redbubble also offers a return policy.
There is one drawback for Redbubble’s service network though. If you want to order several prints on different mediums, those will most likely be produced by different manufacturers in different countries. And this means the shipping costs add up because such an order cannot be shipped in one parcel. So that’s something to be aware of.
Arriving at the end of this article I have one more thing to share with you, which is a discount code that will give you 15% off of any product you buy on Redbubble until 31.10.2020 – RBC-SH20-Michael. If you are an artist, this might be the perfect opportunity to test some products. And if you are just looking for something to dream about in the current times where traveling isn’t easy, feel free to check my portfolio of travel photo from all over the world.