Avoid These Print-on-Demand Pitfalls and Legal Risks

Avoid These Print-on-Demand Pitfalls and Legal Risks

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Pitfalls of Selling Print-on-Demand Items
  3. The Dangers of Trademark Infringement
  4. Understanding Copyrights vs Trademarks
  5. The Risks of Using Famous Phrases
  6. Navigating Fan Art and Intellectual Property
  7. The Unique Challenges of Selling on Etsy
  8. The Importance of Reading Platform Rules
  9. The Impact of Background Color in Designs
  10. Conclusion


Hello there! In this article, we're going to discuss the world of print-on-demand items and designs, and specifically, the ones you should avoid selling. While print-on-demand can be a lucrative business, not all products are created equal. Some items may lead to poor sales, financial losses, or even legal troubles. So, to help you navigate this industry successfully, we'll explore the five types of print-on-demand items and designs that you should steer clear of. We'll also provide valuable tips and insights for avoiding these pitfalls and making the most out of your print-on-demand endeavors.

The Pitfalls of Selling Print-on-Demand Items

When it comes to selling print-on-demand items, not every product is a winner. In fact, there are certain items that have the potential to cost you money and harm your business. These products either have dismal sales potential or could result in unhappy customers, frustrated merchants, and even lawsuits. In this section, we will delve into the specific types of print-on-demand items and designs you should avoid, as well as the potential risks they pose. By being aware of these pitfalls, you can safeguard your business and make more informed decisions about what to sell.

The Dangers of Trademark Infringement

One major pitfall to avoid in the world of print-on-demand is trademark infringement. Trademarks are legal protections that identify a brand or company and distinguish their products or services from others. Using trademarked phrases, logos, or names without permission is not only against the law but also carries the risk of severe consequences. In this section, we'll explore some real-life examples of trademark infringements and their repercussions. We'll also provide guidance on how to navigate the complex world of trademarks in print-on-demand, helping you avoid potential legal issues.

Understanding Copyrights vs Trademarks

Many individuals confuse copyrights and trademarks, but they are distinct forms of intellectual property protection. While copyrights apply to original creative works, such as artwork or written content, trademarks focus on protecting brand identities and commercial indicators. In this section, we'll clarify the differences between copyrights and trademarks and explain why it's crucial to understand these distinctions as a print-on-demand seller. By grasping these concepts, you'll gain valuable insights into what you can and cannot use in your designs, ensuring legal compliance and minimizing risks.

The Risks of Using Famous Phrases

Using famous phrases from movies, TV shows, or other popular media can be a tempting strategy for print-on-demand sellers. However, incorporating well-known catchphrases into your designs comes with its own set of risks. In this section, we'll discuss the trademark implications of using famous phrases and explain when it is permissible and when it is not. By understanding these risks, you can navigate the world of famous phrases and create designs that are both successful and legally compliant.

Navigating Fan Art and Intellectual Property

Fan art is a popular form of expression that allows individuals to showcase their love for a particular franchise or character. While fan art can be a great way to connect with fellow enthusiasts, it also raises questions about intellectual property rights. In this section, we'll delve into the complex world of fan art and discuss the legal considerations surrounding its creation and sale. By understanding the nuances of fan art and intellectual property, you can make informed decisions about what fan art designs to sell and how to protect yourself legally.

The Unique Challenges of Selling on Etsy

Etsy, an online marketplace for handcrafted goods, presents its own unique set of challenges for print-on-demand sellers. With its focus on originality and handmade products, Etsy has specific rules and guidelines that sellers must adhere to. In this section, we'll explore the intricacies of selling on Etsy and how these rules can impact your print-on-demand business. By understanding Etsy's requirements, you can ensure that your products meet the platform's standards and avoid potential issues or account suspensions.

The Importance of Reading Platform Rules

When selling on any online platform, it is vital to familiarize yourself with the platform's rules and policies. Failure to comply with these rules can result in penalties, suspensions, or even permanent bans. In this section, we'll emphasize the importance of thoroughly reading and understanding the rules of any platform you choose to sell on. We'll also provide practical tips for staying within the guidelines and protecting your business from unnecessary risks and complications.

The Impact of Background Color in Designs

The design elements of a print-on-demand product can greatly influence its appeal and marketability. One often overlooked aspect is the background color used in designs. In this section, we'll discuss the importance of selecting appropriate background colors and the impact they can have on the final product. We'll also explain why using certain background colors, such as black on a black t-shirt, can lead to undesirable outcomes. By carefully considering background colors, you can create designs that stand out and resonate with your target audience.


In conclusion, the print-on-demand industry offers tremendous opportunities for creative entrepreneurs. However, it is crucial to be aware of the potential pitfalls and risks inherent in this business. By learning from the examples provided in this article, you can avoid selling print-on-demand items and designs that may prove unsuccessful or infringe upon intellectual property rights. Armed with this knowledge, you can make informed decisions, protect your business, and maximize your chances of success in the ever-growing world of print-on-demand.


  • Becoming familiar with the potential pitfalls of selling print-on-demand items
  • Understanding the risks of trademark infringement and the importance of respecting intellectual property rights
  • Differentiating between copyrights and trademarks and their implications in the print-on-demand industry
  • Navigating the complexities of famous phrases and fan art in print-on-demand designs
  • Recognizing the unique challenges and rules when selling on platforms like Etsy
  • Emphasizing the importance of reading and adhering to platform rules and guidelines
  • Considering the impact of background color in print-on-demand designs
  • Harnessing this knowledge to create a successful print-on-demand business.