Archive for July, 2010

New Design Tool Changes

July 30, 2010

Howdy folks,

As you may have noticed, we just launched some improvements to our design tool!

  1. Text rotation on all products – this was previously only available on binders
  2. Consistency with our product page – we recently changed the layout of our product page to make it easier to purchase and now our design tool matches and provides a consistent user experience
  3. Fixed several usability issues.

The Changes

Let’s walk through all the changes.

First, as mentioned above, you can now rotate text on all products! This has been one of our most requested features, and it is now available!  Just look for this icon:

This will allow you to do this:

Ok, now onto the rest of the changes!

Main Layout

Design Tool

The screenshot above shows the new layout containing two design objects: an image (“sun_18″), and text (“This is a test”). The first thing to notice is that there are two distinct main actions:

  1. Customize it!
  2. Choose your style and color

By clicking on “2. Choose your style and color”, the panel slides up and displays the product options. Clicking on “1. Customize It!” displays the design tools again.

Design Tool Product Options

The Toolbar

The toolbar contains all options for manipulating your images and text.

Design Tool Image Toolbar

Different icons and options will automatically be displayed depending on what objects you have selected (text or image).

Here’s a list of all the available icons are:

Shrink

Enlarge

Rotate

Select font

Font size

Text color

Text alignment

Fill image

Fit image

Advanced options

Above the icons are two menu items, “Edit” and “Arrange”. The Edit menu contains basic actions that allow you to cut, copy, paste, delete, and change background and border colors.

The Arrange menu provides more actions for centering and aligning objects, rotating, resizing, and sending to front/back.

Re-ordering Layers

When you are working with many objects in one design, the order the objects are stacked in determines which objects appear on top of which when the objects overlap. We’ve made it easier than ever to change the order of your objects. Simply drag them where they need to be!

In the left corner of every object is a textured grip area that you can grab with your mouse and drag. In the example above, we are dragging the blue circle image above the red circle.

Posting For Sale

The Post For Sale button has been changed to a link. You can still find it under the design controls area, next to the Email links.

The button was too prominent and was a bit confusing to new users who simply wanted to customize and purchase an item for themselves.

More info

For more detailed information, please read our Design Tool Basics help topic, or just start creating now!

Foto Friday – Earn $5 with your Zazzle photos!

July 30, 2010

Check out this week’s Foto Friday Fun!

What’s Foto Friday? It’s our weekly blog post of customers enjoying their Zazzle products. Want to join in the fun and earn $5 towards your next Zazzle order? Read below for details on how to participate in Foto Friday.


Brazil Shirts


Grammarpunk T-Shirt

Want to join in? It’s easy and fun! For every photo you send us we’ll give you $5 to use on your next Zazzle order. So get started taking those pictures and join in on the Foto Friday fun!
Rules:

  1. You must be in the photo holding, wearing, hugging, or otherwise enjoying your Zazzle product
  2. If the product is available in the public Zazzle Marketplace, include the product link
  3. Be creative and have fun!

You can tweet your photos to @zazzle or do it the old fashioned way by emailing them to community@zazzle.com.

Zazzle’s First Annual Chili Cook-Off

July 29, 2010

Today was Zazzle’s first Annual Chili Cook-Off! 11 Zazzlers entered their wonderful chili recipes, from spicy to savory, in a contest for prizes and to share their secret creations with the entire office. The contest was judged by a panel of four AWESOME judges (yes I happened to be a judge) that chose their winner based on flavor, aroma, and creativity. It was hard to judge, but in the end, Zazzler Eric won with his exceptional green chili. Eric described it as a, “…New Mexico Chile Verde made with organically grown pork shoulder and hatch chilies from a small farm in NM.” For winning first prize Eric received a trophy that is, um… very unique. I’ll let you guys guess what the trophy is in the comments. See below for pictures.


The contestants


The awesome judges


It’s chili time!


There was a lot to judge…


The Winner, Eric with his special “trophy”


The Judges with the Winner

Thanks to all the Zazzle Team Members that submitted a chili!

Zazzle Featured Seller Interview with Strangeling

July 29, 2010

Jasmine, of the Zazzle store Strangeling, was kind enough to answer some questions about her inspirations, her art, and her time at Zazzle.  Check out the interview below and don’t forget to check out her store Strangeling!

Balloon Chariot Mousepad

Bio: Jasmine Becket-Griffith is a full time fantasy artist working in acrylic paints.  You may recognize her paintings from countless books, magazines and merchandise lines as well as projects with Disney, the Bradford Exchange, the Hamilton Collection, Hawthorne Village, her dolls from Ashton-Drake, products through stores such as Target, Hot Topic, Spencer’s and more.  Jasmine has been selling her paintings online since 1997 and is well known for her wide-eyed characters that explore fantasy, gothic, fairy, pop surrealism and lowbrow art themes.  Jasmine lives in Celebration, Florida with her husband/assistant Matt and their cats.

Zazzle: What inspires you to paint your Gothic/fantasy worlds?

Jasmine: I have always had an overactive imagination, since I was a little girl.  I very much express myself in my paintings.  A lot of things inspire me – nature, history, travel, art museums, music, books, etc. and I think it all kind of gets mixed together in my head – then I paint it all out on canvas.  A lot of my paintings are self-portraits (though usually highly stylized) to one extent or another.  Sometimes the mundane world is kinda boring, and I use my paintings to make things a bit more interesting.  I paint pretty much all day every day (acrylics on wood or canvas) and have a lot of fun with it.

Zazzle: Out of all of the paintings you’ve done, which one is your favorite?

Jasmine: Wow, that’s hard to say – my favourites change a lot!  I think my favourite painting currently is “Marie Masquerade” – I just came back from Paris and fell in love with Rococo & Baroque portraits.

Marie Masquerade Lowbrow Gothic Rococo Art Print

Zazzle: What got you interested in selling your art on Zazzle, and what’s your favorite Zazzle feature?

Jasmine: Basically, I kept getting requests from fans and collectors of my work who would say “Hey – you need to be on Zazzle” or “Why aren’t you on Zazzle” or “I want to buy your art on t-shirts – can you make me a shirt on Zazzle?” and things like that – LOL.  So finally I just sat down one day and decided to poke around at the Zazzle.com site and was very impressed.  I ordered a few items and the quality was very nice.  Within an hour of opening the box up, I had my first products up on the site!

I love so much about Zazzle, especially the ease in creating new products.  For example, I will finish a painting, scan it in, and then ten minutes later my fans can already have that painting on a t-shirt or a postcard.  It is simply amazing, especially compared to other methods out there.  I also love being able to promote my store too – I post the links in my Facebook and my website, and it provides easy access for my customers and collectors.

Zazzle: Do you have any fun stories about being a seller?

Jasmine: Actually quite a few!  Some of the best things about Zazzle are the ways that it helps put my artwork more in the public eye.  I’ve had some celebrities (musicians, actors) find me through Zazzle, and have also had art directors and publishers find me there (a great portfolio showcase!).  I’ve also had former classmates – even from Elementary School find me and reconnect there, which is pretty funny.  Once I saw an order pop up from “Kachina in Overland Park, KS” which made me laugh out loud – it was my own sister, buying a t-shirt from me, hehe.   The wide variety of people who discover or collect my work through Zazzle never ceases to amuse me!

Zazzle: Any tips you want to share that may help newer Zazzlers?

Jasmine: Hurry and sign up!  Seriously though, I very much recommend it to any artists and designers out there.  It takes hardly a few minutes to join up, and it costs you absolutely nothing.  Putting thought into some of the layouts of the images on the products is important, and I also recommend allowing the viewers to use the “Customize It” option – so many of the people who purchase my items love to customize the products with their name, change the colours, etc. to make it especially for them.  Also – I always make sure to let folks know when Zazzle is running sales – I tell my fan clubs about the new coupon codes, and that always inspires new orders as well as helping people save some money.

Thanks Jasmine!!

Zazzle at Comic-Con 2010!

July 29, 2010

Zazzle had a blast at this years Comic-Con, collaborating on various programs with awesome partners.  We also spent some time rubbing elbows with some hot vampire celebrities.

We made 150 fans very happy with exclusive t-shirts at the premiere screening party for the awe inspiring and ever-offensive Jackass 3D out October 15!

Ugly Americans fans were amped to learn that they can now buy t-shirts featuring their favorite characters through Zazzle.

Quirk Books raffled off a framed print of the now infamous Pride Prejudice and Zombies star zombie lady, but don’t fret – Zazzle will continue clothing the undead.

Finally, an extra special shout out to Capcom whose booth we shared to give away exclusive t-shirts for: Street Fighter, Final Fight, and Ace Attorney – available on Zazzle only through August 15, 2010.

The Vampire celebrities – Mr. Hulk himself – The Jackass’ – even the President and Sarah Palin showed up in San Diego!

Seller Wednesday – It’s Christmas in July: How to Prep for the Holiday Season

July 28, 2010

It’s never too early to start thinking about the winter holiday season! Many Zazzle sellers are already in full blown holiday prep mode, getting their stores and products ready for the biggest sales time of the year.  See below for the first of many Seller Wednesday’s devoted to holiday preparedness.

A color and design theme across popular holiday products will create consistency for the customer, and encourage them to buy the additional matching products!

Here are few holiday themes our ProSellers have found to be popular during the holiday season!

-          Blue and White Holiday – snowflakes, starry nights, winter chill

Stylish Light Blue Snowflakes Invitations Snowflake Wedding InvitationSwirl Christmas Tree in Blue and White Postage
SocialiteDesignsWasootch PheteFirst
Christmas Tree MugsSnowflake Customize Happy Holidays StickerWhite Golden Doodle Christmas Card
Zazzleproducts1indolilly - cowboyannie
Tree Reflections CardChristmas Snowflakes Blue EnvelopeBeautiful Christmas Greeting Card
timelesscreationsBluePlanetXmasMall

-          Red and White Holiday – Santa, Christmas decorations

Red Artsy Santa Copy Card Holly Jolly Christmas Dog T-ShirtHappy Holidays Postage
FromSantasDesk - maggie02GLManley
Snowman Tree Ornament PhotosculptureRed Frame Merry Christmas Photo Greeting CardHappy Holidays Christmas Ribbon Postage
Ricsaso_occasionsCards_by_CathyNotionsbyNique
Christmas Polar Bear Card
christmastees

-          Red and Green Holiday – traditional Christmas colors

Baking Stirring Bowl Christmas Kitchen Gift Tag Business CardsCute Holiday Snowman T-ShirtHappy Holidays Gift Tags Stickers
CulinaryNoteCardsJKcodersaintnicholas
Pika Holiday Santa Hat Rabbit Bunny CardMerry Christmas CardRed Green Ornament Christmas Holiday Custom Party Invitation
RabbitBunniesJerryLambertFidesDesign

-          Natural Holiday – pine cones, holly, icicles

Happy Holly Days CardIce Crystal Holiday CardCountry Christmas Embroidered Shirt
loraseversonWoodsWalker - Christmas_tshirts
Little Christas Tree 1.5 BinderMerry Christmas Pine Cone CardSeason of Love Postage
Specialeeteeselizdesignsseashell2
Merry Christmas Pine Cone Card
Kayatiyu

-          Tropical Holiday

Merry Christmas T-ShirtChristmas At The Beach InvitationCustom Tropical Christmas Binder
Christmas_T_ShirtsTrenneaCowPieCreek
Hawaiian Style Holiday Card
Reflekshins

-          Funny Holiday

Reindeer Gamer CardMoose Head Icicle Antlers Oh Dear ButtonBahhhhh Humbug Mug
AnotherfortArtful_Animalzjasminesphotography
Griswold Family Christmas T-ShirtHoliday Migraine BagAlien Christmas Photocard
GoodToGoTeesHumbugVillageorsobear

-          Vintage/Retro

Red Horse and Carriage MugVintage Santa Claus EnvelopeSanta Toys Mug
TMNgraphics- ChristmasCafe- Memory_Lane
Retro 50s Style Holiday Season Photocard
malibuitalian

-          Religious – Hanukkah, Virgin Mary, Kwanzaa

Hanukkah Star of David PostageHanukkah Blue Ornaments PhotocardFeliz Navidad Christmas Card
StarstreamdesignsStarStock - Stuccoloco
Hanukkah Greeting Embroidered ShirtBabys First Chanukah Dreidel TshirtsKwanzaa Card
Embroidery4ULyndasLinesShopaholicchick

-          Other

Christmas Buddha Drawing T-Shirt Christmas Ferret Gift Tags StickersHip and Chic Holiday Tree Photo Card Invitation
livingzenCartoonizeMyPetNicChic
Old Town Christmas Photo Card InvitationBoston Terrier Christmas Card
mistyqenormagolden

Tips and Tricks:

Remember Holiday shopping begins the day after Halloween and sometimes before. People online must shop early so they can ensure delivery in time for the holiday, so don’t delay add today! – Shopaholicchick

Dog Cat Mouse T-Shirt

Want to promote your store? Share a tip in the comments, and we’ll include it in our next holiday blog post and maybe even the seller newsletter!

Meat Pancakes – A Birthday Celebration

July 26, 2010

Birthday celebrations can be a tad unorthodox at Zazzle and the celebration for Zazzle Team member Demian was no exception.

Demian loves two things in life, Ironman and pancakes. This of course makes for an easy birthday recipe – Ironman themed decorations with lots of pancakes. But, it’s Zazzle, we couldn’t make normal pancakes with syrup! Say hello to meat pancakes; pancakes combined with bacon, sausage, and ham, turning a boring breakfast into a pork-blasted breakfast experience. Suffice to say everyone was stuffed (the whole team ate a combine 22lbs of pork) and Demian was pleased. Pictures below.

Want the recipe? It’s easy:

  1. Grill ham, bacon, and sausage
  2. Make pancake batter
  3. Add pork to pancakes
  4. Eat pancakes with lots of syrup and butter
  5. Repeat

Winners of the Zazzle T-Shirt Giveaway!

July 23, 2010

The Zazzle T-Shirt Giveaway on Facebook is now over! We received many great entries, but in the end the voters decided the winners. As we said in the contest rules, the ten groups with the most votes would win the t-shirts. However there was a tie at tenth place…so now eleven groups get 100 free t-shirts! See below for the winning groups and see all the entries here! Thanks everyone for participating!

  1. Noah’s Quest Votes: 473
  2. Miracle for Madison & Friends (378 votes)
  3. East Tennessee Bloodhound Rescue (349 votes)
  4. Brian Littrell’s Healthy Heart Club (264 votes)
  5. Austin’s Warriors (263 votes)
  6. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (223 votes)
  7. My T-Spot (215 votes)
  8. We’re Doin’ It In Jamaica (178 votes)
  9. Fighting Leukemia with Grant (168 votes)
  10. Phoenix Lake Stables (161 votes)
  11. Al Rio Fans & Followers (161 votes)

Missed your chance? Check our Facebook often; there might be a new contest in the works…

Foto Friday – Earn $5 with your Zazzle photos!

July 23, 2010

Check out this week’s Foto Friday Fun!

What’s Foto Friday? It’s our weekly blog post of customers enjoying their Zazzle products. Want to join in the fun and earn $5 towards your next Zazzle order? Read below for details on how to participate in Foto Friday.


Campeones del Mundo 2010 T-shirt

Want to join in? It’s easy and fun! For every photo you send us we’ll give you $5 to use on your next Zazzle order. So get started taking those pictures and join in on the Foto Friday fun!
Rules:

  1. You must be in the photo holding, wearing, hugging, or otherwise enjoying your Zazzle product
  2. If the product is available in the public Zazzle Marketplace, include the product link
  3. Be creative and have fun!

You can tweet your photos to @zazzle or do it the old fashioned way by emailing them to community@zazzle.com.

Zazzle Featured Seller Interview with Pip Gerard

July 22, 2010

Pip, of the Zazzle store Pip_Gerard, was kind enough to answer some questions about her inspirations, her introduction to Zazzle, and her time as a Zazzler.  Check out the interview below and don’t forget to check out her store Pip_Gerard!

Bridal Shower Japanese Blooms Custom Invitation

Zazzle: First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Pip: I spent a wonderful 7 years working at Pan Macmillan Publishing Australia. I learned so very much there and the people there were just wonderful.  The excitement of meeting celebrities & authors through their books was a real rush too.  I cannot say enough good things about my time there.  I wouldn’t be doing what I am now on Zazzle without that time at Pan because that is where I learned most about computers, internet html and where I first self taught myself Paint Shop Pro.  Without doing that I would never have then moved onto teaching myself the Adobe Creative Range of Software.

I left Pan Macmillan to have my son and did not return.

I worked briefly part time in a Kodak Photo Store, and during that time purchased a Canon Digital SLR Camera which helped re-ignite my creative passion for designing, because through photography I learned Photoshop inside & out.  After that, I then had the confidence to start delving into vector art & design, beginning first in Photoshop & then moving onto Illustrator.

Once I started designing, I truly knew it was what I wanted to do in my life.  I played around with t-shirt designs & photography until I realized stationery was where my heart was. Designing on Zazzle honestly makes me very happy.  I’m very, very thankful that I can do what I what do from home and love it so very much.

Zazzle: What inspires you to create art?

Pip: Everything & anything. I’ve constantly got my ‘design’ eye working and looking for inspiration and ideas… that’s part of the most fun I have with designing.  I see inspiration in all kinds of places, from a pub’s menu, a store catalogue, even in places like a children’s book.  And I’m always eying other people’s fridges to see what they’ve got hanging on there. I keep a pen & paper handy in my bag, as well as beside the bed for writing down new ideas (especially for those rare times when a funny t-shirt slogan may just hit me).  I learned the hard way when I thought up what I thought was a great slogan one night before sleep and couldn’t for the life of me remember it the next morning!

Zazzle: Out of all of the designs you’ve created, or photos you’ve taken which one is your favorite?

Pip: So many are ‘special’ to me for different reasons.  But I would have to say for sure that my favorite overall would be my ‘Retro Circle Tree’ that I’ve adapted and used on all kinds of stationery, from business cards, wedding invitations, baby shower invitations, to moving house postcards & birthday stationery!

For many years I’d been sidetracked from painting, because I was too busy with things like photography, Adobe software, black line drawing, as well as the little task of bringing up a little baby boy.

So once those things weren’t foremost on my thoughts & to do’s, (& the little boy was at the more independent age of 5) I prepared to get more involved in my creative mediums, so went out and purchased new materials. I finally sat down one night and decided to paint. I chose watercolour paints, because back when I did painting at art school, I used to enjoy it the most out of all paint mediums. I enjoyed that night of painting so much, that once I finished that tree I was hooked!  Now I’m constantly trying to find ways to adapt watercolour or acrylic painting into my designs, and am always looking for new and different ways of using it and displaying it digitally.

Personal Business Card

Zazzle: What got you interested in selling your art on Zazzle?

Pip: My lovely Mum, Zazzler Lornie got me onto Zazzle when she first heard about it from someone else.  My Mum is a wonderful artist and has always been an inspiration to me.  We both seem to have a passion for creating in us.

When I started on Zazzle over a year ago I was just dabbling in some creative fun.  I wasn’t taking it seriously like I have been for at least the last 6 months. Now, my designs and store are on my mind most of the time.

Zazzle: Do you have any fun stories about being a seller on Zazzle?

Pip: I’d recently purchased a few sets of my own business cards and designed some flyers that were a sample catalogue of products I sell here, and I decided to post them all around my local area.

I had only just left them at my local Community Centre and Children’s Play Centre, when I was contacted by a local lady that said she was walking out of the maternal health centre, (baby & toddler in tow), when, she said, my business card just jumped out at her.  She said she just had to grab it. She said she looked up my store when she got home and told me she was so impressed that she just had to contact me and let me know what she thought.  Not only that, but she also managed to get 15 of her friends to ‘follow’ my Facebook page in the meantime.

Well that in itself absolutely thrilled me, but then she contacted me two days later to say she was at the local children’s playcentre (the ONLY other place that had my business cards) when she saw a lady walk past with my business card in hand. She stopped her and said ‘Aren’t they just gorgeous business cards?’ and the woman said she’d picked it up to give to her friend for baby thank you ideas. She then said she went back to all her friends she was there with and talked about my store for a good while. They all then got a card and flyer to take home!

Well the coincidence of it all really floored me!! Then I realized how much free publicity I’d received from one business card!!

Zazzle: Great story Pip! Do you have any tips that may help new Zazzlers?

Pip: The internet is such a massive pond and each one of us are very tiny fish.  To start a ripple effect you need to make a very big & consistent effort at making a splash first. Then it takes time for the ripple effect to reach you.

Also,  I think you have to love what you do as well as making sure you do it honestly & right. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than designing and I like to hope that my love for what I do shines through.

Thanks Pip!!


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