What the Heck is 'Design Recycling' and How to Do It

I know I have been mentioning this a lot and you may have never heard of design recycling because that's just what I call it myself. I haven't really read about this anywhere but a practice I learned from trial and error after years of trying to run a successful Etsy shop. For me personally, having to create new products and listings from scratch everytime really burns me out, believe me, I have tried and FAILED. When I set out to open my store I was determined to make my designs work for me and not the other way around. I finally reached the view where I wanted my art to keep working and working and working for me. Which is why I landed on paper goods and stickers. My store may look full-ish (I don't consider 130 items super full but it's a start) but most of those designs took me very little time to create especially when you weigh how long and hard they are working for me. You will 100000% see designs from my greeting cards as stickers or maybe temporary tattoos. My products are versatile and I can see what does better as what product. I have stickers that completely kick their temporary tattoos counterparts ass and vice versa. Trial and error is such a huge part of running a shop that being able to recycle your designs into other products and building a brand and inventory allows you a deeper insight into what your demographic really likes and wants.

It is so easy to do. Once you have the design down, its a matter of figuring out a way to quickly and efficiently produce it on a larger scale. My boy's tears continue to be a fan and personal favorite. I originally designed it in mind of being an enamel pin but I figured, why stop there? Why not stickers? Why make 1 when I can do 20?

Some of my favorite ways to recycle designs are:

  • Offering the same design as different products (stickers, temporary tattoos, greeting cards, etc)

  • Offering art prints in various sizes

  • Digital products <-- this is an ultimate design recycle because you're usually selling a premade file

  • Premade molds for sculptural products

  • Using popular designs for branding, packaging and social media

  • Use your designs for interesting social media content