How A.I. Art is an Etsy Print-On-Demand Game Changer

By Chris Shaffer •  Updated: 03/15/23 •  10 min read

Chances are unless you've been locked away in a yoga retreat in the Himalayan mountains for the last few years, You've at least seen a little bit of conversation about how artificial intelligence is changing everything in the business world.

Logically, if you're selling anything online, you've been wondering how it's going to affect e-commerce and print-on-demand.

After all, if a robot can write product descriptions, product titles, give us keyword ideas, and even potentially create art, is there any room left for us humans?

In this article, I wanted to take a quick look at the impact AI is going to have on e-commerce and print-on-demand and take a little bit of a dive into how you can use it in your business.

What Is A.I.?

Before we dive into how it's going to be impacting e-commerce and especially things like print on demand, we need to have an understanding of what AI is.

We aren't talking about Adobe illustrator here, but rather the more science fiction version of the phrase AI, meaning artificial intelligence. Intelligence.

Before you start having visions of Skynet and terminators, we aren't quite there…at least not yet.

Brother, when you hear people like myself using the term AI, we are simply talking about a set of computer programs that are designed to accomplish a specific task.

Rather than imagining what a painting will look like like a human does, these programs can take ideas that have been described to them and turn them into graphics, art, or even text outputs like product titles.

The full explanation of exactly how these programs are trained to do this isn't the subject of this article.

Generally speaking, these tools are trained to understand what makes up individual graphics or images but looking at millions or even billions of existing pieces of work and having those pieces of work described to them by the programmers.

This allows these types of artificial intelligence programs to understand what you mean when you type the word blue into the program's text prompt and give you back an image that contains something blue inside of it.

It's important to understand that we are just at the very beginning stages of what these types of programs can do, but even the earliest stages that we are in right now can be absolutely astounding.

Can I Use A.I. Tools for a Print-on-Demand Business

Now that you have an understanding of what we mean when we talk about AI tools, you're probably wondering if it's even legal to use these in your print-on-demand business.

Although I'm not a lawyer (but I can use artificial intelligence to make me look like one) I can give you my opinion and a few basic ground rules for using these tools in your business.

These tools are generally okay to use from a legal standpoint, with one big caveat.

Because we were at the early stages of this “AI revolution” new tools are popping up every single day.

If you are going to use these tools to help you create designs or even do something as simple as create product descriptions, it's important to make sure you have the right to use the output of that tool.

The tools we will cover later on in this article allow you to use their outputs Commercially, but that's not always the case.

If you're going to use other tools, and there's nothing wrong with that, it's important to check their license agreement to make sure that they allow for commercial use.

Does Etsy Allow Me to Sell AI Art?

Currently, you can sell any art or designs created with the assistance of artificial intelligence on the Etsy platform as long as you have the right to use that image.

This means, as long as you can use something created Commercially, whether it's entirely generated by AI or you create the individual elements and compose the design yourself, you can sell it on Etsy.

Which A.I. Tools Are Best For Print On Demand or Digital Products?

Over the last few months, Scott and I have tested dozens of tools that use artificial intelligence to help you create everything from product descriptions to full pieces of AI-generated art.

Out of all of those tools, we found two that we like and can be used by virtually every anti-seller that is selling, print on demand, or digital products.


Our favorite AI tool for Etsy sellers is Midjourney.

Although this tool does have a bit of a learning curve, it's based on a chat room service called discord and is a little intimidating when you first get started.

It has hands down, generated the best-looking images and product elements of all of the different tools that we have tried.

Once you enter a command into the system, it gives you an output of four possible options based on what you asked it to create.

From here, you can enlarge (called upscaling in Midjourney) an image that you like or have Midjourney create more variations of the design that is closest to what you wanted.

Using the combination of these two tools, You can use Midjourney to create virtually anything that you can imagine in less time than it would take you to explain even your initial idea to a human graphic designer.

Additionally, you can use a combination of an inspirational image (something you want your final design to look a bit like) and text prompts to create things you otherwise wouldn't even be able to describe.

Like with anything else related to AI tools, if you're going to upload an image to use as inspiration in Midjourney, you should make sure you have the right to use that image commercially.


The other AI tool that every Etsy seller should be aware of is ChatGPT.

This is one of the tools that took the entire AI new cycle by storm when it launched, because of its ability to create human-sounding text based on virtually any input. Input.

If you are selling on Etsy, you'll want to take a look at this tool as a potential way to help you create better product descriptions, listing titles, or even give you tag ideas.

Additionally, with a little bit of basic knowledge of how ChatGPT works, you can even have it kick out ideas for what to type into image generation tools, like Midjourney, to help you shortcut the design process.

Why It's A Print On Demand Game Changer

Whether we like it or not, the AI revolution is already upon us in the print-on-demand and digital products world.

Not only does it allow people with zero graphic design capability (like me) to create professional-looking designs in a matter of minutes, but even if you are a capable designer, you'll want to check out how this can speed up your process.

Create Design Elements

If you've ever spent hours looking for the perfect element for your design and felt frustrated looking for it, You'll never have to think about it again.

Let's say, for example, that you're trying to find a cartoon chicken for your new line of nursery decor products.

Up until now, you've had two options.

Find an existing cartoon chicken and purchase the rights to use a commercially or create one yourself.

This second option is impossible for people like me, without shelling a bunch of cash out to somebody who has actual design skills. 

Even if you have the design skills to make one, it's not exactly a quick process.

Tools like Midjourney can eliminate the hunt-and-peck process of trying to find your perfect missing element.

By typing a basic command into an image creation tool like Midjourney, for example, ” a cartoon chicken on a white background”, We can have four useable options shown to us in just a few seconds.

From there, it's a matter of minutes to make the small adjustments we want to that design or just take it over to a program like Canva and drop it into our design.

Create Entire Designs With No Skills Needed

In addition to being able to create all of the individual elements that we would want to compile into a design, we can use these same AI tools to create complete designs in one go. Go.

Although currently, these tools are not great at designing anything with text, we can create full images, wall art, or the entire design without text by using a single image prompt Midjourney.

From there, all that's left is to spend a couple of minutes in Canva adding our text or taking that design directly to the print-on-demand provider to sell.

Depending on how large this eventual design will be, you may wish to upscale it using a tool like Canva or to ensure that it's print quality.

Create Product Placement Images

In addition to creating the elements and the entire design you plan to sell, you can use tools like Midjourney to create amazing and unique product placement images.

If you've ever looked at a few t-shirts on Etsy, chances are that no matter how many stores you look at, you see a different t-shirt on the same model over and over again.

Although there are lots of great product placement or mock-up tools like PlaceIt, If you can't find the perfect mock-up image or you just want something a little bit more unique, you can create exactly what you're looking for with Midjourney.

Create Listings Faster Than Ever Before

I mentioned above, that there are a ton of different tools that can be used for different things and that not everything is about creating images or product elements.

If you're trying to create a bunch of product descriptions, even if you like writing, it can be an extremely time-consuming process.

By taking advantage of an AI tool like chatGPT, You can create unacceptable product descriptions in just a matter of minutes.

Additionally, by giving ChatGPT a few examples of what you're looking for, you can quickly train it to crank out, not just search engine optimized product descriptions, but also high-quality titles and even ideas for tags.

For example, by feeding ChatGPT an existing product description on Etsy and then asking it to change that product description to fit our new product, we were able to have it create an accurate product description for our new design in less than 30 seconds.

A Quick Recap

If you're selling print-on-demand or digital products online, you need to be taking AI tools seriously.

It's not unrealistic to say, that the game has already changed.

The development and usage of these tools mean that you can create higher-quality designs faster than ever before and rather than worrying about the fact that everybody can use these tools to create great designs, you should be focusing on how to implement them in your business.

These tools have already impacted every part of the product creation process and are making it faster and better than ever before.

P.s. If You've been trying to figure out how to use AI in to help grow your Etsy shop, you may want to check out our full workshop here

Chris Shaffer

Chris lives at the intersection of business strategy and growth tactics. Having consulted with dozens of different businesses (as well as building several of his own), he brings a unique perspective on what's working across the eCommerce world in businesses of all shapes and sizes.