Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What Is Graphic Design?

Emoticons made into a repeating pattern.

any of us don't realize it, but we look at the product of a Graphic Designer every day. Thousands of times a day. Everywjere we look are beautiful, eye-catching pieces of artwork that are selling us something, decorating our home and even on our clothing. Without graphic design, we wouldn't have the fabrics and textiles we know today. Graphic design has become so readily available that we can customize just about anything we want to for a reasonable price.

 Graphic design has a fun and artistic side to it. That's the part we at Floppy Poppy Gifts use the most. Clients provide us with sayings, slogans, funny ideas for gifts and we turn them into artwork. Even our team uniforms utilize graphic design in the form of logos, team names and league icons. Why do you as our client need to know these details? Well, you really don't except to know we are here to help you merge the worlds of artistic design and your dreams and manifest them in fun apparel, party wear and anything else you can imagine for customizing your life. Contact us today for help putting together a fun design.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Why Do Numbers Fall Off Of Sports Jerseys?

You've probably seen it before: The name or number on your kid's sports jersey starts peeling off or falls off entirely. Why does this happen? What can you do about it? I work with many types of materials in my business. Most frequently are cotton blend shirts but, the rest of the time it's polyester, spandex and nylon blends. When applying vinyl to fabric there are a few cardinal rules to be followed:

1. Never wash your garment before attempting to embellish it. The soaps and softeners in laundry detergents create residues that prevent adhesives on vinyl from sticking for their intended 100+ washes.

2. Use proper equipment for application. Household irons are not typically enough heat or pressure nor are they the consistent pressure that is needed for the best application. Only a professional garment designer is likely to have the equipment needed for this job.

3. A chemical like acetone or a strong chemical solvent has spilled onto the garment. Never wash jerseys or embellished shirts with rags that have cleaners on them. 

4. Always wash inside out in cool water and hang dry. This will lengthen the life of your specialty garment. Dryers are okay if you use cool settings and don't leave the specialty wear on high or in with items like zippers which can heat up and/or snag your specialty garment.

5. Never Iron a specialty decorated garment. Rhinestones, vinyl, and transfers need special attention. If you want your uniform's color, flexibility and performance to last, you will need to treat it with a little TLC. If you simply must use an iron out of habit's sake, then best practice would be to not iron the area that is embellished. Also, iron it inside-out and put a towel between the iron and the garment. 

6. Don't leave your garment to soak overnight in a wet washer or wet environment. Remove from the washer as soon as possible so it can dry properly.

Sometimes, there are extenuating circumstances outside of the client's control. Sometimes the garment decorator has used the incorrect vinyl for the fabric type. Unfortunately, there is little that can be done in this scenario as the client will need to address the professional's customer service line directly. Luckily, most sorts jerseys and shirts which use vinyl decoration have tenacious adhesive which is not likely to fail even in applications outside of their recommended use. 

The clothing industry is ever-expanding in its products for specific uses. Be sure you contact a great company like Floppy Poppy Gifts who will always make sure your garments and their embellishments are a match made in heaven that will have the longest possible life-span available. For more tips, be sure to check out our on-site blog, too.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Gildan Brand Shirts: A Review

I have been designing shirts for awhile now. In that time I have learned a lot about the different qualities and companies out there. Gildan brand shirts are a well-known industry leader. They are common in sports attire, work clothing as well as wholesale and retail outlets. Their styles are offered in a variety of cuts:

1.  Adult - This is a men's style. Straight and boxy, it is your standard issue t-shirt with little frills, bells or whistles. Available in a variety of weights. Most colors are available in a size up to 5X.

2.  Ladies - This style is tailored and has a finer ribbed neckline. The width go the neckline's ribbing is thinner than that of the men's style. Offered in junior and adult women's. Most colors available up to 3X.

3. Youth - This is for the elementary sized customer. I would say Kindergarten up to about 6th grade would benefit most from the youth cut of Gildan's offerings. It's only offered in the same square cut as the Adult version. Sized XS-XL

4.  Toddler - Preschool and yonder, this cut covers the in-between size that isn't a baby ion a one-piece nor the Kindergartener. Perfect for the playgroup set of customers. t's only offered in the same square cut as the Adult version.  Size 2T-4T

Most people don't think much about the thread count on their shirts or the density of the fabric but, as a resident of Arizona, I can assure you, it's on the hearts and minds of the populous. Why? In 100+ degree weather, lightweight clothing is a must. What are some of the weights of shirts? I am glad you asked. I will explain each by the amount of light that you can see through it, the texture and the brand.

1. 6 oz - Somewhat Rough In texture, the 6oz shirt is a cost-effective choice as it will last with repeated washings. Not a good choice for artsy designers who want a shirt to have a weathered or worn look. Great utilitarian style. Perfect work or uniform choices. Color Shown: Stone Blue

2. 5.3 oz - Only slightly lighter than the 6oz, it is probably the most common weight in what I do. Available in lots of colors, it gets softer with washings. No pilling. Available in men's and women's styles. Color Shown: Lime

3. 5.6 oz- cotton/poly blend- Sports teams like cotton/poly blends. I do not personally like them. I think the poly blends tend to stain easier and therefore, wear out sooner. I also find the poly blends to pill up sooner. I don't usually recommend this style but sometimes due to color or cut it is unavoidable.

Other brands offer a 4.5 oz weight which I have found to be quite lightweight and the whites in this weight border on see-through. For Modesty;s sake, this weight should be ordered in colors other than white. My clients have opted to not use this weight for sports because of the sheer quality of it. It is however, soft like a rayon blend. If you find a shirt is this thickness, I recommend ordering a sample before committing.

If you need shirts for your team of 30 or for a single gift for someone special, I can help you. Simply drop me a line on my website.  Don't forget to check out my other shirt reviews on my web blog.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Free Bottle Cap Tutorial & Soccer Bottlecap Template

First you may have heard crafters referring to scrapbooking or bow-making supplies called bottlecaps and may be saying to yourself: "What Are Bottlecaps?". Bottle caps are a small setting decoration used in children's jewelry, hair bows and crafts, though some people use them for more avant-grade style arts like shrine building and swap meet style necklaces. Bottlecaps can refer to a real bottle cap that has been turned into a fixture or it can refer to a craft supply that has been made specifically for crafting scrapbook pages. Home crafters use them in many varieties of ways and the possibilities are endless.

One major component of bottle cap crafting is the image that sets down into the bottle cap. How is this made? Usually artists buy a hole punch that is 1"-1.5" in circumference. They punch out a picture from a magazine, cartoon book or postcard then set it down into the upside-down bottle cap using glue or epoxy resin. The bottle cap is then affixed to the craft project making a small "frame" for the picture in the center.

Finding a picture you want to go into the bottle cap is tricky because it has to be small. You may need to resize a picture in order to get it to fit. For this you will need a photo editing software like Photoshop. Use the template above to create a printable page that is a standard 4"x6" size that you can print at home or at your local Photo Center. Need help or want me to design some custom bottle caps for one of your projects? Drop me a line at the following link: Contact Carrie B.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

How To Choose The Right Tee Shirt

Part of designing a good product for my clients is assistance with choosing the right sizing for their shirts. While the size must ultimately be the decision of the client, there are a few things I try to do to help people make the most informed choice possible. I obtain the manufacturer's chart for the body width, length and shirt length and provide it for their consideration. There are no two people exactly the same and people have concerns about how their tummy will look, how it will fit through their athletic shoulders or if it will be too long for a petite person. These are all valid concerns that should be remedied easily with surveying the three variables I mention above.

Additionally, I am very familiar with how certain brands are cut, how long the materials like cotton vs. a cotton/poly blend will last and whether a youth, ladies or men's fit will work best. My customers expect that the artwork they choose will have a long lasting washability and that their shirt will be flattering and comfortable. I make sure to go the extra mile to order samples and share my personal opinions as well as those of past clients to help make sure you are happy with the final creation. So,  rest assured: when you start a project with me I will see it through to the end with the result being a pleased client who is sure to give fantastic referrals. Get in touch with me today by clicking on this link to begin: Contact Floppy Poppy Gifts.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Review Of Custom Print Combed Cotton Fabric on Zazzle

After much anticipation, I finally received my fabric swatches that I ordered to sample Zazzle new line of custom print fabrics. I had a difficult time choosing from my favorites but I was able to narrow my choices. They came in a timely fashion, all waterproof packaged in light plastic sleeves and labeled with care instructions. The swatches are stitched in the outside to keep them from fraying making them a fine long-term sales tool for my office. The designs were as shown online, closely matching their colors. I was very impressed by the colors and details of each sample. I chose a wide variety if colors and prints to see how small patterns would look. I even chose swatch with my own photos added.

Combed Cotton Custom Fabric on Zazzle

This is one of Zazzle's most economical choices at only $24.95 per yard at most stores (including mine). Overall, it has a smooth feel with a fine weave. The colors are true, but in smaller patterns the detail has a tendency to not be as crisp. Designers should shoot for larger, less busy images if they really want their artwork to sing. Still, there was not bleeding of colors.

After washing, the the fabric kept its size. There were no puckers or shrinkage that I could notice. I did not dry mine but instead opted to press at 350 degrees with heavy pressure on my heat press. The colors remained and there were still some slight creases but, mostly the fabric kept its color and smooth texture. I did not notice fraying.

Admittedly, I am not much of a sewing crafter. If I use fabric it is in small quantity and for decorative purposes. This fabric would be excellent for that and is billed as such. Zazzle leaves no stone unturned in their description of this product and I found their information at www.zazzle.com/fabric to be ├╝ber-informative, accurate and helpful. Don't forget to use their special coupon code for a limited time: 15% off fabric code: INTRO2FABRIC through 2/22/2015).

Saturday, January 31, 2015

NEW Custom Fabric On Zazzle.com!

As a designer, I find it inspirational to try to design new things and push my boundaries so, when Zazzle  announced they were adding custom print fabric to their popular product lineup, I was jazzed. There are not one but SEVEN different fabrics which can be customized.

The cloth panels you can sample are abounding in designs from modern to classic. Some designers have already created "Trompe L'oeil" patterns that mimic bamboo, leather & even animal skins.  Depending on what your needs for these textiles are, you can choose the texture and content that works best for any given application. 

Available in Swatches, Fat Quarters & Yards, these fabrics are best suited for home decor applications. You can purchase them in 10 yard lengths which is also fantastic for people wishing to market their own fabrics in a boutique setting. The potential implications for entrepreneurs like interior designers and SAHM businesses are huge. Most designers on Zazzle have already been designing products like the wrapping paper which should make the collection grow exponentially in a very short amount of time. 

After perusing the already impressive collection of fabrics, I decided to create a Pinterest Board to showcase some of the stand-outs I came across. Despite the fact that the fabric that they produce is not recommended for children's clothing or infant bedding, many of the designs are quite whimsical. Accent pieces in nurseries would certainly be a great use for them, however. Possibly the best uses for them would be pet bedding, draperies, throw pillows and even pet clothing. I came across a few DIY sewing patterns for pet's clothing as well as plushies

There is no end to what creatives can do with this. Since it's only the beginning, you will need to check back often to see what people have decided to do with it. I expect more DIY patterns very soon. I ordered my sample of Combed Cotton fabric featuring my company logo and will be posting a picture of it when it arrives. Stay Tuned! Or to see more for yourself go to:  www.zazzle.com/fabric .