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NEW - Marketability Standards & Guidelines Part 2 (Read 19387 times)
Mindy
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NEW - Marketability Standards & Guidelines Part 2
Jul 25th, 2011, 4:42pm
 
Let's try this again followed by updates to common questions and concerns.
 
<original post for the records>
On the heels of our recent landmark of reaching 500,000 cards it is due time for GCU to turn an honest and critical eye to our existing collection and new cards.  To date GCU has accepted virtually all submitted work and artists.  Today we are introducing a Marketability Standards policy.  Based on GCU’s evaluation of marketability and commercial appeal, GCU will begin saying “no thank you” to cards.    
 
The Marketability Standards and Guidelines will raise the bar on card designs to increase professionalism and marketability and ultimately a better experience for our shoppers.  This will up the overall product quality on GCU which reflects on all artists in our community as shoppers view GCU as a single store.  Our goal is to provide a selection of greeting cards to the buying public that are competitive,  professional, and equal to the highest level of design.
 
Although we’d like to say this process will be clear cut, objective and quantitative, in practice that is quite impossible.  By nature it is subjective and heavily qualitative.  However here are some of the elements that we have established as standards and guidelines that our reviewers will be looking at.  These will soon be reflected on our GCU Wiki page with image examples:
 
a.      Subject Matter -  poor, random, unrelated, not professional
b.      Image Quality – clarity, color, lighting, angle, cropping, shadows, composition,  misuse of filter, out of focus, exposure, particularly with photographs
c.      Overused Image
d.      Unrelated Image - not related nor appropriate to occasion/category, gender, relation, age, etc.
e.      Any Reason - on a case by case basis we reserve the right to not accept a card considered to be lacking in commercial appeal
 
The review team will begin to apply these standards to newly submitted cards.  No cards will be grandfathered in.  GCU will also begin weeding through existing cards and saying “no thank you” to those deemed not marketable.  Ultimately the direction is for new artists to submit sample work for evaluation before opening a GCU storefront.
 
This is an excellent time for all artists to look at their body of work with a critical eye as well.  Schedule your own “Weed out Week” where artists look at their own cards and remove those designs that you feel do not reflect your best work or do not shine with professionalism and polish.  Consider using your family and friends and peer artists as honest and frank critics and participating in the GCU Community BLOG Critique Clinic.  
 
We realize many artists will not be happy about this new policy.   This is another corner for GCU and artists to turn and we will all feel the growing pains.  However we are confident that this is a fair and necessary step as GCU grows and strives to be the leader in online paper greeting card sales.
 
Thank you in advance for your understanding and support!  Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.  
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Mindy
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Re: NEW - Marketability Standards & Guidelines Par
Reply #1 - Jul 25th, 2011, 4:55pm
 
Additional Notes to ease artists' concerns:
 
1. a No Thank You card will require a 2 step review process to make sure it has gotten a impartial look
 
2. these standards are effective and being applied NOW to new cards and we are slowly weeding through existing cards
 
3. the bar of quality and professionalism that we are setting is not too high and can easily be achieved w/o professional training.
 
4. the biggest offenders will be those images of poor quality (blurry, poor lighting, unrelated subject matter, snapshots of household items, distracting/unsavory background items, etc.)
 
We'd like to share actual images of "no thank you" cards to show you how/where these standards will be applied however we don't want to add public insult to injury for these artists.  Anyone have advice on how we can show "no thank you" images of these cards w/o offending the owning artists?
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Donna_137698
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Re: NEW - Marketability Standards & Guidelines Par
Reply #2 - Jul 25th, 2011, 5:00pm
 
Mindy, perhaps inviting the artists if it means a way for all of us to learn (and perhaps the artists given the no thank you can have an immediate opportunity to learn to fix the offending card for submitting again) - maybe that might work?  I'd be happy to possibly volunteer an image or two... I need all the help I can get and would rather have my work looked at with impartial eyes so I can learn.  Give me a private heads up if you plan to can some of my cards.
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Tracie_152843
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Re: NEW - Marketability Standards & Guidelines Par
Reply #3 - Jul 25th, 2011, 5:19pm
 
Perhaps some of the experienced photographers and artists would be willing take some good quality/poor quality examples of the same subject matter to show what is acceptable and not ... don't know if that makes sense Huh
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Donna_137698
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Re: NEW - Marketability Standards & Guidelines Par
Reply #4 - Jul 25th, 2011, 5:21pm
 
that's a good idea too but it won't cover the other forms of artwork - painting, drawing, digital art.  We'd need a way to cover those forms too.
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Carol_135259
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Re: NEW - Marketability Standards & Guidelines Par
Reply #5 - Jul 25th, 2011, 7:19pm
 
When sending out the *no thank you* simply, ask the owner of the image if it may or, may not be used for learning purposes. Yes or no...done!  
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Joann_153864
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Re: NEW - Marketability Standards & Guidelines Par
Reply #6 - Jul 25th, 2011, 8:30pm
 
...or maybe just do not include the Artist's name when showing a no thank you cardSmiley
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Rosanne_132497
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Re: NEW - Marketability Standards & Guidelines Par
Reply #7 - Jul 25th, 2011, 9:15pm
 
Quote from Joann_153864 on Jul 25th, 2011, 8:30pm:
...or maybe just do not include the Artist's name when showing a no thank you cardSmiley

 
Possibly a copyright violation. If the card is declined, then GCU has declined to license the image from the artist. I would suggest that it is then up to the artist to allow GCU to publicise the image in this context.
 
Carol's idea is excellent. A very simple and good solution.
 
Cheers,
 
 
Rosanne
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Red Rose Digital Art Greeting Cards:
http://www.greetingcarduniverse.com/RedRoseDigitalArt
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Laura_142481
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Re: NEW - Marketability Standards & Guidelines Par
Reply #8 - Jul 25th, 2011, 11:51pm
 
Thanks for posting the guidelines, Mindy.
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Carol_135259
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Re: NEW - Marketability Standards & Guidelines Par
Reply #9 - Jul 26th, 2011, 7:13am
 
Quote from Rosanne_132497 on Jul 25th, 2011, 9:15pm:
Quote from Joann_153864 on Jul 25th, 2011, 8:30pm:
...or maybe just do not include the Artist's name when showing a no thank you cardSmiley


Possibly a copyright violation. If the card is declined, then GCU has declined to license the image from the artist. I would suggest that it is then up to the artist to allow GCU to publicise the image in this context.

Carol's idea is excellent. A very simple and good solution.

Cheers,


Rosanne

 
 
...and using the name of the artist isn't what's important anyway...just the image.
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Donna_137698
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Re: NEW - Marketability Standards & Guidelines Par
Reply #10 - Jul 26th, 2011, 7:51am
 
some folks might not want to be used as an example - even if their name isn't used, they will know that their card is an example of what not to do.  For good examples, it's free advertising if you think about it.  Me personally, I would rather learn from my mistakes so if a card of mine is to be used as an example of a "no thank you", depending on the card, I'd be more inclined to say yes and use it as long as my name isn't showing.
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Terri_138640
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Re: NEW - Marketability Standards & Guidelines Par
Reply #11 - Jul 26th, 2011, 8:05am
 
Quote from Carol_135259 on Jul 25th, 2011, 7:19pm:
When sending out the *no thank you* simply, ask the owner of the image if it may or, may not be used for learning purposes. Yes or no...done!  

 
I like this one.  I'd love to improve my photography.  As for my art, I sometimes have that, 'it's good but it's missing something feeling'.  Like one I posted recently which I'd done a newer background for a different site.  I got some good feedback.
This would also help with that last, disturbing bit. "Any reason".  It's helpful to know the reason, so if you use those for learning purposes it will help a lot.  It'll let us know if the decline is a 'post it somewhere else'  or a challenge to find a way to creatively redo the elements to make it work.
 
I 'm glad your going slow with the weeding of the existing ones. I don't have many up  compared to some and sometimes what sells surprises me. But some I'd like to change I'm still hunting up the files for.  (As an aside:   it's not enough to back up the files.  You have to know which of the many CDs, DVD, flash drives or assorted you put the backups on.  Beware.   cry Learned the hard way here.)
 
 
And speaking of existing ones, what if the card has already been selling? I've had some definite surprises on what sells (the patriotic black funeral horse and the horse with the graduation cap.  undecided)
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Carol_135259
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Re: NEW - Marketability Standards & Guidelines Par
Reply #12 - Jul 26th, 2011, 8:24am
 
Now....there will be those who will be unhappy receiving a *no thank you* or maybe many *no thank yous*  Roll Eyes  (probably me) Lol! and they will want to voice their concerns and opinions on this, no doubt. No matter how specific GCU is on why etc., there will be those who disagree so, probably will need a specific way to go about this whether, it's through email only or, on here in another forum - maybe  *The Complaints Department*  Cheesy
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Judy_139270
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Re: NEW - Marketability Standards & Guidelines Par
Reply #13 - Jul 26th, 2011, 9:11am
 
Carol, I read on another thread that an artist has had a 'not marketable' email with absolutely no reason why and Mindy has sais there will be no right of appeal so I'm not sure how your 'Complaints Dept' would work, excepte in a very general way  Sad
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Carol_135259
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Re: NEW - Marketability Standards & Guidelines Par
Reply #14 - Jul 26th, 2011, 9:18am
 
Quote from Judy_139270 on Jul 26th, 2011, 9:11am:
Carol, I read on another thread that an artist has had a 'not marketable' email with absolutely no reason why and Mindy has sais there will be no right of appeal so I'm not sure how your 'Complaints Dept' would work, excepte in a very general way  Sad

 
 
Yes...I'm just afraid that the entire Forum will be in an uproar over this, and it's going to pop up all over the board, and there's going to have to be something in place, as to crowd control. Lol!
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