When Policies Change: Writing Product Descriptions

Full control over projects and enterprises is always nice, particularly creative projects. Or at least, it always feels nice. A nice thing about Zazzle then (and presumably other print-on-demand companies), is that Designers have full creative control over their work. Sure, Zazzle does have a few restrictions for art and photos (for instance, nothing that can reasonably viewed as discriminatory, nor anything that encourages drug abuse, is excessively violent, nor obscene or pornographic in a non-artistic way), but in all reasonable and understandable ways, Designers are free to create whatever they want. Of course, this extends to whichever products to post as well, plus, how to organize and present them.

Yet one is always well-advised to re-evaluate their work and practices at times, and as with being part of any community undertaking, overseen and managed by a third party, sometimes, Zazzle makes changes that encourage, or even force, Designers to react. Zazzle does these things, of course, not only in their own best interests, but those also, ultimately, of their Makers and Designers. And while such changes can understandably be frustrating at times (and granted, not all changes will directly benefit all Designers), taking time to adjust to and occasionally limiting what one can choose to do, if nothing else, they are, again, simply a part of creating and selling in conjunction with a company.

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Competition vs Cooperation

Z in a circle, logo of Zazzle

© 2000-2015 Zazzle Inc. Used with Permission

So I launched a store on Zazzle.com about three weeks ago, and a lot went into getting everything all set. (And now with setting up this blog and off-site site, a lot is still going into it all.) Not least of all was actually creating some drawings, many of which you can find in my portfolio. Nor was learning about how to best scan and digitize images for placing them on products, or the untold time spent posting the actual products and writing their descriptions and such. (Each of these are of course ongoing to a lesser extent as well.) But a bigger matter loomed over it all: what I am truly trying to accomplish, and how should I go about accomplishing it?

Zazzle has hundreds and hundreds of stores, all offering some combination of the comparatively limited number of products that store owners can possibly post. Which is to say, Zazzle has “Makers” who manufacture, print, and stock particular products, while numerous “Designers” (the store owners) supply the drawings, paintings, photos, digital art, or whatnot else to actually appear on said products. With so many, many sellers but only a comparatively limited number of fundamentally different items, how can any one store and seller expect to attract many buyers?

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