Don’t Waste Your Redbubble Tags – Avoid These Keywords!

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Don’t Waste Your Redbubble Tags – Avoid These Keywords!
Many keywords & punctuation marks get stripped from Redbubble product tags & search results. Find out which ones to remove to improve your searchability...
Page Updates:
20 April 2020: Some words like ‘photo’, which I previously stated did not apply a filter, now do, so I’ve changed that info.

8 May 2020: Added info on button pins and masks.
10 August 2020: Added info on broad category filters, masks, backpacks, duffle bags, puzzles


If you are a Redbubble artist, you know the standard tag/keyword advice: add as many relevant keywords as possible to your uploaded artworks. Currently, Redbubble recommends having at least 15 tags, and allow up to 50. But what if you are wasting some of your precious keyword slots? Its likely you already are. How? By using keywords and characters that Redbubble filters out.

What Do You Mean, 'Filters Out'?

If you type a product keyword into a Redbubble search, it will trigger a product category search, only showing products of that category.

​For example, if I type in “journal positive aspects“, the word “journal will apply a filter to show only hardcover journals with “positive aspects” in the tags. Also, sometimes the product word itself will disappear from the search bar, as it has below.

Screenshot of Redbubble search for "journal positive aspects"
My Book of Positive Aspects by JessicaAmber
Stay Positive by Yarkos

 ​(The category will appear in the search bar on full-width desktop browsers)

Screenshot of Redbubble search bar for "journal positive aspects" in desktop browser

What Types of Keywords Does Redbubble Filter?

Product Keywords

So, what keywords do Redbubble filter out when customers perform a search? Mainly, ones that relate to products they offer. This is done to make the customer experience better: instead of getting every person who puts art on a t-shirt to add “t-shirt” to their tags, it’s added automatically!

However, this can have a negative impact on artists who are trying to use as many relevant tags as possible – some keywords you want to use will get filtered out, making it harder to get views and sales.

For example, let’s say you have designed an artwork that actually has a t-shirt on it, like this:

A mockup t-shirt design with a t-shirt on it and the text "I Love T-Shirts"
T-shirt base graphic by start2finish from Pixabay
The lame design? That's 100% me!

How will people be able to find it? If they search “t-shirt“, only actual t-shirts will appear.
We’d have to use non-filtered keywords that are synonyms to “t-shirt“, like “top” in this situation.

Just to be clear, I’m pretty sure most clothing sites and search engines have this problem. That’s why I had to make a mockup design – I could not find a genuine *t-shirt on a t-shirt* image because its so hard to search for!

The following are product-related words that Redbubble filters when doing a search on their website. Using one of these words will trigger a relevant product category search.

** means plural form only

Broad Categories

These are the broad category keywords, that will apply a filter to bring up a range of products.

Clothing / Clothes / Garment(s) / Apparel

This brings up t-shirts, tank tops, sweatshirts,  hoodies, miniskirts, leggings and dresses.

Phone Case(s)

This brings up Samsung and iPhone cases.

Wall Art 

This brings up art prints, art board prints, canvas prints, framed prints, metal prints, mounted prints, photographic prints and posters.

Home Decor / Decor

The filter will bring up the following products: Acrylic blocks, aprons, bath mats, bedding, clocks, coasters, jigsaw puzzles, magnets, mugs, pillows and cushions, shower curtains and tapestries.

Doesn’t work if you manually type in home & living, home and living, home-and-living, etc. despite that being the label on the main Redbubble navigation bar

Kids Clothes
This phrase will bring up the following products: baby and kids t-shirts, toddler and kids pullover hoodies, long sleeve and short sleeve baby one-pieces,  and kids masks. Filter not triggered by the phrase Kids & Babies.

Accessory / Accessories
This word will bring up the following products: Backpacks, drawstring bags, duffle bags, masks, pins, scarves, socks, tech accessories [iPad cases and skins, iPhone wallets, laptop skins and laptop sleeves], tote bags, water bottles and zipper pouches.

This brings up greeting cards, hardcover journals, pencil cases [AKA zipper pouches], postcards and spiral notebooks.


 When uploading art, you can select up to two mediums. These mediums will also apply a filter if used in the search bar. For example, typing “digital portrait” will apply the Digital Art filter, and within that, search for anything tagged with the word “portrait”.

Digital, Digital Art
Displays all images tagged as ‘Digital Art’

Design, Illustration
Displays all images tagged as ‘Design and Illustration’

Displays all images tagged as ‘Drawing’

Painting, Mixed Media
Displays all images tagged as ‘Painting and Mixed Media’

Photo, Photograph, Photography, Photographic
Displays all images tagged as ‘Photography’

The word “mixed” on its own is unfiltered, as is “media” and “art”. 

Filters are also dependent on what language you are viewing the site in. For example, the Spanish word for photography, fotografía, does not trigger the Photography filter when used on the English version of Redbubble.

Specific Products


  • Dress
  • Hoodie
  • Leggings** / tights**
  • Pullover
  • Skirt
  • Sweatshirt
  • Tshirt / t-shirt / tee / shirt


  • Apron(s)
  • Backpacks**
  • Bag [for drawstring and tote bags]
  • Duffle bags** / duffel bags**
  • Face mask  / mask
  • Pin / button / badge
  • Scarf
  • Socks**
  • Tote / totebag


  • Bat mat
  • Bottle
  • Clock
  • Comforter / throw
  • Coaster
  • Duvet
  • Jigsaw puzzle / puzzle
  • Journal / diary / notebook
  • Mug
  • Pillow
  • Pouch
  • Tapestry

Tech Accessories

  • iPad
  • iPhone
  • Samsung

Art Prints

  • Card
  • Postcard
  • Poster
  • Print
  • Sticker
    • Car sticker
    • Window sticker
    • Car window sticker – selects transparent sticker finish

Gift-Related Keywords

Gift-related keywords will also disappear when included in search results. This includes the words “gift(s)” and “present(s)“.

Keywords with No Filter

These are keywords that appear in the titles of various Redbubble products, but have been tested and shown to not have a product filter applied to them. So they are safe to use in your product tags.


  • Baby
  • Blouse
  • Chiffon
  • Kids
  • Premium
  • Redbubble
  • Short sleeve
  • Sleeveless
  • Tank / tanktop
  • Toddler
  • Top


  • Backpack
  • Drawstring
  • Duffle / dufflebag / duffel
  • Sock


  • Bath
  • Bathmat
  • Book
  • Cup
  • Curtain
  • Floor
  • Hardcover
  • Home
  • Homewares
  • Jigsaw
  • Mat
  • Pencil / Pencilcase
  • Shower
  • Spiral
  • Travel
  • Wallet
  • Water
  • Zipper

Tech Accessories

  • Case
  • Cover
  • Galaxy
  • Laptop
  • Long sleeve
  • Phone
  • Skin
  • Tech

Art Prints

  • Acrylic
  • Block
  • Board
  • Certificate
  • Frame / framed
  • Greeting
  • Metal
  • Mini
  • Photographer
  • Wall

Other safe keywords include:

  • Keywords relating to who a gift is for:
    • for him, for her, for friends, for teens, for them, 
  • Keywords relating to cheapness:
    • budget, affordable, cheap, expensive

Recommended Post

What is the Golden Keyword Strategy?

The order of your tags matters more than you think! Read this article about how important your first tag is, to increase customer attention!

Unique Case: Duplicated Keyword Search

A flagged keyword can be seen and used in rare cases where the person conducting a product search types the flagged keyword twice.
Here is an example: Searching for the words puzzle jigsaw puzzle will bring up all the jigsaw puzzles that also have the word ‘puzzle’ in their tags.

Screenshot of Redbubble search screen
Here is what the tags look like for the first artwork seen here, Tiger Cubs Watercolor.
List of Redbubble tags on a jigsaw puzzle. The first tag is 'jigsaw puzzle'

‘Jigsaw puzzle’ is the first tag, that’s why this method works.
It’s a bit redundant to use this method on a normal artwork, since the puzzle filter is already getting activated by the first instance of ‘jigsaw puzzle’. The only reason I can forsee of needing to include ‘jigsaw puzzle’ as a tag is if your jigsaw product is a picture of​ a jigsaw. Like this:

Screenshot of Redbubble product screen for a colourful jigsaw puzzle
Colorful Puzzle by Drahmed

Punctuation Stripping

Almost all punctuation gets stripped from Redbubble tags and searches. This is most likely to prevent hackers from injecting malicious code into the product database. The way the stripping affects the word is dependent on whether it is a search term or a product tag.

Product Tags

Punctuation always gets removed from product tags. In most cases, the offending character will be replaced by a single space. Let’s look at some examples.
Product listing for a tapestry with a picture of a typewriter on it
List of product tags. One tags says 'don t stop' with a space instead of an appostrophe

In this “Don’t Stop” design by barlena, the artist has put the artwork’s title into their tags. But, the apostrophe they presumably typed in the phrase ‘don’t stop’ got stripped out and replaced with a space.

So, if I do a search for for “dont stop positivity motivation“, because I’m spelling the word as dont rather than don t (as it appears in the artwork’s tags)  this artwork does not appear.
To find the right artwork, I’d have to use either:
  • the apostrophe’d version “don’t” (which will match the product title, more on that in the next section) or
  • the spaced “don t” (which will match the product tags).
A product search screen for the phrase 'dont stop'
Its a safe guess that the average Redbubble customer will not know the subtleties and rules of product tagging, so they’re not going to type in a strangely-spaced word like “don t“. Therefore, the best thing for us artists to do is remove all the punctuation we can from our product tags.
Or, to be covered in all situations, include all versions – spaced, hyphenated, and no space

Search Terms

The following punctuation has been tested by me, and proven to be stripped from Redbubble searches: Backslash \ Forward slash / Underscore _ Round brackets () Colon : Ampersan & Hashtag # At Sign @ Appostrophe  Exclamation mark ! Question Mark ? Double Quotation produces a 500 server error Hyphen produces a 500 server error If you perform a search with one of these characters, it will be removed from the search. In most cases it will be replaced with a space. But for apostrophes, it will  be removed without a space. Here are some examples:
Screenshot of redbubble search for "all-star"
When searching for the phrase “all-star”, the result is changed to “all star” – the hyphen is replaced with a space in the page heading.
A product search for the phrase 'dyed hair dont care'
In this example, I did a search for “dyed hair don’t care”. In this case, the apostrophe was stripped from the stated result, but not replaced with a space.

Now, let’s say I wanted to search for fan art for the show Bob’s Burgers. With what we know about appostrophes, the search phrase will become “bobs burgers”.

What is really interesting is that typing in “bob’s burgers” and “bobs burgers” those two phrases produced two different result sets.

Redbubble product search for the phrase 'bob's burgers' with an appostrophe
Screenshot of Redbubble search results for "bobs burgers". 1,970 results.

Despite both searches showing ‘Bobs Burgers’ with no appostrophe in the page heading, we are getting a different number of results.
So that means the heading is not the actual text being searched for.

As an amateur programmer, I can reasonably guess that the website is taking the text in the search box and using a function that strips special characters for HTML output. This is just for display. It is having no effect on the actual search results.

So your text in the search box is what is being searched still, regardless of how it appears in the heading.

Next, let’s see what happens if we type in a word that appears in an artwork’s Title but not their tags.

I found this uniquely titled artwork, Mongoo$e 2 by an artist named tttrickyyy

Acrylic block with cartoon art of a mongoose, for sale on Redbubble

This artwork has several tags, including ‘mongoose’, but not ‘mongoo$e’ the way its spelled in the artwork’s title.

So I did a Redbubble search for the word ‘mongoo$e’.

Redbubble product search for the phrase 'mongoo$e'

Even though ‘mongoo$e’ is not a tag on the artwork the artwork still appeared!

That means that title text is searchable, not just tags.

And it also means that if you want a word with valid punctuation to be searchable, you need to include that version in your artwork’s title.

So, if you want to maximise your searchability, put the punctuated word in the title of your artwork, and unpunctuated version in your tags.

Special Case: Asterix and Empty String

The asterisk * is a special character that seems to represents any tag. If entered on its own, it will produce millions of products available on Redbubble – at the time of writing, that was 7,578,312 products.

The asterisk can be used alongside other keywords, but the results are harder to understand. For example, a search of “* flower” will return 6,932,208 results, many of them not featuring flowers at all. (If you can explain what this means, please let me know!)

If you perform a search with nothing in the search box, you’ll get what appears to be every product on Redbubble – 11,090,004 results.

Why is this number different to the asterisk number? My hypothesis is that the asterisk searches for products that have at least one tag, and not products without any tags. That would mean the difference between the empty string search number and the asterisk search could be a count of every product with no tags applied – approx 4 million.

This would be amazing if true, because that means your product competititiveness just improved. By using even one tag, you’re already doing better than 1/3 of Redbubble users!
(Can anyone else verify this?)


Now you’re ready to edit all your product tags, knocking out the words that’ll get filtered, and trimming those pesky punctuation marks.

Are there any tagging tips you’ve come across that you’d like to share? Or another filtered keyword I’ve missed? Pop it into the comments section below.

Peace, love and sunshine,

Handwritten calligraphy-style signature that says 'Jessica' with a heart dotting the i

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Old Comments Archive

Comment from Grace about whether to put a full t-shirt slogan into a Redbubble title