7 Things All Great Design Resources Have In Common

As well as working for Dealotto, I’m also an active member of the community on Creative Market, which means I spend a lot of time around design resources. The combination of the two means that my work is pretty much all about creating and identifying resources that will sell. Here’s what I’ve noticed.

During the last year I’ve found that the products that go on to be the most successful often have these seven fundamental things in common:

They solve a problem

All great design resources solve a problem. A solid example of this would be Greg Heade’s Website Wireframe and Flowchart Tiles.

Back in 2005 Greg worked on a project in which his team didn’t have a lot of time to build wireframes or prototypes. With so little time on their hands, the team found themselves in need of something that would enable them to quickly generate and discuss new ideas. As a result Greg created a set of very simple, generic and re-usable wireframe “tiles”, which did the job perfectly.

In fact, his tiles turned out to be so effective that he’s used them in almost every project since for his United States forklift trainer training program.

What Greg did here was solve a genuine problem. A problem that it appears wasn’t unique to him and his team. After making his set of Website Wireframe and Flowchart Tiles available to buy earlier this year, it quickly became one of the most popular products on Creative Market.

They speed up the design process

If there’s one thing us designers value more than anything else, it’s our time. We’re always looking for ways to speed up our workflow and to complete tasks faster. This is why time-saving resources are always in such high demand.

A good example of this could be something as simple as a Photoshop action that removes the background from your drawings. It might seem like a small thing, but time spent manually completing that task over and over again quickly adds up. Anyone that understands this will easily be able to see the value in an action that promises to save them that time.

This is why products such as this do so well, because once people see the value in a product, they’re far more likely to purchase it.

They’re easy to use

It doesn’t matter how tricky they were to make, the best design resources are always easy to use. They take care of the hard work and enable the user to get the results they desire as quickly and effectively as possible.

Let’s once again look at Photoshop actions as an example. The process of creating an action can involve a lot of trial and error as the designer figures out the exact steps needed to get from A to B. Once in the hands of a customer, they can be almost completely oblivious to what those steps are, as all they have to do is run the action. Everything then takes care of itself.

One click of a button and within seconds the job is done. It doesn’t get much easier than that. The design community loves simplicity, and products that provide effective results in such a simple way will always be adored.

They’re presented well

A quick look at the most popular products on Creative Market will tell you that writing an informative description and using well designed screenshots to present your product goes a long way.

Dustin Lee of RetroSupply Co. is someone who consistently does this to great effect. View any one of his products and you’ll see that the description makes it perfectly clear what the product is, what it does, what the advantages of using it are, and what’s included in the package. His screenshots usually show examples of the product in action, giving potential customers a taste of what can be achieved by using the resources included.

The combination of these two things has played a huge part in Dustin’s success. Of course it helps that he has a fantastic range of products, but even he’ll tell you, it’s the way they’re presented that sells them.

They have a number of uses

Design resources that have a very small number of uses or are only useful for a short period of time never go on to be that successful. I myself learnt about this one the hard way.

When I first started selling on Creative Market, I released three sets of vector illustrations that all had seasonal themes, and they all failed to gain any real traction. I believe this is down to a combination of two things. The first being that there’s only so many times that someone can use the same stock illustration. The second being that they all had seasonal themes, which meant that they were only useful for a short period of time that came around once every year.

It was hardly a recipe for success.

Now, I’m not saying that these sorts of products don’t have their place, but in comparison to other products their usefulness is somewhat limited, which is always going to put them at a disadvantage.

They’re reasonably priced

I’m sure everyone has different opinions on what a “reasonably” priced product is but I’d consider it to be a product priced relative to the value it offers. This is called value-based pricing, which is great for both designers and their customers.

It ensures that designers are well rewarded for their efforts, which encourages them to continue to produce high quality goods. This is great for customers because that’s exactly what they want. If everyone in a marketplace was to employ a competitive pricing strategy (setting prices based purely on what the competition is charging), it would eventually get to the point where the rewards simply stop being worth the effort. This would only discourage the better designers and result in poorer quality goods.

Fortunately, if you look through the popular products of pretty much any category on Creative Market, you’ll see that it’s not necessarily the cheapest products that do the best. For example, at the time of writing, three of the top five items are priced well over $50, proving that people are always willing to pay a little extra for higher quality goods, which brings me to my next point…

They’re value for money

Despite what some may think, value for money isn’t all about quantity, it’s about quality — whether something was really worth the money spent on it. Having more resources is a bonus, but only add them in if you can guarantee the quality is there.

In recent months, there’s been a huge wave of logo templates added to Creative Market and the variety of those on offer have proven to be a fantastic example of what value for money is all about.

I’ve seen the following scenario time and time again:

Designer #1 offers 50 logo templates for $15. Designer #2 offers 20 logo templates for $25.

Who’s logo templates perform the best? Designer #2′s.

Why? Because customers find that Designer #2′s templates use better fonts, have better color schemes, better layouts, they’re easier to customize, and they’ll be able to get far more use out of them. All in all, they’re just better value for money.

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Can you say the same for your product?

If you can’t, use this list as a guide to pin-point where you might be going wrong and do your best to fix it. It doesn’t matter how good your marketing skills are, it’s very difficult to sell an average product. But a great product? That makes things much easier.