Zazzle has been helping consumers customize everything from t-shirts to greeting cards for more than ten years, so it’s not a new site or service by a long shot. It’s most similar to Cafe Press in what it offers.

Zazzle gives users a lot of control over the elements being customized—design, images, text—letting would-be designers alter the place, size, and layering of elements, but the app’s online tools aren’t as rich as a full image editing program (even those of free online image editors, like Fatpaint, for example). On the other hand, they’re slightly too complex for anyone who isn’t quite as tech-savvy with image editing. I managed to design a greeting card that was shipped on time, looked professional in print quality, and met my needs for a fair price—but Zazzle’s online tools were so clunky that I wasn’t in any rush to make another custom product.

Zazzle gives you good amount of control over your product, but I don’t necessarily think that’s a good thing. Designing is a skill, and if you don’t have it or don’t practice it often, a little guidance goes a long way. One example is how Zazzle prompts you to upload images. Wherever there is a placeholder for an image, you can replace it with your own easily enough. But the new image isn’t shown in a window at the same size and dimensions as the placeholder—it’s just slapped on top. In greeting card creation there are typically layers to the right of the screen, which you can drag around to expose or obscure different elements underneath others. But the whole thing is clunky and feels outdated.

That said, Zazzle does offer more customization and more tools for editing than some competing sites, especially if all you want to make are greeting cards, wall calendars, and other small paper products. You can always change the color, images, size of the finished product (e.g., 7-inch by 11-inch calendar versus 11-inch by 17-inch). You can add text, and adjust the point size and font. You can rearrange the layered components of the design. Zazzle gives you the ability to “revert” back to the original template, but there’s no undo button for single changes.

Excellent variety of products, from greeting cards to t-shirts to customized postage stamps. Good delivery and prices. Not restricted to template designs. Can make a card from a blank slate.

Clunky online tools for designing and editing. Can’t send cards via postal mail to recipients (can only change “shipping” address). No undo button (only “revert to original”).

Bottom Line
You can make your own products, from custom greeting cards and invitations to t-shirts, with Zazzle, but you may be challenged by Zazzle’s online tools. The image editing program doesn’t give experienced users enough to work with, yet isn’t simple enough for beginners, either. Zazzle’s good, but there are better tools at either end of the spectrum.


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