Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Getting organised

Quick Create Templates

Since I started making templates to use with Zazzle's Quick Create tool, I've learned an awful lot both about the tool and its idiosyncrasies and also, along the way, about applying design techniques to get the most out of my creations.

I found that I was spending more and more time on tweaking what was created by using QC on my original templates and it had got to the point where my workflow wasn't very efficient. That, and the recent changes on Zazzle (new products, new options during creation) finally pushed me past the tipping point (like a bachelor having used the last clean plate - time to do the dishes!).

Getting Organised

So, over the last couple of weeks I've been remaking all of my templates, consistently putting into practice what I've learned in the last few months. I've done it for all products that I've designed that use a single personalizable text box (not t-shirts yet) ..and I'm working on the best way of grouping those that need multiple ones.

Great tip

One of the things I've learned is that for text to be as readable as possible, no matter what the background, I need to use a drop shadow - and of course, it has to be personalizable.

The way I do this is:
  • I create a text item and set the font and size
  • I select it and choose Edit->copy
  • I select Edit->paste
  • I space one very slightly away from the other
  • I set the top one to white and the other to v. dark grey - almost black
  • I select both, so the next steps get applied to both at the same time
  • I set them to being a template item
  • I give them the same url parameter name as I've used for all other templates in my template folder
  • I give them the same "Product page label" (I usually set this to "Change text or remove", to make it obvious to customers that they need to do something)
The upshot is that when a customer visits the product page, they get just one text box but whatever they type appears in place of both the white and black template items, i.e. they get their text with a drop shadow. Have a look at this example and see how well it works.