Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Appearance Critique: ajsdesigns

Our critique today is for ajsdesigns. The theme is appearance. Please post your feedback in the comments!


  1. Aletha,

    Your work is amazing! I can't believe you are self taught!

    Just a couple of things...

    1. More consistancy with your photo's. Some are on what looks like a satin cloth, some have a black background, and some looked to be scanned maybe?

    2. I notice that you mention that your cards are signed by you on the would be nice to see that, so maybe take a pic of the back of your cards and use up one of the 5 slots with that shot.

    3. Your front page to your shop and your profile have a couple of the same things, so maybe take out the repeats on your front page so that we can see some of your items when we first get onto your shop.

    Love your work and happy selling :)

  2. Hello Aletha!

    A few things.

    First, think about shortening the shop announcement so the product is much higher on the page. You could probably combine the second and third paragraphs, then move all the team information and blog to your profile. You could always tack on something like "See my profile for blog and team info . . . "

    I'm also in agreement with Shannen on the photos.

    Consistency is key! Try using a solid, consistent background and lighting for your photos. If you're using a flash, turn it off. The flash can do your cards an injustice, especially since you're using a lot of sparkle and shine in your designs. Just grab a couple of small pieces of foamboard -try a cream or ivory - and use that instead. If you prefer dark colors, try a light or medium gray. Stay away from stark colors like black or white since those can wash out the color in your items or create unnecessary glare.

    Also, don't be afraid of going in for those detailed photos. To paraphrase my suggestion to lavendargreetings, zoom in and lots of angles with different perspectives. Filling five slots won't seem so daunting.

    One more thing to consider, too, is displaying at least one photo of the mandalas in their natural setting. Is it a wall ornament? Is it kosher to hang from a door knob? Personally, I wouldn't know how to properly display one, so a photo like that would be helpful. :)

  3. Aletha - I am a huge fan of your work - incredible detail and design! And the use of color and texture!

    I really like your descriptions and I love the use of quotes throughout your store. Did you know there is a rubber stamp with the Picasso quote? I also personally like the mention of Etsy teams in our shop announcement - it gives us personality.

    A few things ~~

    ~ I like the photos with the black background - they make your product "pop." It may be more difficult with the items that have a predominantly black background, but it works well for the strong color items.

    ~ the use of fabric as a background is tricky. I have tried it before with mixed results. First, I think the folds in the fabric are distracting to the product. This was mentioned to me in a forum critique and I agree. Second, sometimes the texture of the fabric interferes with the picture. I understand paper gets tricky with stand-up items because the seams show. There is a way in Photoshop to grab the product and set it into a background. I have not done that yet, but it is on my very long list of things to do.

    Also, I would love to see your mandalas hanging. You will have to find a plain background - the sky or a wall maybe, but it would show off this product so much more!

    Great work! Good luck!!


  4. You know I am a big fan of your work! I have a few suggestions for you.

    1.Try listing your teams instead of having a while paragraph about them.

    2. Under your banner you can say what you make that will free up some space in your announcment.

    3. Try to stick with one background for all your photos ( I like the black) and crop the photos so the buyer has to click on it to see the rest of the listing. I also agree about taking pictures of the mandalas hanging up.

    Other than those things I think your work is great! I wish you much success!


  5. Looks like you have already changed your shop announcement since these comments were made, because I think it is just fine - short & sweet!

    I also like in your profile where you list your teams, you've included the search tags for shoppers to use. That's a good idea!

    One thought about your banner - I love the background image, but I feel like your name "AJ Designs" gets little lost. I wonder if there is a way to make the area behind it darker so the letters are more legible. I'll leave it to the true graphic designers to suggest how to do that so it will still look good!


  6. I want to take this time to thank everyone. This is very valuable advice. This shop critiqueing(sp?) was a very good idea Ahna!
    Thanks again,

  7. Aletha,

    WOW, your work is so detailed. I agree with most of the other comments on the photos. Fabric never seems the best choice for a background. Something about the camera picks up every little wrinkle in it.

    I made a lightbox to shoot my items. If I can find the link I will post it. I just need to look for it again. I found it really helpful with my pictures and it gives a consistent background in the shop.

    I also think the banner is a bit busy. There's alot of color and texture in a small area. Maybe re-think that to be simpler. It seems a bit fuzzy to me as well, maybe a higher resolution would help.

    Keep up the awesome work. I think your stuff is amazing. I would never have the patience it must take to do that.