The Gather ‘Round Kwanzaa Creations Kit is a rather unique collection of items. Although each one only shows a handful of images at any one time, in fact, all of them contain over 80 (most of which simply are not visible by default). This means that through Zazzle’s design interface–one feature of which is the ability to show or hide available images–the options for customization and personalization are very great; certainly much, much greater than those of the typical Zazzle item.
This “catalog” shows all the images available, so that if you’re interested in designing your own Kwanzaa Creations item for you and your family (ideally with your family!), you have something to help you get started. This includes a few walk-through videos too, to truly show you all the ins-and-outs of working with the images in the design interface. For even a seasoned Zazzle designer could easily be overwhelmed with the sheer number and unfamiliarity of the images alone. And, if you have never worked with Zazzle’s design interface before, trying to get your item just right could otherwise be much harder–and even much less enjoyable–than it ought to be. (After all, it should be creative and fun!)
First, if you would like to view any of the walk-through videos, you will find them near the end of this post. (One shows how to make minor modifications of an existing design; another really shows all the ins-and-outs of extensive changes, by demonstrating what starting from scratch would be like; and the last gathers some specific tips and advice.)
Now, the available images fall under six categories or so: backgrounds; “karamu words”; celebrated leaders; table settings; symbols; and a miscellaneous “foreground”; plus, of course, any additional images you may supply from your own sources. There may naturally be some overlap between these categories; but the core idea is that using the images, you can design anything from a table setting to a pattern or abstract image, or else a tribute to, say, your family, children, or a famous civil rights or other leader, or even a focus on a particular symbol, principle, or practice.
The default versions of the items show, I hope, a reasonable overview of the things you might create. Yet, it truly is all up to you to change and design an item to the full extent of you and your family’s wishes and creativity. To facilitate that, for each item, I pre-formatted everything by placing and scaling the images to sizes that, at least to start with, are most convenient. And, as the images appear in the design interface as a list in which “higher” ones will necessarily cover “lower” ones (even if the latter are set to be visible), I also kept a mostly-standard ordering of the images from item-to-item that should minimize the need for re-arranging any. (Though you may of course find that to achieve a particular appearance, a little drag and drop re-ordering is required; say, if you want a particular symbol to appear in front of / behind another, in contrast to its default placement.)
Lastly, please know that I am aware of the introspective and non-commercial nature of Kwanzaa. That is why, rather than draw one unique design to slap on several items, I took so much time draw several images, and then used them to set up unique “default” versions of each item. As the name “Gather ‘Round Kwanzaa Creations Kit” implies, the intention is that you may indeed gather your family around your computer, to spend some time designing an item that will truly hold special meaning and significance to you all. I also set my royalty rate on all these products to the absolute minimum that Zazzle allows. But, if these items are not to your liking or appreciation, so it understandably is. Either way, I wish you and your family a happy and fulfilling celebration.
(Note: All images are copyright © 2018 Darren Olsen, unless otherwise noted.)
These two images are not really part of the kit–they are merely placeholders for photos of you or your family. They only appear on a few items as defaults; you may delete them if such photos are not desired; and on items that do not include them, through the design interface, you may easily add your own photos regardless. Otherwise, you may easily swap them out for your own photos right from the item’s page, after which you may want to crop or re-position your own photos.
(Note: In addition to the following, you may always use the design interface to select any number of solid, digitally-created background colors as well.)
An original Kente pattern, in eight subtle variations. Use one with the “Tile this image” option in the design interface to fill the background by repeating your chosen pattern.
Colorful, abstract images in the Pan-African colors, inspired by raw, abstract creativity associated with Kuumba and the sixth day. The form on the right is of course built up from four copies of the original on the left. You may shrink and tile it for the background, or … shrink it just a little or not at all; tile it; and align any one or two of its edges with a line(s) through the center of your design, to obtain up to three variations on the pattern:
Again, these last three are not actual images available on the items. Rather, by placing “Kuumba Background Ext” in the right half (or left) of the design area; the upper (or lower) half; or in any of the four corners / quarters; turning on tiling will then “create” these variations. And, shrinking the actual image just a little will “fill out” the sides without compromising the distinctiveness of each pattern. (That is, if the image is shrunk too much, it will not matter where it is placed; the resulting pattern will essentially be the same regardless.)
Three forms of the Pan-African flag, or bandera: the official Garvey flag; a variant commonly seen at Kwanzaa; and a form inspired by the Ethiopian flag (which is, in fact, a historical form of said flag, albeit coincidentally one that is very much like the Garvey flag). Use any of them full-sized for a background, or else shrink and tile to obtain stripes. And, if you would like, rotate to vertical or any other direction for angled stripes.
Two mkekas, seen from above. The second one seems to work better if text is to be added; but in other cases, either will do fine.
Primarily for use in combination with table settings; though if not to be used as actual walls, of course they may be used as generically-colored backgrounds. (Remember also that in the design interface, you can choose any of innumerable solid backgrounds as well, simply by picking a color! Though of course they will not be in colored pencil, but rather digitally-created.)
(Note: In the design interface, you may always add your own custom text as well … with a choice of several fonts and styles, plus things like letter spacing, line spacing, and curved text even!)
These are simply relevant some words to a karamu and the sixth night, which I chose to do in a multi-colored style that the design interface does not enable. Perhaps not the most useful of all the images and a bit limited in scope, but still, you might find them handy.
Of course, these few remarkable people are only a sampling of many you could choose–you are welcome and even encouraged to find your own photos of whomever you would like to feature! Just know that when you upload an image or photo to Zazzle, you will be asked to certify that you own or otherwise have permission to use it. To that end, as you search out photos or images, be sure to check a given image’s copyright status. Public domain images are best (they are public domain, most likely, because their copyrights have expired from age), but as long as you see permission to use an image in a non-commercial capacity at least (after all, you are not selling an item you design–it is all for personal use), you should be fine. I cannot make any guarantees about other people’s work though. When in doubt, contacting and asking someone is always best.
Table cloths, actually, all of which presumably cover the same long table …
Plus a Kente “spread” (whatever the word for it would be) …
And lastly, draped banderas in three forms and two orders of color. For a table setting, of course the table itself is probably mandatory; but from among the five cloth colors, the three+ draped banderas, and the Kente spread, you may set up the table of your imagination.
While black is the traditional color for the center candle, some people do indeed opt for gold in its place. As for the flames, their names are meant to signify which of the mishumaa saba each goes “best” on, based on whether a wick is straight; slightly slanted; or strongly so. But in reality, as long as wick is not showing where it should not be (sticking out of a flame), the flames are interchangeable. So, you need not worry too much about one flame versus another.
Of course you will want a vibunzi for each of your children! (Else two, which is the default on all items.) These three–each facing either way–all appear twice in the design interface, giving you up to twelve to work with. However, if you would like to use more than just the two of a given variant and direction, note that the design interface allows you to duplicate images. Click the “Shortcuts” button in the lower-left corner to get the key combination, then hold those keys as you drag-and-drop a given image to create its duplicate!
Note that the standing book gives you the flexibility of having the book lean against the djembe or mazao or such, though of course it really cannot stand on its own.
Miscellaneous / “Foreground”
Kente “strips” that may be used as borders. (Though on non-square designs, either the left-and-right borders or the bottom-and-top have to be shrunk to keep all four in proportion, if that is desired). Alternatively, use apart from one another–perhaps angled even–for decorative effect.
Everything in Action
Lastly, if you would like to actually see all these images being used in designing an item, here are three walk-through videos for your convenience:
First, one showing how to make minor customizations like swapping or re-sizing images (plus other basics of the design interface), with a general overview of all the items upfront:
Second, a demonstration of setting up an item from scratch (something you do not have to do), to really show all the ins-and-outs of making extensive changes:
And third, a (briefer) gathering of some specific tips and advice (though this one is actually more like a continuation of the first … the first 11 minutes or so especially):
Note that these videos are all somewhat long: respectively 41:33, 58:49, and 37:06. In turn though, they are specific to the Kwanzaa Creations Kit, with plenty of detail in working with these particular images and designs. But, if you would like a much shorter video to try (5:46), in the design interface, click the “Design tips” button in tho lower-left corner to view Zazzle’s official video.
What’s the news? The Gather Round Kwanzaa Creations Kit! If it appeals to you and your family at all, then I hope you will have a joyous time playing around with it. And, I hope this “catalog” and the videos have bees sufficiently helpful. Feel free to contact me with any questions, and, if you do end up designing an item, consider sending in a picture (a screenshot; photo of the real-life item; whatever), and, I will post it below for everyone to see and enjoy!