Getting Approved for a Creative Market Shop

I was recently asked a couple great questions about how to get your Creative Market shop application approved, and I’m really excited to answer those for you below!

Some of you haven’t applied yet, and others of you have already submitted an application and weren’t approved. I understand that not being approved can be very disheartening, even angering – but please don’t give up! You can either call it quits or use this as an opportunity to become a better designer. You can feel like they made a mistake and write them off, or you can take an objective look at your work and figure out ways you can stand apart. Everything is an opportunity for betterment and growth. Please don’t rob yourself of your own potential. Try to see beyond yourself and invest into improving your work.

Let’s look at these questions:

I heard that in order to be approved to sell at CM, a seller has to have a portfolio and presence already. How the heck do I create those as a new seller? 

My understanding is that your portfolio needs to be representative of your design work and your product potential. When I first applied for my shop, I submitted my client design portfolio, not a product portfolio. The main goal is for them to see that you have the design skills needed to create excellent products; they won’t punish you for not having created any products yet.

My portfolio featured a lot of my custom lettering and typography work as well as logo and print design, but I hadn’t actually made a font or a template yet. I described what my goals were in the “Why do you want to open a shop on Creative Market?” prompt on the application, and communicated that the design work in my portfolio was representative of what products they would see from me on Creative Market.

So I wouldn’t stress too much about creating products before you apply. It can, however, be helpful to know what the product creation process looks like before you jump in, to make sure you even enjoy it. But I would focus on tightening up your portfolio, making it representative of your style and work, and communicating your goals and intentions in your application.

How to make a portfolio that they’ll approve the first (or second!) time around - what exactly they’re looking for, and how many examples we need.

Here’s what Creative Market says they search for in their potential shops:

1. Excitement and wow factor: We have lots of great products already, but we’re always excited when our shop applicants show us work that really amazes us!

2. Uniqueness: We review many shop requests each day, and we’re looking for designers who don’t play it safe, can better understand what’s already out there, and have work that stands by itself. Catering to popular trends or a certain niche is great, but setting new trends is fantastic!

3. Quality: You’re aware that it’s the tiny details- the small style choices and finishing touches- that turn an okay design into something great. Your visual elements are just as smooth as your technical skills. Everything you create gets better and better!

4. Solid Portfolio: We like to see at least 10 to 20 examples of your work to evaluate you in a complete manner. Preferably, these samples should also pertain to what you’d like to sell on Creative Market. Seeing different samples from you here shows us the progress of your work.

**Important:** Your application portfolio must be online and linkable. They will not accept applications that include downloads or attached photos (so don’t give them a Dropbox link or something similar). Behance and Carbonmade are good places to create a free portfolio if you don’t have your own website.


Here’s a quick checklist to help guide your portfolio creation/editing:

• 10-20 examples of your work

• showcases the types of products you want to sell

• images are high quality and high-resolution 

• could be valuable to write a little about the process behind each piece of work

• if you’ve done work for any big clients, include them to assure Creative Market of the quality of your work