Posts Tagged ‘mug’

Viz Series: What is Visualization?

February 27, 2013

In this three-part series, we’ll find out how visualization plays a crucial part in making your favorite Zazzle products and learn more about some of the mystery members of the Viz Team.

Every day on our site, people are zooming in on their one-of-a-kind iPhone case to get their initials just right, they’re designing the perfect slogan on a fitted t-shirt for their favorite pooch and they’re transforming their gorgeous wedding photos into a wrapped canvas work of art.

There’s much more that goes into making it all happen than meets the eye. The technology we use is completely novel — to make that bright red “Keep Calm and Om Nom Nom” mug you’ve been pining for, it needs to be rendered virtually, as though the mug were already sitting on top of your kitchen table. While your mug doesn’t exist (yet), you’re able to see just how it would look, as if it’s already been manufactured. Without our technology, you wouldn’t be able to make your perfect product — exactly to your personal specifications, just how you want it.

Om Nom Nom Mug
Om Nom Nom Mug by carryon

You have Zazzle’s Visualization Team (or the “Viz Team,” as we affectionately like to call them at Zazzle) to thank. Though they tend to hang out in a dark room, questions about who they are and what they exactly do became so numerous (and so pressing) that we decided it was time to shed some light on this team.

We cornered some members (they don’t put up much of a fight) and got the download on visualization (or as much as they could tell us without giving away all their secrets).


Visualization at Zazzle can best be summed up as the perfect blend of engineering and art. The team uses proprietary technology and computational photography to make it easy for anyone to upload an image, make design tweaks, and see a product as though it’s already made. Users and sellers don’t have to know anything about 3D modeling — that’s why we have the Viz Team around. The Viz Team is responsible for making it look all too easy.

Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 1.50.53 PM

Product Magic

A lot of the magic happens when they gather information about each and every product before it launches on our site. Products and samples are examined to see what areas can be customized and where designs can be printed. When they talk to product manufacturers, the Viz Team gets manufacturers to help specify design areas (which later become your design areas on our site).

After they nail down that info, they prep the product samples for a photoshoot — much like for real-life human models or starlets, except the products don’t demand bottled water or take calls from their publicist.

“Special” Photography

Once the Viz Team figures out what one can actually design or make on the specified areas, they take a photograph with “special cameras.” This process is meant to help you: it gives consumers and designers a way to look at the product and see exactly where the design could go once the product is on our site. For more complex products, the team will actually go the distance and build 3D models.

On Site, Ready to Customize

Through “special image processing,” the team locates the design area for the product and then the product goes on our site for your customization.

Once it’s on our site, the product is ready for your designs (using our nifty design tool.) A lot of people don’t hit “the plus button” (shows the high art view of the product), which gives you the precise field of the area that you can design. This makes the Viz Team sad.

Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 1.44.41 PM

More fun facts: the red dotted line is called the “safe area,” or the area where the image is guaranteed to be printed, the “black area” shows the actual size of the design area, and the “the bleed area,” or red solid line, allows for extra jostling when the product is actually made, so you won’t get uneven spaces of white on your product.

Next up, meet some of the members of our Viz Team. 

You Make It, They’ll Love It: Sweeten Her Valentine’s Day With the Perfect Gift

January 18, 2013

Ah, Valentine’s Day: the chocolates, the champagne, the dozens of roses. They go so quickly, don’t they? Jewelry lasts — but so do thousands of other, less expensive (and more casual) gifts, like a custom photo card or personalized clothing.

There are infinite ways to be romantic, funny and touching. With that in mind, we have a huge array of Valentine’s Day gifts for every kind of valentine, from family and friends to partners and even pets (it’s true).

Over the coming days we’ll be highlighting our favorite Valentine’s Day gifts for her, for him, for pets — and for anyone who’s anti-Valentine’s Day. We’ll start with the ladies.

For a lasting, memorable gift for her, remind her how much you love her every day (or more often, if she’s addicted to caffeine) with the All You Need Is Love mug:

Love is all you need coffee mugs
Love is all you need coffee mugs by poupoune

Encase her iPhone 5 with a memento of your love and devotion — the Falling Hearts iPhone case:

falling hearts iPhone case- choose your background iPhone 5 Case
falling hearts iPhone case- choose your background iPhone 5 Case by blossomandvine

Or enliven her home, her place of refuge and comfort, with an iconic image of adoration — an inspired design based on Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss”:

KLIMT VISION 2 POSTER by giuliorossi

To go with your perfect gift, we also have thousands of Valentine’s Day cards to choose from, from the sweet to the hilarious.

It doesn’t take diamonds or even champagne to show her you love her — the personal touch goes a very long way.

Coming up next, the perfect gifts for him.

It’s Mustache Madness

December 12, 2012

Movember may have come and gone, but we’re still seeing the popular “stache” across many Zazzle products. For those of you who don’t know about Movember, it’s an annual, month-long event put on by the Movember Foundation, and mustaches are grown and flaunted to raise awareness for prostate cancer.

Mustache Pacifiers
Mustache Pacifiers by the_little_gift_shop

The popularity of the mustache has exploded, and we’ve noticed some pretty interesting trends here at Zazzle:

  • When did the mustache madness start? It wasn’t too long ago. We started seeing mustache sales take off in October 2010. We’ve also seen around a 35 percent increase in sales this Movember versus Movember of 2011.
  • Think you’re going to find a product on Zazzle that’s sold without ever having a mustache grace it? Think again! Almost every single product line we have has sold with a mustache on it in the last 12 months.
  • Where are these mustaches going? Would it be easier to spot a mustache on a Zazzle shirt or on a Zazzle button in the wild? Our top five products that have sold with a mustache on it are shirts, mugs, iPhone cases, buttons and stamps, in that order.

They’re also on pun shirts:

i mustache you a question tee shirts
i mustache you a question tee shirts by kerrinsellstshirts 

Engagement postage:

Kissing Booth - Mr + Mrs Postage Stamps
Kissing Booth – Mr + Mrs Postage Stamps by Envelopments

Staring at you when you sip your morning coffee:

Mustache Coffee Mug
Mustache Coffee Mug by JBB926

Decorating your pretty iPhone case:

Funny Girly Colorful Patterns Mustaches iPhone 5 Covers
Funny Girly Colorful Patterns Mustaches iPhone 5 Covers by kicksdesign

Next time Movember rolls around or you’re feeling in the mustache mood, check out our products!


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