Design Trends of 2021: What to Choose to Make Your POD Products More Attractive to Customers?


It’s always essential for a print on demand entrepreneur to stay one step ahead of the competition. Therefore, to get the most out of your business, you need to stay abreast of the latest trends and implement something that the market doesn't have. Risky pioneers are often lucky because their talent to predict generates modern tendencies. This article will inspire you by talking about the most popular print on demand design trends in 2021. 

A successful brand is primarily a valuable product or service for a broad audience. Of course, to draw the attention, you need to work hard to develop awareness and authority on the network, optimize the store so that the user sees it first in the SERP, but also reproduce the newest things that can set the tone for the season, events and even generations. Well, for example, if a few seasons earlier satin pajama-type dresses conquer all fashion shows, today their improved versions with prints continue to explore the market. The same goes for other goods that consumers can personalize and create for their own needs. That is what’s made print on demand so famous, especially during the quarantine period when e-commerce took off. The ordinary, monotonous things receded, giving way to the development of individuality and uniqueness of each unit. So, let's talk about how to find designs for print on demand in 2021. 

Table of contents 

The hottest trends in merch design for 2021


The formation of brand perception largely depends on its positioning in the market. Your audience segmentation helps you understand your goals and thereby creates demand for your products. Let's look at three principal directions at the beginning of the journey to develop a niche idea and turn it into an incredible design.

Environmental friendliness 

During self-isolation, climate change was observed worldwide - flora and fauna of the Earth began to regenerate after intensified anthropogenic interference over the past several million years! Of course, this gave rise to reflection and a change in demand for products that could maintain a harmonious relationship between a human and the planet - that is how the sustainability of solutions won its place in the market. Many print on demand designers choose recycled plastic products, technologically advanced and environmentally friendly printing equipment, and reduce their carbon footprint by shortening the transportation to the customer.


Sustainability involves the responsible utilization of human and natural resources. This movement has become especially popular among a broad audience. Many print on demand sites have already established themselves as sustainable: they sell cotton items made by hand, without using any chemicals, but most importantly, maintaining decent working conditions for each of their employees. After all, many well-known brands sin with slave working conditions. The public is outraged: it's easier to abandon a brand than wait until it decides on sustainability.


The uniqueness of the products is personalized print on demand designs, which is a promising solution in terms of profitability. Knowing your audience, you will not go wrong with its preferences. Experiment, be daring, and confident - this will come in handy in the struggle for uniqueness with your competitors. 

Uniqueness is an ensuing aspect of our subsequent discussion: how to understand that your design is doomed to success? Here it’d be best if you relied on Google Trends and expert forecasts. If a few seasons earlier, the fennec fox exploded in ratings, now the intriguing 90s - 2000s returned and began a journey through the new history of the best print on demand designs.

POD Businesses Growth and Marketing Channels You Might be Missing

Cats and dogs

You'd think everyone was fed up with this design a long time ago, but the truth is that it'll remain a profitable niche. Probably because there is an eternal insoluble dispute between cat and dog lovers. By the way, earlier in the article, we already wrote about one unique brand that made dogs its ambassadors and, at the same time, is drowning in popularity and orders. The beauty of this idea lies in its uniqueness: all you need to do is modify an established trend and start making money from it. Utilize any concept and complete it with a drawing of cats and dogs - for example, mandalas with these animals, patterns, graphics, etc.  

Anime and graphics

Anime drawings and graphics have become very popular among millennials this year. So after the release of the second season of the series "LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS", where each episode is filled with incredibly colorful and impressive graphics, things with such prints continue exploding the Internet. If you haven’t yet decided on implementing products with anime and graphics, we suggest looking at the Google Trends data. 

pod fashion tendencies

Let the popularity graph over the past five years be proof that anime is currently at its peak. Therefore, don’t be afraid to create breakthrough designs - now, these aren’t just cartoons for infantile people; this is a global trend. 

Love, hearts

Love always wins, so the love-inspired print applies to a wide variety of occasions and seasons. To honestly and efficiently use this theme in your merchandise, dig deeper: sort out the age groups of your audience and choose something unique for each one. E.g., if your clients are millennials, the topic of love is hot for them - at this age, most people usually start a family, unlike teenagers who need to confess their feelings. The easiest way for them to do this is through the beautiful gestures expressed in beautiful things! Therefore, when developing print on demand design templates, consider the needs of potential customers and market trends. 


That is a super popular trend that works great for kids and adults. The character of a unicorn is often used as a comedic character; nevertheless, it’s not deprived of drama! In general, there is a field for creativity full of possibilities, so experiment with shapes, sizes, colors, concepts.


With the popularity of cybersports, prints with characters and lettering from games have come to print on demand business. E.g., Gambit Esports from CS: GO with the title of the best team conquered the fans with its logo. Well, it's worth mentioning that game design plays a big role in developing your online store's assortment. After trying it, you’ll understand how profitable it is!

Patterns and ornament

Decorative patterns on bags and clothes become the best summer print on demand designs. It’s exquisite, engaging, and at the same time, unusual. You can place any drawing in the form of a repeating pattern, and it’ll look very expressive! Moreover, the designs adapt to any style: the same boho, with its oriental motives, won a particular attitude of buyers. Just imagine: a light ornamented dress made in rich, warm colors from a sustainable, eco-friendly brand! It sounds like a fairy tale that can be quickly brought to life. 


Fashion is back, and retro design is popular today among the pensioners and gen Z. Firstly, it’s unrealistically stylish. Secondly, anything in the retro style is a unique gift. Thirdly, this design will never go out of fashion. 

Turn a plain cotton T-shirt into an old-school one with creative fonts and vibrant colors. Find your modern retro style in 2021!

2021 predictions for print on demand industry

While most of all, the design trends 2021 above are highly competitive, they can become very profitable if used with the right strategy. Of course, in this case, we’re talking about an SEO-optimized website, filling pages with highly relevant keywords that will positively affect product conversions.

Choose a design based on your age group, focus on positioning your brand - this way, you’ll attract new potential customers and remind old ones of your existence. If you've already implemented any of these brands, share it! Tell us about your successes.

PODJune 17, 2021
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