For Artists

Contrado vs Zazzle: How to Know When It’s Time for an Upgrade

contrado vs zazzle

Picture this: you’re an artist. An expert at your craft. You’ve put hours into improving your skills. You discover print-on-demand companies and realize you can make a profit off your passion. You start your research, but you’re not sure where to land.

Zazzle is a common choice for designers who are just starting out. The platform also attracts non-designers with their ready-made templates, icons and filters. But what if you’ve already got the vision and you’re ready to start now?

In this blog post, we compare Zazzle and Contrado to find out when it’s time to upgrade your business.

What is Zazzle?


In short, Zazzle is a print-on-demand (POD) company where designers can sign up, design on a range of different products and sell them in their Zazzle store. The moment you land on Zazzle’s homepage, you’ll see three tabs: Create, Marketplace and LIVE.

Create allows you to explore Zazzle’s range of customizable products. You’ll find an emphasis on their free icons, shapes, backgrounds, and design templates, as well as the ability to collaborate with friends during the design process. Head to the Zazzle Marketplace to find products created by Zazzle designers. Zazzle LIVE is a paid service that offers ‘design on demand’ if you’re looking for a professional designer to turn your images and ideas into a graphic or design.

Zazzle offers some unique products like paper plates, multiple styles of t-shirt, and cards for any occasion. So what is the actual design process like?

Designing on Zazzle


When you design with Zazzle, you create ‘content’ for their product. This means that when a customer is browsing their marketplace, they may choose your ‘content’ to be printed on Zazzle’s product. They can also choose to print your ‘content’ on a range of other products as well.

If you want to design clothes on Zazzle, you can choose from various styles of shirts, hoodies, leggings, socks, and shoes. All shirts and hoodies allot you a generous rectangle of space in the center of the garment. Other products, like paper or single-layer fabric goods, can be print all-over on one side.

Head into Zazzle’s design interface to find numerous icons, shapes, and text for your custom design. You can also upload images and add fun filters to them! In the bottom righthand corner, you’ll see a preview of your final product.

Making Money on Zazzle

Let’s get into the profit model on Zazzle. Zazzle has royalty rates from 5% to 99% for their products. This is best explained in an example, like leggings, which sell for $59.95.

royalties 1

If you select a 5% royalty rate, your leggings sell for $59.95 and you make an $3.00 profit.


Select the recommended royalty rate of 12%, and your leggings sell for $64.75 and you make a $7.77 profit.


If you select a 99% royalty rate, your leggings sell for $5,696.00 and you make a $5,357.09 profit.

However, this may change at times due to these reasons:

“The final earned royalty will be based on the purchase price which may differ due to discounts, referral fees and product options chosen by the customer at the time of the purchase.”

So the example above is approximate, assuming the product hasn’t been discounted or changed.

Becoming a Zazzle Designer

zazzle designer

Anyone can sign up to be a Zazzle Designer and post a product for sale in minutes. Once you start selling, your products are integrated with thousands of others in Zazzle’s marketplace boasting various designs. The Zazzle Marketplace offers a retail experience with an affinity for logo tees, wedding invitations, and stationery for special occasions.

Zazzle stores have a social media format where you can gain followers and chat in forums. They also include a ‘zRank’ – an optimization score for your Zazzle store. The purpose of zRank is ‘providing you with more transparency into ways you can improve and grow your earnings.’ There are 3 major elements:

1. Your store

This element focuses on how well your store presents. There’s a list of completions needed for your store to be fully finished and optimized. Additionally, you must organize your store and its products to highlight your best sellers, your brand and yourself as a designer.

2. Promoting and sales

This element is all about getting the word out and how that factors into sales. Is your store linked to your social media and blog? How many eyes are on your products? How many end up in a check out? More sales equal a higher zRank.

3. Quality (over quantity)

This element reviews the content of your store: products, content, customization and reviews. Zazzle ranks your design quality, writing, store appearance and customer feedback for this section of the zRank.


The zRank algorithm considers all of these elements to tell you how optimized your Zazzle store is for the Zazzle platform. The zRank is not, however, factored into search results and does not indicate your revenue. But the higher your zRank is, the more likely your product is to appear to a customer, according to the Zazzle website.

Alternatives to Zazzle

That all sounds well and good, but what else is out there? Is Zazzle the only option for graphic designers, fine artists and creatives? Maybe not. Enter: Contrado.

What is Contrado?


Contrado is so much more than another print-on-demand company. We’re an online marketplace and community of fashion designers, digital artists, painters, illustrators and more. We offer a high-quality range of 450+ products that you can design every inch of.

You can design on our full range of clothing, homeware, stationery, fabric, leather, and more. Got a penchant for classics? We’ve got all-over print, cut and sew t-shirts, phone cases, pillows, canvases, scarves and cozy blankets. Looking for something more out of the ordinary? Then try designing our high waisted leggings, kimonos, floor lamps, leather tote bags, bomber jackets and decorative chairs. And that’s just the start.

We are committed to sustainable printing practices and ethical labor. We make everything to order, by hand, in one facility. Our studio has no ready-made products, just blank rolls of fabric, state-of the-art technology, and people who love what they do. Not only is this quicker and cost-effective, but it’s better for the environment.

Let’s jump into the design process.

Designing at Contrado

designing at contrado

For every one of our 450 products, you have complete design control down to the details. You can print all over most of our items and choose the thread color, material, finish, and way more. Even add your own branded label. Start designing and see for yourself!

When you enter our design interface, you’ll see a clear, cohesive layout that brings your vision to life with ease. There’s a bleed area for every product to ensure the best possible print. Additionally, tools like autofit, size, rotation, colors and repeat pattern let your imagination run wild. Whether you’ve got the vision or want to experiment, Contrado makes it possible.

Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about your customers! All of our clothes come in XS – 2XL, with some ranging from XXS – 7XL to suit every body type. You can even let your customers choose their product options if you’d like. It’s completely up to you.

So, what can you expect when you start selling?

Selling with Contrado

selling with contrado

We’re glad you asked. You have three different options for selling with Contrado:

1. Open a Contrado store

Starting your own Contrado store is quick and easy.  Once you join our curated marketplace, you’ll get an online storefront that can be completely customized by you. Design the banner, profile picture, biography, and even sort your products in collections or by type.

2. Buy wholesale

If you’re looking to buy and sell in bulk, we’ve got great wholesale discounts. Our wholesalers benefit from a tiered system where the more you buy, the higher the discount. Find more details in our Wholesale Guide and sign up here.

3. Drop-shipping with Shopify

Planning to sell with Shopify? Download the Contrado app and add products to your store in the blink of an eye. Start dropshipping here and watch our tutorial for more information.

Making Money with Contrado

making money with contrado

So, joining Contrado has its perks, but do you actually make any money? The short version is yes. The long version explains how.

For instance, let’s say you open a Contrado store and post your leggings for sale. Contrado Creatives make anywhere from 20-60% of the product’s base price. Our sliding scale automatically calculates your product’s retail price and your profit:


If you keep your leggings at their base price of $48.00, you will make an estimated $9.60 in profit.


Mark up your leggings to $59.95, the base price of Zazzle leggings, and you will make an estimated $19.16 in profit.


If you mark up your leggings to the maximum amount of $144.00, you will make an estimated $86.40 in profit.

Using the $59.95 example, you make 40% of the product’s base price resulting in $19.16 in your pocket. How cool is that?

How does Contrado pay you?


If you’re running a Contrado store, you get paid via PayPal. After your product successfully delivers to your customer, you get paid within 2 weeks. Essentially, your customer gets their new favorite item and your cash is on the way.

We have no pay cycles, thresholds, or hidden fees. Combine that with our average 2-day turnaround and quick international delivery, and you’ll have cash in your pocket in no time. No waiting, no BS, just simple, straightforward selling.

If you’re a dropshipper, your customer pays you directly, and then you pay us to fulfill the order. Dropshippers and wholesalers benefit from wholesale discounts, so even if you sell products at their base price, you’ll still make 20-40% of the retail price. Find all the details in our simple Dropshipping Guide.

So what’s the conclusion?

Well, both Zazzle and Contrado are fantastic print-on-demand companies with bustling marketplaces. If you’re a designer who’s ready to take their business to the next level, Contrado is definitely the place for you.

So why wait? Become a #ContradoCreative today!

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