Sunday, August 30, 2009

Using Zazzle's "Quick Create"

A Tutorial for the Beginner
by Marian Cates 

Used with permission of
Zazzle shopkeepers have two ways of creating products with their artwork and designs on them. The first is to create one item at a time. The other is to use "Quick Create."

The idea with "Quick Create" is that you can create "100s" of products, with one piece of artwork or design on them, all in one process. I don't know about 100s, but you can certainly produce quite a few.

The "Quick Create" button is on the upper left-hand side of the Products screen. When you click on that button, you're taken to a screen that says "Get Started" on the top left and "Next" on the top right. Just wait a second and a pop-up screen will greet you shortly. It's on this pop-up screen that you will select which products you want to put your artwork on.

Since you are new to "Quick Create," I suggest that you use the Zazzle defaults. On this pop-up screen, you have a choice, from a drop-down menu, of what you want to create, for instance "All Products" or "Non-Apparel" or "Light Apparel Only," and more categories.

Once you've made this choice, you select your artwork or design by clicking inside the little box in the center of the screen. This little box says "YOUR IMAGE HERE." When you click on it, you will be taken to you your Zazzle Images page. You can either select one of your previously uploaded images or upload, from your computer, the image you want to place on the Zazzle products you've chosen.

At the bottom of the little box, you have the choice of whether to use "fit" or "fill" formatting. I won't address these options, as they are choices for an experienced user. You can just skip over them and hit "Create."

The next screen that comes up (see below) will show all the products you just chose on the pop-up screen. The products will have your artwork or design on them.  At this point, you can delete any of the products that you do not wish to create.

The words "customize" and "options" are above the image of each product.

CUSTOMIZE: If you choose customize first, you will be able to adjust the artwork on the product. You may decide to put the artwork on the back of the tee, rather than on its front. You may need to move the placement of the artwork on the product. You may want or need to re-size the artwork. Then, if you want to pick a new style and/or color, you click the options tab on this same screen.

OPTIONS: If you choose options first, you go to the options screen first, where you can select product style and color. Once you've chosen your color/style of product, you can click on the word "customize." Then you are taken to customization, where you can customize your product (as described above).
When you have all the products as you want them, you hit the "next" button (you will find a next button at both the top right and bottom right of the screen). Now you go to the final screen where you name your group of products, describe them, and add your tags. Then you select categories that fit your artwork, and add your markup.

Next is the verification process with letters and numbers that you must enter, to prove that you are an actual human being and not a machine.

Finally, click "Post It." Your products go automatically into your shop, although they will pass through "in-progress" products. You don't need to do anything else to your products while they are "in-progress." The duration of the "in-progress" status varies from minutes to days, so be patient.

When you are creating in "Quick Create," DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, HIT ANY OF THE BROWSER BUTTONS, like "stop" or "refresh."

If you do hit a browser button, you will temporarily lose all the products that you just created. 

However, don't despair. Those "lost" products can be found in your "in-progress" products (look for "in-progress" in the left-hand column of the Product screen). At this point, you will need to complete each product on an individual basis.

Using Zazzle's "Quick Create" is a great way to create many products at once. Just be careful not to use the browser buttons while you are in "Quick Create."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Basic Cafepress Shop

Design by Marian Cates
by Marian Cates

BASIC vs. PREMIUM offers two types of shops: basic and premium. The basic shop is free, while there's a fee for the premium shop. 

Other than cost, the big difference between the two types of shop is: 
  • a basic shop can carry only one of each product offered by Cafepress. For example, only one white long-sleeved tee, only one teddy bear, etc.
  • a premium shop may carry multiples of each product.
At first blush, it seems as if the shopkeeper/designer should use one design for the whole shop. And you can certainly go that way, if you wish. Shopkeepers have succeeded with one-design shops.

However, you can choose to go in another direction. You can create several-to-many designs for your basic shop. Then you sprinkle your designs over your products.

Some products cry out for specially designed variations. These include:
  • framed prints
  • greeting and note cards 
  • black apparel
  • clocks
  • hats and caps
Design by Marian Cates

For those just starting out with a basic Cafepress shop, here are some ideas for simple designs that can be combined to offer variety in a basic shop:
  • text with a strong design
  • text in a design that includes simple attractive elements (like butterflies)
  • text that will show up well on black apparel
  • text that runs in various directions (on a diagonal, vertical, etc.)
These creative variations add spice to your shop. They make it more fun for visitors.

With a one-design shop, your shop is saying, in effect, "One design. Love it or leave it." And unless it's a cut above the rest (a goodly cut), visitors will usually skip ahead with their shopping. In contrast, variations in design catch visitors' attention, so that they pause to look more closely.

Design by Marian Cates

You can use your shop introduction to expand your offerings. By stating in the intro that you will gladly put any of the shop designs onto any of the Cafepress products in the shop, you expand your shop further. As visitors check out your products, they know that they can customize at no extra cost. You can say, for instance, in the intro,

"You'll find a variety of designs in this shop. We are glad to CUSTOMIZE for you by placing your favorite design(s) on the product(s) you want to purchase."

Design by Marian Cates

You can further increase customization by offering to include:
  • someone's name
  • someone's initials
  • a date that is significant to someone
  • someone's favorite quote 
And, voila!, simply through offering design variations, you've transformed your basic shop into a visually interesting, more complex shop. The more variations, the more creative juice for thirsty visitors, drawing them into your shop to get a taste of your artwork.

Bulldog by Marian Cates

Bulldog by Marian Cates
Click for prints, canvases & various products

Burrowing Owl by Marian Cates

Burrowing Owl by Marian Cates
Click for prints and canvases & products

Jack Sprat Mother Goose Rhyme by Marian Cates, from a vintage illustration

Jack Sprat Mother Goose Rhyme by Marian Cates, from a vintage illustration
Click for prints, canvases & products

Robin Hood by Marian Cates, from a vintage illustration