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Digital Design Passive Income

What is a mock up and how to use mock ups to showcase work

by Tanya McCarthy 06 Aug 2019

Mock ups are critical for showcasing your digital work. Some people have trouble looking at a design and thinking, "Oh I can use X to create Y!", which is where mock ups come in to play. Whether you're creating home decor printable, SVGs for clothing, housewares, or whatever it may be, you want to get into the wonderful world of mock ups.

In this post I'm going to go through the two major file types for mock ups, where you can get them, and how you can manipulate them when you are creating images for your online listings. Videos will be posted below if you're not into reading or just want some visuals!

File Types for Mock ups

As stated above there are two major file types for mock ups depending on what type of feel you're looking for. Some mock up creators provide a high quality JPG while others provide a .psd (File types explained here in this post) with smart objects. 

High Quality JPGs

I first started out using high quality JPG images. These seemed to work well for me because I created a template I liked, inserted the image of the mock up, and saved it so I could use it in the future. I still come back and utilize some of these file types, but for the most part I think they're pretty archaic. Nonetheless, it's all about personal preference. You can also manipulate these images with almost any image editor, so it's best for someone who does not want to work with anything fancy. 

Here is an example of a flat lay mock up I used previously. 

Baseball American Flag SVG

To utilize these you want to make sure the image ratio is what you need for your listing photos. If it isn't, you will have to crop some parts out to get it at the desired size. Remember, JPGs are RASTER images, so as you increase the size, the more granular they become. I always recommend a 3:2 ratio if possible, but again it depends on where you are posting. 

Once you get the look you are seeking for the template, simply copy your file (whatever it is needs a transparent background like a .png or .svg) and insert it into your mockup. Since I create SVGs, it was a lot easier for me to work with the flat lays. Vector images can be increased and decreased in size without losing quality, whereas a PNG file will lose some of its quality as you increase its size. 

A few shops I recommend for flat lay mock ups:

Cuddle Bunny Studios on Design Bundles
Lock and Page on Etsy
MockupStudioArt on Etsy 
Doodle and Stich on Design Bundles
Yuri-U on Design Bundles 

.PSD Files with Smart Objects

When I discovered smart objects I almost died. This made mock up creation a BREEZE for me as I could add multiple layers to the smart mock up, hide the ones I wasn't ready to use yet, and crank out 10 to 20 mock ups in a matter of minutes. 

Most of these mock ups you can change the color of the object you're over laying on. The other benefit is most of them look REAL, i.e. they contour with your design. Here are a few examples to showcase contour from my shop:

A maternity shirt (Contouring here is critical)

Pumpkin Smuggler SVG

A T-Shirt

Candy Corn Cutive SVG - Candy Cornivore SVG

A Beer Glass

Let's Get Elfed Up SVG

A Coffee Mug

Coffee Spelled Backwards SVG

If you don't have Photoshop, fret not, you can utilize online and work the smart objects in there. It's a little more of a pain than working in an actual program, but it serves its purpose. (Check out free online programs here for designers)

To use the smart object you're going to want to find a layer in the photo that has a small rectangle. Double click on that and it will open up a new window which is where you want to place your design. Open your .png or .svg and resize as needed to fit the smart object. Save it and then go to the original mock up to see its placement. You may have to move the design around to get the desired effect, but again, you get a more realistic look. 

Here are a few of my go to shops for smart object mock ups:

Freeman Studios on Design Bundles
Mockups on Design Bundles
CGMockup on Etsy

I have a video that goes through how to create mock ups using both file types. Keep in mind the shops above are just some I purchase from, you can easily type into the Etsy search what you are looking for or browse the Mockups Section on Design Bundles

Here it is:


If you learned something please share with your fellow crafters. Subscribe to my Facebook group for updates on blog posts, ect. As always, if you have any questions please don't hesitate to reach out.


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