I came to Spreadshirt just to create a few custom designs for myself (and maybe my wife). I wound up in the Marketplace just because my design sizes were above the maximum file sizes for custom shirts. I considered setting up a shop, if for no other reason than to allow some friends to buy a shirt if they were so inclined.
In the process of learning about the design process, I added a design, laid it out carefully, wound deleting and re-adding it for some reason and then placed an order to see the quality of the design and shirt. When the shirt arrived, I realized that when I re-added it, I forgot to lay it out again, so the design was too small and sits just above my belly. The shirt is trash.
OK, I’ve done some graphic design work, but never T-shirts, so I looked into the basic design principles. For most designs, it appears that placing them about 3" below the neck line works well. Mine wound up about 4"-5" inches below.
I would have thought the default position would be an optimal one and that’s really my suggestion for you. The default appears to be something like centering the design in the print area, which is totally wrong for many designs. What’s worse: if I really wanted to sell my designs in the Marketplace and created a bunch of products, it looks like I have to fix every design individually.
This does not lead to a great user experience.
Now, I realize that coming up with a good default placement rule for all designs might seem a little tough, but you can’t really do worse than what you’re doing now. My suggestion is to try to break down designs into basic shapes: circles, squares, ovals, rectangles and diamonds. If you can’t do this automatically, ask the designer: what is your basic design shape (include “other”)? You could even have the designer overlay one of these shapes over their design—visually, you might want the default placement of a design to not be based on the extent of the design, but on where the visual “center of mass” exists.
For my design, I said it is placed 4"-5" below the neck line. The design is a circle with some text above it. The difference between 4" and 5" is whether you measure to the text or to the circle. I suspect the best placement for the 3" mark is below the text and slightly above the circle. By allowing me to overlay a circle on my design, I could provide you better information for finding an optimal placement.
Take a dozen graphic designers with T-shirt experience and have them lay out the basic shapes over each product (each product, not each product type, needs its own rule). I suspect you’ll get a lot of agreement. Ideally, they would do both size and position.
Now, when someone adds a product to their marketplace, the product starts out in the optimal position. The designers could then tell you to reposition or resize the design on each product by a certain percentage. Ideally, the designer could explicitly override any individual product’s size and position—and could later opt to remove the override.
If you wanted to go crazy, you could also do some override by product type. For instance, designs on tote bags might be at 100% size, but shirts might be a 80% (to be clear, that’s 100% or 80% of the default (as per the experts), not of the print area.
Right now, if I have a lot of products, and add a design, I have to go edit every product, one-by-one. Because your design tool doesn’t actually report things in inches, I can’t provide any consistency from one product to the next. For my designs, centering horizontally is useful, center vertically is useless.
In any case, I don’t find the marketplace process anything but exhausting and will probably not bother. I also need products with coordinated fronts and backs, which you guys keep saying you aren’t going to do because there are too many “use cases”.
I haven’t place any orders since my initial one. It’s cheaper to order a lot of shirts, than to order one-by-one, but now I’m afraid I’ll place the designs too low or two high and waste a lot of money. Even looking at the shirt on models in my “showroom” doesn’t help (the shirt I got looked OK on the site, but as soon as I put it on, I knew it was screwed up), so this is definitely a barrier to selling me shirts. I keep wanting to put a ruler by the neck line on those models.