We already know that staying inspired when you’re creating new Zazzle designs can sometimes be a challenge. This week we have a new creativity tip for you: let the product itself kick start your design idea!
What do we mean by that? Simple: rather than trying to find a product that fits your design, try thinking the other way around. Start by looking at a blank product, and let it guide you to the perfect design for that product.
Once you’ve started looking at a particular product type, ask yourself a few questions:
- What is the shape of the design area?
Differently shaped products can lend themselves to different types of designs. What type of text or artwork fits perfectly in that shape? For example, if you’re taking a look at our invitation products, you might be inspired by one of our new invitation styles.
- What can the product be used for?
Many customers have a specific occasion, event, or project in mind when looking for custom products. Think like a customer and ask yourself what the perfect use for a particular product would be. Is it for a party or celebration? A fun DIY project? A gift for a special someone? Make the purpose of the product apparent to help catch a customer’s interest.
- Why would a customer look for this type of product?
Along the same lines, try to imagine why a customer would be looking for that product. Maybe they’re looking for unique and memorable promotional material for their business, or a fun custom accessory for something they already own. Show your customers why buying the product is a great idea!
- Where is this product going to be used?
Once a customer purchases your product, where will it go? Imagining the final destination of your product can help you think of a design that will look exactly right once it is in your customer’s hands. For home decor products, will the product be a bright centerpiece for a living room, or a soft accent for a nursery? Will an electronics case be used to modernize a business iPad or add eye-catching flair to an otherwise boring phone?
Thinking about a product’s shape, style, and use can get you on the right track to the perfect design that your customers will be looking for. What inspiration have you found from Zazzle products? Don’t forget to check our News forum for any recently added product lines you may have missed!
It’s July 24, 1951, in Phoenix, and a baby named Linda Jean Córdova Carter is born. Aged 5, she makes her TV debut on Lew King’s Talent Show; in high school she performs in a couple of bands. She plays the Sahara Lounge in Las Vegas, and as a minor has to go in and out through the kitchen.
She goes to Arizona State, and drops out to pursue music. Aged 21, she wins Miss World USA. She makes it to the semi-finals at Miss World. Bull’s-eye.
She moves to New York, studies acting, gets parts in B-movies and TV shows like Starsky and Hutch. She’s cast as the lead in The New Adventures of Wonder Woman. She’s an icon.
Lynda Carter did all that and more in under 30 years. Not shabby at all. In honor of her birthday, how could we possibly do her and Wonder Woman justice?
Start with the threads. Turn heads, kick butt, take on the whole world with the Wonder Woman Lasso T-shirt – what else could you do in it?
Back at the desk, conquer the emails, to-do list and a whole day’s work with the help of the Wonder Woman Film Strip Mousepad. She means business, and we know you do, too:
Everywhere else, strap the Wonder Woman Logo Tag to your bag and keep it safe and fierce. Take it with you wherever you go as you keep fighting for justice, equality and peace – we need you more than ever:
Remember: She. Is. Wonder Woman. (As if we could ever forget.)
This is a reminder that this month we’re running a design competition in collaboration with our friends at Fiverr! Fiverr is a community of buyers and sellers where designers, copywriters, and folks with many other talents can sell their creative services. We’re partnering with them on this fun Design Your Home Office Competition and inviting you to join in.
All you have to do is submit a design for a business card, lamp, iPhone case, mug or mouse pad to firstname.lastname@example.org and you’ll be entered in the competition. You can read the full description and prize information here.
Don’t forget to check out Fiverr and happy designing!
Nananana nananana nananana nananana Batday! He’s senior now, man. Respect. And DC Comics is celebrating his 75th anniversary, as you would, with a big, big bang.
Top this: DC Entertainment is partnering with thousands of comic shops, bookstores and libraries across the country to celebrate all things Batman on July 23. It’s like a country-wide Batcave.
That means free special editions of Detective Comics #27 and mega collectibles like a 75th anniversary cape and special Batmasks. Detective Comics #27 will also be downloadable for free at www.readdcentertainment.com for the Kindle, Google Play, Nook and more.
For deets: www.batman75.com.
Basically, this is Bruce Wayne billionaire big. Whoa! So how else can you Batsuit up and join the legions of fans celebrating #Batman75?
Start with your iPhone 5. Get it a Batman Head Mantra Case for instant badass, like a Batmobile for your phone:
Keep your cash in a Batman Image Wallet, safe and protected from Joker and Penguin, and anyone else who comes your way:
Or toast the villain yourself with a classic Joker Graffiti Tee. There’s nothing more iconic and awesomely evil than that big gashed mouth:
Now you just need your Robin, and you’re good to fly.
Congratulations to this week’s winner of the #zazzlemade contest, Justin Graves! We loved this great photo of his matching stickers, laptop case and phone case.
To see all of the fun #zazzlemade entries, visit http://bit.ly/1kjW5eg. To enter your own photo of a #zazzlemade product, simply tag an Instagram post or Tweet with #zazzlemade! All Facebook entries can be submitted directly here.
Wondering how to make the most of all of the customization options that Zazzle designs have to offer? Here are our best tips for creating tip-top templates that will give your customers the most options for personalizing their purchases.
1. Make your text or image elements template object
When creating a design, you can make the most of your customer’s personalization experience by already marking each customizable image or text field as a template in our design tool. By making template objects, you’re making it even easier for your customer to make your design their own! On your product page, each field that your customer can edit will be immediately visible, without having to click on the “Customize it” button.
You can make a design element a template object with these easy steps:
- Select the text field or image you would like to make a template
- Click on the gear icon
- Check the box “Make this a template object”
- Enter the product page label. This will be the name of the field that the customer sees when they are on your product’s page. For example, you might enter “Bride’s name” for the product page label if you are marking the text area where your customer will enter the bride’s name on a wedding invitation.
- Name the URL parameter. Make sure this is an entirely unique name, as having duplicate URL parameter names will cause errors in customizing!
- Make sure that the box for “Allow editing on product page” is checked
2. Allow as many template fields as possible
Now that you know how to make a design element a template object, you can start thinking even more about how this feature can help your customers create their perfect product. Maybe one customer loves the default message on your product, but isn’t as in love with the border design. Another customer might think the border is perfect, but would rather change the message to their own words. Making more design elements into template objects means even more opportunities for the perfect personalization of your product for your customer.
3. Be generic in your design but specific in your title, description and tags
This is a particularly handy tip for products with themes which include a year, such as holiday greetings . For a holiday card for this year, make sure you use the actual year “2014” in your product’s title, description, and tags so that customers can easily find your current design.
In the design itself, mark your text field for the year as a template object and use the template text “20XX”. Your customer will be able to enter in the appropriate year during their customization, and you will have a design that won’t be outdated for next year! When 2015 rolls around, all you’ll need to do is update your title, description, and tags without having to publish an entirely new design.
4. Variety is key
The holidays can mean many different things to many different people! Offering a wide range of designs, styles, and messages will help your customers find just what they’re looking for. Try themes like Christmas, general holidays, winter, Hanukkah or New Year’s and styles like photo templates, monogram and family name templates, or patterns.
5. Don’t forget matching products
A perfectly customizable product needs perfectly customizable accessories! If you’re making a card or invitation, don’t forget to create matching products to go with it such as stamps, labels, stickers, envelopes, and more.
Congratulations to Jennifer, whose photo of her adorable custom coaster is this week’s winner of our #zazzlemade sweepstakes! She writes, “Thank you @Zazzle for our super cute new coasters 😃 #byebyebachelorpad”
To see all of the fun entries, visit http://bit.ly/1kjW5eg. To enter your own photo of a #zazzlemade product, simply tag an Instagram post or Tweet with #zazzlemade. All Facebook entries can be submitted directly here.
Today we’re talking with Barbara McConkey, the multi-talented artist from Zazzle shop WasabiRose, about her artistic journey and graphic design career.
Zazzle: Tell us about you! Where are you from/where do you live?
Barbara: I’m a graphic designer and mixed media artist originally from California but I now live in Washington state. I live with my husband and three kids, and work from my home office for my design business called InForm Design.
I’m very active in my community as a volunteer for nonprofit organizations. I specialize in work for nonprofits, so they are my regular customers and I often donate my design services to them as well.
Zazzle: What is your background in art and design? When did you first start creating?
Barbara: I started creating at a very early age! I was always creating something: sewing, drawing, or building things. As I got older I learned about a whole bunch of different artistic mediums, so over time I tried out a lot of different creative pursuits.
As a young adult I started a career in graphic design. I didn’t go to school for it, but just got started when computers began to come in to play in the graphic design field. I learned along with the rest of the industry. The other thing about my creativity is that, while I was really confident in my professional life as a graphic designer, I struggled privately to find myself as an artist. I was looking for that special niche thing that was going to be mine. It was frustrating to me because I was trying so many different things – felt-making, sculpture, pottery, and photography– and then I realized that I was in love with all of them! It took me a long time to figure out that I am a mixed media artist. I thought I was looking for one thing when I was really looking for a lot of them. So, I do a little bit of everything!
Zazzle: Where do you find inspiration for your creations?
Barbara: I like to paint, so sometimes my designs will be inspired by something I painted or drew. I have some painted designs in my store, as well as some computer drawn images. I’ve found I can even use some of my collage designs on Zazzle. I can use a variety of the things I do as long as they are 2 dimensional. I also do a lot of black and white pattern work.
I’m very inspired by my pets. My yin yang cat design is very popular! That one was definitely inspired by my cats. I volunteer for a Japanese nonprofit organization in town, and have many Japanese friends, so that’s really inspired me as well. That definitely played into the yin yang cat design, and the design called Dragonfly Journey. Those are two of my more popular ones.
Other designs like the tattoo inspiration ones with black and white patterns are from sketchbook drawings I’ve done over time, and from tattoo designs that I’ve created for people.
“Shine” is a digital collage that was meant to look like a silk screen print. That one was really just for fun – I do a lot of sketching and I ended up drawing this bird, and then was inspired by my son who is a musician to add the guitar and other musical elements. That’s a happy one!
Zazzle: How did you get started with Zazzle?
Barbara: I heard about Zazzle online; I just ran into it while looking for something online and thought it was cool. I decided to set up a little shop and see how it would do with offering design work, but not having to worry about all that goes with the sale of physical art. It’s nice that Zazzle handles everything and I don’t have to worry about things like shipping.
Zazzle: Which are your favorite Zazzle products?
Barbara: T-shirts are good sellers, and I like designing them. Also mugs and bags – the tote bags are great. I like that there are also print products like the posters. There are just so many options! I love how easy it is to put your designs on so many different kinds of things, like phone cases. People are always looking to have a unique phone case, and with Zazzle you can get just about anything. I really like the necklaces a lot, too, and they’ve done well. They’re very pretty!
Zazzle: What advice would you give new Zazzlers starting out with their own store?
Barbara: Use your best ideas. Post the ones that are your absolute best. Make sure that you follow the templates as well, that makes a big difference with how designs look on the products. You want to make sure they’re scaled properly and that the proportions are correct. The biggest thing would be to really think like a shopper when you’re tagging your products. Tags make a huge difference! It took me a while to figure it out but if you keep working at it you’ll get the right tags and find that people will be able to find your designs much more easily.
Try your designs on a lot of different products, and also try designing for the product so that you’re thinking of the product itself when you’re designing. Make sure you have enough products, so that you have a good variety and customers have more options.There are also neat tools Zazzle provides like the flash panel so that you can show off your work. Try showing it on Facebook and other social media to get the word out.
I’ve had a great experience on Zazzle – it took a while to build my sales, but you do eventually get a decent-sized audience and start to see income. It takes time to get out there, but don’t give up hope!
Ah, the Seine! You’d have to be crazy to go to Paris and not spend some time on the Seine. Forty centuries before Paris was born, farmers and herders settled on the left bank of the Seine, reportedly because the sound of the river here was so soothing for man and beast alike.
The river is named for the goddess Sequana, known for her healing ability and her love of waterfowl. When the Romans founded their city of Lutetia Parisiorum here, they depended on the Seine as their major trade artery connecting all of Gaul.
Since then, the banks of the Seine have drawn countless generations of painters, filmmakers and lovers throughout the centuries, who come to be touched by the river’s incomparable magic. From Serrault to Godard, artists have incorporated the sensuous curves of the Seine into their iconic visions. Today, a trip to Paris is virtually defined by sitting at a cafe on the Seine, looking out on the Île de la Cité and Notre Dame. Even seasoned travelers can see Paris with new eyes when they ride a bateaux past the Eiffel Tower and magnificent Musée d’Orsay, sampling the world’s best cuisine with a bottle of champagne.
The only problem with the Seine is that you have to leave it eventually. How can you leave behind the mysterious heart of the City of Lights? Simple: don’t. Bring the Seine home with posters that evoke its ancient, sinuous majesty.
Relive the moment you discovered the Seine, with bateaux gathered along the Left Bank in a black and white composition that recalls the ghosts of Godard in his heyday.
The sun is setting on the Eiffel Tower as your bateaux dinner cruise begins. As the twilight darkens the skies above the Seine, the City of Lights is about to twinkle into life.
Approaching the Musée d’Orsay from the Seine presents you with the most dramatic view of Paris’ greatest former railway station and the world’s most prestigious home for Impressionist and Post Impressionist painting and sculpture.
It’s hard not to wish you were in Paris right now, isn’t it?