Ever wonder how to create an NFT collection? I’ll show you. If you’re a digital artist, developer or even remotely interested in crypto art then this is for you. If you’ve never heard of NFTs that’s ok too. In this article I’ll go over how to come up with ideas for a collection, different approaches, styles and techniques you can use. Plus concepts like added value, minting on OpenSea and getting the word out.
For context, NFT stands for non-fungible token. Something that is fungible can be replaced by an identical replica. Whereas something that is non-fungible cannot. NFTs are tokens that store unique sets of data and are certified proof of ownership, like a deed. They can be used for all sorts of things. Including creating art.
How to create an NFT
In theory NFTs are quite simple to make. All you need is one of the required file formats for a marketplace, a wallet, some ETH and an account on that marketplace. From there it’s as easy as filling out a form, hitting create and then waiting for the process to complete. Once done you’ve effectively created an NFT.
In reality it’s not quite that simple.
Art in its final form is a product. Professional artists create bodies of work around concepts and themes they want to explore. Sometimes those bodies of work are replicated by various methods, i.e. lithography. As a whole that body of work is a collection. A lot of thought and intent go into the planning, creation, promotion and marketing of an artist’s work.
If you’re looking to create an NFT collection then it’s going to take some thought and planning. With NFT art being a trending topic it’s extremely hard to stand out in a crowded space. Therefore it’s really essential to try and be unique.
As a Product Designer I’m faced with challenges everyday that require me to thoughtfully think through my intentions and actions when trying to create a solution for whatever problem presented. As part of this I follow and partake in the product design process. It’s a cycle used to plan and release new products as well as feature enhancements.
Much like the development of digital products, an NFT collection is no different. In essence it is a product existing alone or in a portfolio of products. That product should solve a problem, fill a void and add value to its consumers. One of the first things to consider when you set out to create an NFT collection is what will make it unique.
This can mean a lot of different things and can reach far outside of subject matter, style or even approach. Being unique could be your product roadmap, technical implementation, some form of added bonus, utility or something else all together.
Maybe even all?
Coming up with ideas
If you’ve ever asked an artist where they find inspiration they’ll tell you that it’s around them, everywhere. There is truth in every sentiment of that statement. When you think about it there really is inspiration all around us. I started my initial collections based on stored energy relating to past relationships. The spark to create came from a photo I took of a rose.
The single photo evolved into various collections with different meanings and concepts.
Ideas can come from an unexpected moment and they can also come from mindful intent. My professors would walk us through exercises specifically for this particular purpose. Two that I remember well and use to this day are constraints and judgment free bursts of ideation. By setting constraints I force myself to work within boundaries and aim to find as much creative flexibility as possible. While a short 60-90 second burst of free flowing brainstorming lets me visualize a ton of ideas.
However even with those approaches it can be really hard to come up with ideas that can make your NFT collection unique.
Which is why competitive analysis or even identifying product market fit can be a great place to get a baseline. As an example there are a ton of NFT collections on the market that are being used for profile pictures. Ask yourself why. Take a look at what competitors are doing. Get an idea of what you think is missing in the marketplace. Look around your home for objects that might resonate with popular culture.
The list could go on. Which is why I think this part can become really overwhelming for some.
There are literally a million different ways to be unique and also brainstorm clever ideas. At the end of the day it’s a matter of doing your due diligence as to what you’re interested in, what you want to explore, ideas you may want to share or feelings you might want to provoke. Make a list of all the things you love and start there.
Furthermore, uniqueness and clever ideas are only the start. When creating an NFT collection there are several more aspects I’ve touched on that could lead to your work getting seen.
When I’ve looked at successful collections and spoke to artists and collectors regarding why they think these are more successful than others it’s due to the fact that the originators took the time to really carefully consider all the different aspects of their collections.
When creating an NFT collection one could easily output a ton of different file formats and just upload to their heart’s content.
But the big ones, the ones that are getting attention, the ones that are moving along all seem to have general features that collectors expect but don’t always see executed upon.
A roadmap is something that provides direction and guidance.
In the NFT space a roadmap is a clear explanation of how your project is expected to pan out. Drawn along the timeline are markers and milestones that show collectors what to expect. It gives early adopters a reason to get involved and later evangelize for you. A roadmap is a great way to entice and engage with viewers and a fantastic way to add credibility to your ideas.
Variations, scarcity and rarity are all familiar concepts if you’ve played games like Magic the Gathering or Pokemon. They’re concepts that come into play when assigning value to items higher than others.
The same works in NFT collecting.
Whether your approach is to do a set of 10,000 or 10 having different variations of your work can extend an idea beyond your initial intention, broaden its reach and most importantly create more value for the collectors interested in your work. It’s a way to ensure that they’re making a smart investment and not throwing away hard earned ETH.
Additionally, a big topic right now is added value and utility. Those two things are probably one of the smartest things to consider.
Added value and utility are concepts that are pushing NFTs beyond encapsulating data in an invisible token and creating a recording in a ledger. They’re concepts that are forcing artists and companies to make creative use of this medium. A commonality in purchasing NFTs is receiving unlockable content.
The unlockable content is the added value.
Depending upon the creator this could give me glimpses into the creative process, additional files associated with the works, sketches, thank you notes, actual physical objects, tickets or passes to get into events and more. On top of that utility is the concept of NFTs holding actual use in places like games or the metaverse.
It’s not strange to see a 3d rendering of a temple on OpenSea be sold as an actual 3d rendering of a digital gallery but also have a Minecraft texture pack attached to it. See what I’m saying?
If you’re rushing to the internet trying to learn how to create an NFT collection I don’t blame you. This is a time in our lives when a strange unknown concept can really change tomorrow forever. I covered a lot of topics at a high level in this post. That was intentional.
First off, there will be more to follow. I’ve realized on my journey into the NFT community that it takes time and patience to evolve and grow in space. It also takes the help from others. With this post I wanted to inform you and arm you with basic knowledge that you can use to begin conjuring up your own thoughts.
In subsequent articles to follow I’ll show you how I put the concepts I covered into action and how I am using them to currently build my latest collection Warskullz. I’ll continue the process with how to get setup and mint your first collection on OpenSea. Remember, when setting out to create an NTF collection be thoughtful, think of the collectors and add value.