I feel like the time has come to finally pull my own personal trigger on the whole "Find your niche" thing. It's good, solid advice for those in the POD/dropshipping game, especially now as the market becomes super saturated. This is due (in large part) to the increasing quality and availability of AI image engines like Dall-E and the one I use, Midjourney. It's so easy to make pretty pictures that it's only to be expected that people are going to use it as a side hustle. That makes uniqueness and strength of design more important than ever if one is going to stand out and attract some attention from the market.
After a lot of experimenting and deliberating, I've decided to embrace a style and subject matter that has always been close to my heart - film noir. The traditional film noir aesthetic (along with more its more modern neo noir interpretations) has a built-in audience, a high nostalgia factor, strong and recognizable tropes/elements, and a world-building flexibility that can accommodate a range of quirky interpretations. I fell in love with the genre as a young teen with my first exposure to some of the great Bogart films - "The Big Sleep," "The Maltese Falcon," and "Key Largo." As I got older, I realized that the essentials of the aesthetic survive in modern takes such as "The Big Lebowski," "No Country for Old Men," and "Memento." When I first started playing around with Midjourney, I spent a lot of time using the concept of an underwater noir world as a subject for learning on and experimenting with. I even had a name for the city I was envisioning on the ocean floor, "The Big Murk." There's a decent chance that would have been the name for this more focused project if it hadn't already been taken by Big Murk.
A morning of Googling revealed that all of the good names using "noir" that I could think of were already taken. Eventually, I came up with "Big Shadows" as a very evocative and apt name that captures the film noir aesthetic while also leaving room for other dark and shadowy content. I've booked bigshadows.net (bigshadows.com already taken by a religious blog), and now I will begin building some pages for it.
Stay tuned for further developments! In the meantime, here is just a small sampling of some of the work I've done over the past year on the idea of an underwater film noir world.