Firstly, good design is quite often the simplest design. You can overthink it, and end up with
something so complicated that it’s hard the understand. Designing by committee is one of the really well known offenders of complicated design, as too much input is not a help.

Then, in my market, who will send or give the item, and in what circumstances? It’s quite an easy thing to consider if you’re honest with yourself. Don’t hold onto a design too much just because you like it.

Think about its end usage.

Is it too similar to something else in the market. Know your stuff and research what’s what, and how you fit in. If it’s too similar to something else, why would a customer start dealing with you? What do you have to offer that an existing supplier can’t or won’t? Is it sustainable and affordable to offer what you are? Will your product(s) outsell the competition?

Now, if you’re producing a greeting card for example, it’s relatively easy to test yours and get some concrete results. You may need to tweak accordingly, but it’s paper, so it’s possible. What is harder is when you’re in the gift market, as small test quantities can be prohibitively expensive. In this case, you are in a do or die situation, something I’ve faced myself a number of times !

You can of course pay for one off samples, get some reaction from customers, and have it ready for six months time. That’s ok, but customers get frustrated and unwilling to order that far ahead. So, there you are with a possible great design and you need money to throw at it.

Well there is the issue you face. There is the choice of starting you’re own business or approaching a publisher. Both can be satisfying of course, but there are dangers lurking.

To start you’re own business in paper is quite a low financial entry point, but it’s amazing how many people came and disappear from the industry. Mostly, an enthusiastic artist starts their own business, but a publisher makes the harder decisions better, as they detach themselves from the ‘oh but I like it’ conundrum.

But if it’s for non cards, make sure you’re protected. Copyright is obvious and easy, and trademark when necessary, which is rare but worth mentioning. Bear in mind, that what you do has to be unique, and commercial, which is not an easy combination to achieve.