Maybe you noticed already: In July we introduced cell phone covers with flexible print areas. What’s new about this, and why these so called Soft Boundaries offer a major improvement – our expert Alexander explains.
Who are you, and what are your tasks for Spreadshirt?
I’m Alex, and as a member of the product management team I’m responsible for the ‘Create Your Own’ area. This means: I come up with new options for customers and partners to design and edit products, and what possible changes we can introduce. In recent years I organized and implemented the final steps for the Flash version of our T-Shirt Designer, and with my team I’m currently working on developing the new JS/HTML5 Designer.
Talking about Soft Boundaries: What made you think of this concept?
The printable areas have always been rectangle at Spreadshirt. For T-shirts, hoodies, bags and other products this was never a problem, but we have recently introduced a few new product types for which this solution was not good enough any more. So we thought of something new to tackle the issue of ‘round corners’ and ‘cut outs’ with cell phone and tablet covers.
The idea for Soft Boundaries – which means flexible print areas – has been around for a while, but we never saw sufficient reason for its implementation. Our new covers now make it necessary to think of a change.
Soft Boundaries are masks that are put across rectangle print areas which conceal some parts of the print area to simulate cut outs and rounded off edges in the actual preview that the customer sees when using the T-Shirt Designer. This way the customer knows exactly what he’s going to get.
What advantages do flexible print areas hold? And what potential use does Spreadshirt gain from it?
Easy. Virtual product pictures look much more realistic so that the customer gets a neat impression of what he’s going to get. Partners can use different templates in a hassle-free way for every individual cover as they can use the same graphics for all covers. Cell phone and tablet covers are already quite popular, and we hope that this is going to improve even more.
How much of a developmental effort did you put into it?
Well, there are about 5 people (including our colleagues from quality control) who worked on it for a total of 2 weeks. This was necessary since Soft Boundaries gains a profound access to our existing system, which in turn made extensive testing necessary.
Which products from Spreadshirt’s range have been affected, and in how far does this have a bearing on other products?
So far we only use Soft Boundaries for the cell phone and tablet covers available. In addition to those, there will be new premium cell phone covers as well as flip-flops.
For existing products, the images were all exchanged automatically. And special templates for the variety of cell phone cover varieties are no longer necessary.
Hot tip: Photos are perfectly suited for smartphone covers, try out a few pics in the Designer! And a tip for all other pixel graphics: patterns, surface areas and other structures should have the right resolution…