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1. The role of AI in POD

AI print on demand tools and best practices [2024]

If you're an artist or run a creative business, you simply can't rely on traditional design tools anymore. Art and design are being significantly influenced by artificial intelligence (AI), especially in the print on demand (POD) sphere. 

This AI revolution in the POD landscape is bringing unprecedented efficiency, originality, and scope. So, whether you're a seasoned artist or a beginner in the field, using AI tools is essential. 

This post explores the exciting realm of AI tools in POD, their impact on custom product creation, and how best to navigate this AI-art landscape for effective and safe production.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • AI tools are transforming the print on demand (POD) industry by streamlining design processes and enhancing creative possibilities. These tools automate routine tasks, allowing artists to focus more on creating unique and original designs.

  • In POD, AI helps simplify operations such as design generation, inventory management, and order fulfillment, reducing costs and improving product consistency, which allows artists more time to be creative.

  • AI assists in producing distinctive and appealing designs for print on demand products. It is not a replacement for human creativity but serves as a basis for innovation, helping artists to develop unique items that stand out in the market.

  • Top AI-powered tools for POD include MidJourney for realistic images, DALL-E for high-quality AI-generated images from text, and Remove.bg for professional background removal. Each offers different plans and capabilities suited to various business needs.

  • The best practices for safe and legal AI art creation include understanding the legal implications of using AI in art creation, using copyright-compliant AI tools, reviewing AI-generated content for quality and appropriateness, and ensuring that creations align with the creator's brand identity.

The role of AI in POD

AI technology in action

Artists and POD businesses are embracing AI's potential to streamline design processes and unlock creative possibilities. 

Here, we will look at how AI is transforming the POD business landscape, from automating tasks to generating one-of-a-kind designs. 

Print on demand business automation

The use of AI in the POD sector simplifies a range of operations. These include generating designs, managing stock, fulfilling orders, and more. By employing AI, creators reduce the time and costs involved while ensuring consistent product quality. 

This state-of-the-art technology allows artists to concentrate on what they do best—creating—while the software handles the routine tasks. In essence, using AI for business automation is changing the game in the POD industry.

Creating unique AI art designs

AI is a great resource for creating unique and attractive designs for POD items. Don't see AI as a substitute for your creativity. Instead, use it as a foundation for brainstorming and crafting unique layouts. You can then infuse the AI-generated artwork with your personal artistic flair to create a design that truly stands out.

The benefits of AI-generated designs:
  • Originality: AI helps create designs you won't find anywhere else, setting your POD business apart.

  • Scalability: Quickly generate variations on a theme, catering to different customer preferences.

  • Reduced design costs: Eliminate the need to hire freelance artists for every design.

Top AI-powered tools for your POD business

Evaluating AI for POD business

Now that you've seen AI's potential for creating unique designs, let's explore some of the top AI-powered tools that can elevate your POD business.

1. MidJourney

MidJourney, a company based in San Francisco, is leading a revolution in AI art. The simple and clean interface of the tool, available on Discord, enables artists to create stunningly realistic images in a range of styles. This impressive tool has evolved enormously from its initial limited scope and continues to bring exciting possibilities to the forefront of AI art creation.

Core features
  • Photorealistic AI image generation

  • Varied Stylistic Effects for custom creations

  • Discord-based interface for easy access

  • Basic plan ($10/month or $96/year): This plan offers 3.3 hours of "Fast GPU" processing time per month for generating images.

  • Standard plan ($30/month or $288/year): This is a good mid-range plan that offers 15 hours of "Fast GPU" time and unlimited "Relax" processing (slower but good for non-critical tasks). 

  • Pro plan ($60/month or $576/year): This plan is suited for higher-volume users. It provides 30 hours of "Fast GPU" time and unlocks "Stealth Mode" (which hides your creations from others).

  • Mega plan ($120/month or $1152/year): This is the most powerful option. It includes 60 hours of "Fast GPU" time and is designed for high-volume businesses.

Note: For companies exceeding $1 million in revenue, the 'Pro' or 'Mega' plan is mandatory.


DALL-E by OpenAI is a game-changing AI tool that's transforming the world of AI art. Known for its top-notch image creation, DALL-E allows creators and artists to turn simple text into lively, intricate designs. The accuracy of DALL-E opens up an infinite world of design options. 

Plus, DALL-E is user-friendly. Its streamlined interface and its handful of tools make designing easy, even for beginners. So, using DALL-E to create designs can really boost the productivity and success of your print on demand business. 

Core features
  • High-quality AI-generated images

  • Effective text-to-image conversion

  • Simple and intuitive interface

  • Limited but effective set of design tools


DALL-E 3 comes with ChatGPT Plus, a subscription that costs $20 per month. This subscription allows unlimited use of both ChatGPT and DALL-E 3.

DALL-E 3 follows a pricing model based on the resolution and quality of the images: 

  • For standard 1024×1024 images, the cost is $0.040 per image 

  • For standard 1024×1792 and 1792×1024 images, the cost is $0.080 per image

  • For HD 1024×1024 images, the cost is also $0.080 per image

  • For HD 1024×1792 and 1792×1024 images, the cost is $0.120 per image

DALL-E 2 is also available for a lower cost:

  • For 1024×1024 images, the cost is $0.020 per image

  • For 512×512 images, the cost is $0.018 per image

  • For 256×256 images, the cost is $0.016 per image

3. remove.bg

This tool, as its name suggests, can expertly remove the background from any picture, giving you a clear and professional design for your personalized items. It's astoundingly user-friendly. You just upload a picture, and the advanced AI technology separates the foreground from the background in a flash. You get a top-notch, background-free image. This speeds up your design process as it takes care of the fine details of image editing, letting you focus on the creative part.

Core features
  • Automatic background removal

  • High-quality image outputs

  • Supports a variety of image formats

  • Quick and efficient processing

  • Easy-to-use interface

  • Compatibility with other design tools

  • Pay-as-you-go plan: If your image requirements fluctuate, a pay-as-you-go plan is ideal. This plan gives you one image per credit starting at 1 credit for $1.99 and up to 8,000 credits for $1,699 (or $0.21 each).

  • Subscription plan: This cost-effective subscription begins at merely $9 ($0.23 per image) for 40 images each month. It includes an added bonus of carrying forward any unused credits.

  • High-volume solutions plan: This plan is perfect for high-volume image needs. It is recommended that you contact remove.bg directly to get a precise quote and discuss specific needs.

Note: All three plans offer access to unlimited free previews on remove.bg, 50 free previews each month through the API and apps, and a remove.bg plug-in for Adobe Photoshop. These plans are compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

4. ChatGPT

ChatGPT is a powerful AI tool that is changing the way we communicate with technology and transforming the print on demand industry. It uses a large conversational model developed by OpenAI to create realistic and context-appropriate dialogues, mimicking a real conversation with users. 

It's a handy tool for many aspects of the print on demand business, whether you need help with design ideas, writing impressive product descriptions, creating engaging social media posts, or crafting effective email newsletters.

Core features
  • Text generation through AI

  • Dialogue simulation for natural conversation

  • Design brainstorming aid

  • Copywriting assistance

  • Customer service support

  • Basic: Free

  • Plus: $20 per month

  • Team: $25 per year

  • Enterprise: Custom pricing; contact the sales team.

5. Shopify Magic

In the world of AI design tools, Shopify Magic has become a must-have for print on demand business owners. It serves as a helpful creative partner, using advanced AI to improve, enrich, and personalize designs. This makes it incredibly easy for anyone to create unique merchandise fast and effectively. 

Shopify Magic helps unlock creativity by allowing creators to do more in less time. Whether you're an artist aiming to extend your output or a new print on demand business owner, Shopify Magic offers smart features to support your needs.

Core features
  • AI-based auto-cropping feature

  • Image enhancement capabilities

  • User-friendly design interface

  • Integration with Shopify store

  • Automated print-ready file generation

  • Quick customization options

  • Built-in color picker for advanced design customization

  • Precise image scaling and resolution optimization

  • Ability to handle multiple design projects simultaneously


All Shopify sellers can use Shopify Magic tools for free, no matter what plan they're on. To check out all Shopify subscription plans, visit their pricing page.

How to safely create and sell AI-generated art

Artist using AI for creativity

AI-generated art opens a world full of creativity, but it also has several challenges. It's crucial to use AI image generators carefully to avoid legal and ethical issues. 

Let's explore the best practices for safely creating and selling AI-generated art.

1. Understand the legal landscape 

Before diving headfirst into AI-generated art, acquaint yourself with the current legal landscape. Some AI tools utilize copyrighted material to train their algorithms, raising potential legal concerns. 

To steer clear of such risks, consider using AI generators that do not infringe on existing copyrights. For instance, Getty's Generative AI can be a safer option for businesses, offering peace of mind without compromising on creativity. 

2. Review your results 

Though incredibly powerful, AI is not infallible. It's crucial to thoroughly review your AI-generated artwork before integrating it into your products or selling it outright. 

Look for errors, misinterpretations, or potential elements that may be considered offensive or inappropriate. By doing so, you ensure higher customer satisfaction and compliance with marketplace standards. 

3. Stay aligned with your brand 

AI-generated art offers countless style options and aesthetics, but consistency is key in branding. Always opt for AI art that matches your brand's style and messaging. This ensures a seamless customer experience and helps consolidate your brand identity. 

4. Mind the ethical considerations 

Remember, technology is a tool that should be used responsibly. Some concerns have been raised regarding the potential impact of AI on creative jobs and whether using AI reduces opportunities for human artists, so being mindful of these concerns is imperative. 

It's important to remember that AI is just a tool, like a paintbrush or a software program. The real creativity and ideas still come from you—the artist, the business, the creator.

Boosting your POD business with AI and Gelato

AI is revolutionizing how POD businesses create designs and optimize their operations. We explored powerful tools like Midjourney and DALL-E for generating unique art, and Remove.bg for creating clean product mockups. But wouldn't it be amazing to have all that and more under one roof?

Enter Gelato, the ultimate platform for AI-powered POD success. Here's what sets Gelato apart:

  • Seamless integration: Connect your favorite AI design tools directly to Gelato's platform.

  • Advanced personalization: Personalize your custom products, such as t-shirts, hoodies, wall art, mugs, tote bags, etc., with custom text, images, and AI-generated elements using the platform's Personalization Studio.

  • Global reach: Gelato's network of local printers fulfills orders worldwide, ensuring fast delivery and reduced costs.

  • Subscription flexibility: Choose a pricing plan that fits your business needs, from pay-as-you-go to volume discounts.

  • Streamlined workflow: Gelato's user-friendly platform allows you to manage your entire POD business—design, printing, fulfillment, and analytics—all within one platform.

Stop juggling multiple tools and unlock the full potential of AI with Gelato. Sign up today and take your POD business to the next level!


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