The Most Magical Birthday

By • 1 month ago with one reply

Hello there, Potterhead! If you aren’t one, July 31 marks the birthday of our favorite wizard of all time: Harry Potter, or The Boy Who Lived.  Although we don’t have Hagrid to come and knock down our door to tell us we’re wizards today, we here at Zazzle have some amazing choices for you to represent Hogwarts and Muggles alike.

 

After the owl post brings us good news of acceptance, the moment we’ve all dreamed for is here:

Hogwarts by Moonlight Poster

 

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is no school for the general public. Sit under the Sorting Hat, and be sorted into one of the four houses. Whether you’re a Gryffindor or a Slytherin, we’re all for Hogwarts pride.

Hogwarts Four Houses Crest T-shirt

This tote is perfect to carry at school from your Potions class to History of Magic class. We’d suggest taking it along to Hogsmeade or around town too!

Hogwarts Crest Canvas Bag

 

Harry Potter can summon his butterbeer for himself, but we might not be able to. Last but not least, for those of us who are wizards in training, we’d find this mug handy for home and the office:

Muggle Coffee Mug

Magical or not, we wish you Happy Birthday, Harry!

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Welcome to the new Zazzle blog!

By • 1 month ago with 9 replies already

We are so excited to start a brand new chapter for Zazzle and our community of artists, shoppers, and creative people all over the world!  This new blog adds many new features including better categorization and improved search functionality. Now it’s even easier for you to find the blog posts that you’re looking for!

We want to continue to give you news and updates plus our perspective from the Zazzle headquarters here in Redwood City, California. And of course we will continue to share fun perspectives from our manufacturing facilities in San Jose, California.

Zazzle San Jose 1

Zazzle San Jose 2

Plus, the new blog format works even better on mobile devices and tablets so you can get your Zazzle news on the go.  We’ve posted some of our favorite blog posts from the past (because we just couldn’t let go!).  For example-

  • For designers and our community of artists and makers, we’ll always give you shout-outs and tips and tricks
  • For shoppers who want creative ideas, we’ve got the awesomely creative DIY section this one might be our personal favorite
  • And for insider perspectives on what it’s like working here (not limited to the cute dogs who come to work every day), check out inside Zazzle – we have some great ideas to share
  • For everyone who wants to know the latest updates, you can read about launches and happenings in the news section – like brand new partner stores
  • For the shoppers, we’ve assembled our take on the most popular product picks with suggestions on themes, styles and trends – like the hottest new colors and patterns

 

You can bookmark this site, you can subscribe by email, you can leave us comments or even share on social media.  Let’s start this new chapter together!

 

 

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Punchy ways to make your space pop

By • 1 month ago with no replies yet

We can spice up our lives in obvious ways — add a dash of salt to dinner (not so good for you), go out rocking a rainbow scarf (better for winter). But what about spicing up the house, in more lasting ways than an extra pinch of pepper?

 

Baby step: the accessory. Sit back on the couch (OK, in bed) with a big bowl of popcorn, your favorite sitcom and the Berry Pink Monogram Throw Pillow to cushion your every lazy, slow move. It’s what unwinding’s all about, with added pizzazz:

 

Berry Pink Monogram Pillow

 

Level two: the wall hanging. Sure, you could splatter globs of paint on a blank canvas on the floor and call it a homemade Pollock. Or, save the abstract look for the museum, and fill your walls with words of motivation to love your life and conquer the world. For whenever you need inspiration, the Life Mantra Typography Bright Colors Poster reminds us how to lead a truly colorful life:

 

Life Mantra Positive Typography Poster

 

Finally: go off-the-wall with some technicolor furniture. It gives you light, it brightens your day — the table lamp is your color-filled gateway. The Modern Colorful Herringbone Table Lamp says, I see your increasingly colorful house, and I raise you a snazzy pattern:

Modern Colorful Herringbone Table Lamp

Now all you need is some face paint, hair dye, highlighters and bell peppers, and you’ll be living the color-wheel dream. Live colorfully and prosper.

 

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Featured Designer Interview with Heather Kerr

By • 1 month ago with no replies yet

Heather Kerr, of Zazzle store dreamingmindcards, talks with us about her color inspirations, and how Zazzle helped her become self-employed while learning more design skills on the way.

Zazzle: Tell us about yourself! Where are you from, where do you live?

Heather: I’m from Ontario, Canada, where I’ve lived my whole life. I live with my wonderful husband who works together with me on our Zazzle store, which has been great for both of us.

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Zazzle: What is your background in art and design?

Heather: I’m a self-taught artist. I haven’t had formal training but I’ve always loved all kinds of art. It’s been a passion of mine from the time I could hold a pencil!

blue_photo_vow_renewal_ceremony_invitation_cardWe started our store with paintings in 2007, and that’s actually how I learned to use Photoshop and similar tools. I had to learn how to take photos of my paintings and make them presentable to post online on Zazzle products. I stumbled into the graphic design side of things by learning how to edit my paintings, add text or other graphic elements, and I really fell in love with it.

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Zazzle: How did you get started with Zazzle?

Heather: My husband and I were both working jobs that paid the bills but weren’t what we wanted to be doing. We were looking for a line of work that would be more flexible for the both of us. So, we looked online for something that we could do from home and something that would work with what I always wanted to do anyway: art. That’s how we came across Zazzle.

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We opened our main store in 2010 that started with a few simple greeting cards, and expanded into weddings. It all grew from there with all of the different categories available on Zazzle. There’s been a lot of trial and error but we’ve had a lot of fun with it. It’s been successful, and we’re really pleased with it.

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Zazzle: Where do you find your inspiration?

Heather: Inspiration can come from almost anywhere. We joke now that both my husband and I can recognize patterns from all over: on television, in commercials or magazines – anywhere.

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For me I usually begin with a really inspiring color combination, that’s what will start a design. I especially love bright colors, but even if they’re not bright the colors can say something strongly about what the product is. I like interesting colors, something unexpected. Most of my products start with a color I love so much that I just have to make a product with it.

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Also, there’s so much talent on Zazzle that it really inspires you to become better as a designer. You’re surrounded by such talented people that you want to bring your best.

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Zazzle: What are your favorite Zazzle products to design?

Heather: There’s so much you can do with card and invitation products. There are so many different types of events you might need an invitation for. From there, you can create so many other different types of products, to make nearly everything matching for the event. People always want coordinating sets for their events. You can start with the basic  invitation and build the set from there.

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merry_and_bright_christmas_photo_card_chalkboard

There are so many great new products on Zazzle, too. My latest obsession is the wrapping paper, I love it! We’re also trying out new areas by expanding more into home décor items and phone cases. The lamps are another new product I really like.

holiday_photo_red_stripes_wrapping_paper

dark_blue_custom_family_photo_lamp

Zazzle: What advice do you have for anyone wanting to start their own Zazzle store?

Heather: Patience. At the beginning it can be a lot to learn and a lot to take in. People can underestimate how much time it can take for your products to get out there. Give it time! Pay attention to all of the great advice that’s already out there. There are so many great tutorials, forums posts and other information that you can take advantage of to learn from others who have already done it. The most beneficial thing for me has been learning from others who have already been using Zazzle.

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Give ’em what they want: 3 steps to swag nirvana

By • 1 month ago with no replies yet

Swag is like eating a sundae: when it’s awesome it’s heaven, but when it’s not, you wish you hadn’t had it. There’s definitely a spectrum, from the super cheesy to the incredibly creative, from pros like the Boston realtor Katie Malin (whose recent swag included “Malintines”). If you ask her, she’ll say that “if you treat envelopes and letters like an artist’s canvas, they can still bear fruit.”

We couldn’t agree more. So how do you get from mere envelopes and letters to a masterpiece?

1. Think about what they want. When it comes to your customers (real or ideal), what could they actually use? What could you give them that would be useful in their daily lives? Maybe it’s a tote bag or a water bottle, postage stamps, a t-shirt or a deck of cards. The more they use it, the more they’ll think of you and appreciate the gift.

2. Make it personal. To help your swag stand out, tailor it to your business — whether you’re a realtor, hairstylist, DJ or lawyer — and your customers. Think about details like color, font and images, and of course your text.

3. Keep it fun. However serious you are about business, swag is an opportunity to be playful and have a little fun! Your customers will enjoy it. That doesn’t mean you need bright colors and exclamation marks everywhere, but it does mean you can add a fun touch here and there, in keeping with your brand – such as a personalized tin of mints to freshen their breath.

To help you reach swag nirvana, here are some ideas for useful, personal and fun things you can give to your prized customers:

swag

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Template tips for easily customizable designs

By • 1 month ago with 3 replies already

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

mark as template

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.

personalize it 1personalize it 2

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.

20xx

title tags 2014

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.

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Christmas in July

By • 2 months ago with no replies yet

It might be the middle of summer, but here at Zazzle we’re already gearing up for the holiday season. Here are some of our best tips to help you get your Zazzle store ready for the holidays, too!

1. Think ahead and start creating holiday products now!

The opportunities for using Zazzle products to celebrate the holidays are nearly endless. Here are some of our top picks to get you started with thinking of some festive designs now:

  • Gifts: Help your customers find the perfect present for their loved ones among our impressive selection. Fun shirts, cool electronics cases, personalized jewelry, handy bags, cute watches and snazzy wallets are just a few ideas. Not to mention the custom wrapping paper for personalized packaging!

 

 

 

 

 

2. Don’t forget to add great titles, tags, and descriptions.

Now that you’ve gotten a start on making some amazing holiday products, help your customers find them easily by optimizing your product’s title, tags, and description. Stumped on where to start? Take a peek at our handy tips from last week for the best ways to make sure your products are getting the attention they deserve!

3. Make it customizable.

The holidays are the perfect time to show friends and family just how you feel. Customers are sure to love products that they can really make their own by adding that personal touch that gives meaning to the design and product. Make sure your customers have that opportunity by creating products that are easily and endlessly customizable!

4. Do some research.

Take a look around the web and you’re sure to find the latest trends for this year’s holiday season even now. Patterns, colors, and themes are all great thing to look out for when you’re gathering ideas for your next Zazzle design. Pinterest is a great place for visual inspiration and keeping up with all things trendy.  If you want to get serious, you can even take a peek at Google trends to get really in-depth with what’s popular.

5. Spruce up older designs.

Still not sure where to start getting ready for the holidays? Take a walk down memory lane by reviewing older designs to find any candidates for a holiday makeover! Take a gander at some of those previous products and update them for the new year, or spruce them up to make them perfect for this season.

 

Bonus tip: Make sure to check in on our News forum for new product announcements every Friday so you’ll be the first to know about any new holiday items. Also keep an eye out for our celebration of Christmas in July on the site – coming soon!

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Zazzle Featured Designer Interview with Thaneeya McArdle

By • 2 months ago with no replies yet

Artist Thaneeya McArdle talks with us about her nomadic lifestyle, her vibrant artistic style, and how Zazzle brings both together in one colorful store.

Zazzle: Tell us a little about yourself! Where are you from/where do you live?

Thaneeya: I grew up mostly in Florida and now I enjoy a rather itinerant lifestyle. I love to travel and explore new places and cultures, and to discover things I’ve never seen or experienced before.

Not long ago my husband and I sold most of our stuff, put the rest in storage, and embarked on a nomadic journey that so far has taken us to San Francisco, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand. Each of us only has 1 wheelie bag and 1 carry-on bag to hold all of our material possessions… and we are loving it! We both work from our computers which means we can live/work anywhere in the world, as long as we have a good Internet connection. Having a Zazzle store helps  fund our nomadic lifestyle!

sugar_skull_postcard

Zazzle: What is your background in art/design? How did you get started in creative endeavors?

Thaneeya: I’ve loved to make art for as long as I can remember. I remember being in kindergarten and fantasizing about drawing huge chalk murals that would cover the entire chalkboard in our classroom. When I was 14, I drew pencil portraits, and everyone praised them for their realism and called me an “artist” and encouraged me to keep drawing. That’s when I started taking art seriously and enrolled in more art classes at school.

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I went on to get a BFA in Studio Art with a concentration in Painting. I then moved to England, and later France, where I created a lot of paintings and drawings and sold them via the Internet to collectors all over the world.  Although I was pretty much a starving artist in the beginning, I wouldn’t change it for anything because I learned so much from the experience, both in terms of art-making and also in terms of running an art business. I paid my dues, and I’m happy to say that all the hard work has paid off!

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Zazzle: Where do you find inspiration for your art/designs? How would you describe your artistic style?

Thaneeya: My style is typically colorful and highly detailed, full of whimsical shapes and patterns. My style is usually tight rather than loose, yet it is also free-flowing and spontaneous as opposed to carefully planned. I find inspiration all around me – the world is so full of fascinating people and places, diverse flora and fauna, natural beauty and man-made marvels!

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I like to observe patterns in nature, from the details on leaves or seashells to the motion of the clouds or the effect of light on water. I’m also deeply attracted to folk art from around the world – whether it’s Peruvian retablos, Tibetan thangkas, Aboriginal dot paintings, etc. Those forms of art also tend to be highly detailed and stylized, and often colorful, which is such a visual treat.

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Zazzle: How did you hear about Zazzle? What made you want to start a store with us?

Thaneeya: I can’t recall exactly where or how I first heard about Zazzle – probably on an art forum many moons ago (I joined Zazzle back in 2005). After hearing about Zazzle, I decided to start a store to see if I could make money by selling my art on products. As a starving artist at the time, I was seeking any revenue stream I could get! I appreciated that the store was free and that there were no listing fees or hidden costs. The only cost was my time and energy in putting my art on products.

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Zazzle: What is your favorite type of Zazzle product to design?

Thaneeya: That’s a toughie, because so many Zazzle products are fun to design! I like making phone cases because they sell well. I also enjoy making newly-released products, because it’s fun to see how my art will look on a new product, and to figure out the best way to present my art on the product.

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Zazzle: What advice would you give someone who wants to start their own Zazzle store?

Thaneeya: Starting a successful Zazzle store begins with image quality, so be sure to upload good, high-resolution digital files of your art. Use a scanner or a digital camera to capture your artwork, and be aware that even if you use the best quality scanner or camera, photos and scans can often appear washed out and less vibrant than the original artwork. To correct this, don’t be afraid to tweak the file using image-editing software. This editing process can be essential to recreate the true appearance of the artwork.

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Another important tip is to carefully choose your title, description and tags for each product listing. Use keywords that accurately describe your image in each of those sections, as that will help potential customers find your product.

Zazzle: Can you give us an idea of what’s next on your horizon?

Thaneeya: In January 2014 my first book will be published by F+W Media. It’s called Draw Groovy and it features 64 pages of fun, easy step-by-step lessons that demonstrate how to draw cute, whimsical things like cats, owls, paisley, abstracts, and more. It was a lot of work to create the art and text but it was such a thrill to see the finished copy! I’m currently working on my second book for F+W which will be published in August 2014, but I can’t divulge any details about it at this time.

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I’m also beginning to get more products into stores, such as calendars, wallets and skins featuring my artwork. I have fabulous licensing agents who are actively pursuing licensing opportunities for my artwork and we’ve already signed several deals.

All in all the future is looking very bright, and I’m excited about what lies ahead!colorful_cat_art_pillow

Thanks! I hope you liked it.

Design is Only Half the Battle

By • 2 months ago with 4 replies already

Creating an inspiring and original design is the first step to having a successful product. The second step is making your design visible and searchable by creating a unique  title and description and tagging your design correctly.

Product Design Title Tips

o   Avoid special characters.

o   State what the product design is in simple, searchable terms.

o   Add in general descriptors such as color, pattern and size.

o   Spell check for typos or misspellings.

o   Place the main descriptors towards the front of the product design title based on how a user would search to find your product design.

Example:

Okay title:

BBQ Baby Shower Invitation

Great title:

Vintage Chalkboard Baby Boy Shower BBQ Invitation

Product Design Description Tips

o   Provide design details such as: – Features and benefits- Dimensions, fabrication and materials.

o   Use at least 150 words.

o   Spell check and carefully proofread for typos or misspellings.

o   Include keywords, but write for your customers, not a search engine. (We do that for you.)

o   Consider other closely related terms to your product design that didn’t make it in the product design title and use those appropriately (don’t keyword stuff) within your description.

o   Start with a strong/enticing opening description of your design to make customers want to read what you have available.

o   Make it easy to read by formatting your description into multiple short paragraphs.

o   Tell a story! Ask the follow questions and then answer it in the description:

  • What inspired your design?
  • Why does this design work so well on this specific product?
  • Has your design won awards elsewhere?
  • What occasions might this design be great for?
  • Can there be custom changes if they contact you?

 Example:cat

 

Okay description: 

Black and white 8.5 x 11 matte cat print that’s great for decorating any room in the house.

Great description: 

Are cats the animal that you just can’t get enough of? If so, then this 8.5 x 11 matte painted black and white cat poster print will not only brighten up your home, but also brighten up your mood.

This watercolor print was inspired when I was standing in my house, looking out the window at the neighbor’s tuxedo cat sitting in the window sill. She looked so peaceful and tranquil, and yet those black eyes looked like they were carrying the world’s deepest secrets. It makes a great conversational piece and is a great gift for any occasion.

I do offer customization, so please message me with any questions or request.

Product Design Tag Tips

o   Be as specific as possible, avoid vague one word descriptors.

o   Ask yourself if you were to generically look for your product design, what would be the most common search terms?

 Example:                     

Okay tags:

Yellow, white, blue, tags, travel

Great tags:

Sunshine monogrammed awning stripe, yellow and white striped monogram, yellow white and blue,  monogram, striped

Other

o   Audit your least successful designs against your most successful and determine what changes you need to make.

o   Add videos, customer photos, or awards received for your designs to help sell your product.

o   Get reviews on your product designs to help convince the customer the quality is amazing.

Thanks! I hope you liked it.

Baby Blankets = Dog Blankets

By • 2 months ago with no replies yet

Today’s guest post is from Nancy Ahn, an amazingly talented member of our Validation team. She’s a gifted photographer and a proud momma of two rescued pups.

 

I’m so stoked about the new baby blankets on Zazzle. They are warm, cozy, and extra-soft. The best part is I can use them as dog blankets!

This is Sabbath, who is a Chihuahua/Terrier mix:

sabbath

 

And this is Jeffrey, who is a Chihuahua/Corgi mix:

 

jeffrey

 

I went a little crazy and made a fun tiled design with their faces for a personalized, pup-perfect blanket. The pups already love the polyester fleece material which is really soft and snuggly. The blankets are also machine washable, which makes me happy. They both love it!

 

 

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If you are inspired to do the same for your dogs, you’ll see it’s super easy. I just took a couple close-up photos of the dogkids, cropped them just to show their faces, and then tiled the design in Photoshop before uploading it to Zazzle. You can do the same here!

 

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