CREATIVE: Zazzle v. Cafe Press

Click to Enlarge Image.

It’s the battle for on-demand printing and believe me I fell flat on my back on the battlefield with this: Zazzle v. Cafe Press.

Who is better in terms of creative freedom?

Well, that’s a loaded question first of all because they are both different, no matter how the same they seem.

Let’s get that straight.

I haven’t compared quality as yet, so this post is strictly about

  • availability of resources
  • creativity options
  • user interaction

I have two stores: Zazzle and Cafe Press and the comparison below is based on a hoodie/jacket/sweater.

Cafe Press

Click to Enlarge Image

It’s not secret that Cafe Press is actually the most popular site for on-demand printing, but is it the best for creativity? In my opinion, no.

  • Yes, you get more options on the types of items you can create on Cafe Press (their selections are endless), but that doesn’t mean anything if you can’t edit them as you wish inside of the product design.

1. Item Preview

This is great and it affords you the opportunity to get an idea of how your product will look once it’s been printed. However, you get one or two views (depending on product) and that’s about it. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either.

2. Imaging

You can upload or remove your images at whim. That’s great, especially if you are undecided. This means that you choices are not set in stone and you have the chance to change your mind as many times as possible.

3. Design Options

This is the worst. No seriously, after using Zazzle (see below), this is the worst. You choose the size of your image and that’s about it. End.


Click to Enlarge Image

Unlike Cafe Press, Zazzle is lesser known in comparison and I was lucky to find out about them on Twitter via @Koiyuki.

1. Item Preview

Zazzle is great for this because you get to see the front and the back of your design. Unlike Cafe Press, depending on your item, there are up to six different views per product.

2. Design Options and Imagining

This is where Zazzle out does Cafe Press by a long shot. Not only do you upload and can remove items, same as Cafe Press, but you can also

  • change/magnify the size
  • positioning
  • rotation
  • add extra text
  • add extra images to the original
  • lock or unlock your images depending on apparel
  • save as a template
  • fill entire area/fit to allotted area
  • alignment
  • positioning on shirt
  • change direction, more left? more right? more up? more down? it’s up to you
  • further editing/selecting tools

To say this makes your life easy and the design process more enjoyable and user-friendly is an understatement.

Unlike Cafe Press, with Zazzle you don’t have to edit your images to match the product. Basically, make sure you have a large, high in pixel count, image throw it into Zazzle and edit to taste.

3. How will it look?

This is actually a very cool feature because you get your own choice of which model you would like to showcase your product (in terms of items like shirts, jackets etc.), which direction you want your product to face and also, you can see a close up of what your image looks like on the product.

4. Two Birds, One Stone

Basically, on Zazzle, when you create something you have the option of adding it directly to your cart or putting in your store for sale, right off the bat. In Cafe Press, there are two separate places that this is done. You need to go into your account or you need to create something to go directly in your basket.  If there is another way to do it, I haven’t found it yet.

Winner Is???

In my personal opinion, Zazzle.

However, that being said, I think it boils down to personal preference.

What I love about Cafe Press are all the options you have for all the cool different items you get to make. I mean where else can you customize an HD camera recorder? And as a consumer their products come out cheaper! Seriously! 🙂


At the same time, Zazzle allows for a great deal of creative freedoms which, to me, in the long run are more important for my tastes and what I want to do. 🙂

Personally, if someone created Cafe Zazzle, I’d be all over that!

Also, someone suggested Printfection to me, but I haven’t tried them at all yet. From what I understand, they’ll send you a test shirt with your custom design for $2.00 USD if you want to try their services.


COMING SOON ~> Quality: Zazzle v. Cafe Press



Sasha Muradali runs the ‘Little Pink Book’ . She holds a B.S. in Public Relations and minor in Dance from the University of Florida (’07) and an M.A. in International Administration from the University of Miami(’08). She loves Twitter and all things social media, so you should find her @SashaHalima or get a copy of the ‘Little Pink Book’ delivered to your Kindle.

Copyright © 2009 Sasha H. Muradali. All Rights Reserved.


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  2. This is great stuff. I've been trying to figure out which one to go with for some time now and found this very valuable. I'm seeing more Zazzle sites among creative friends on Tumblr these days, which is what first put it on my radar. Thanks, and looking forward to the follow-up.

  3. Hi Ed!

    I'm so glad you found it useful. I first started w/ Zazzle, but then I
    decided to open a Cafe Press store. It doesn't hurt to have both. I altered
    my graphics to fit each site too btw. Which is how I know a lot about the
    design capabilities.

    Zazzle is way easier and more user-friendly with a TON of extra freedom. My
    main Mad Women image — I have about 6 different versions of it. 🙂

    Thanks for commenting!
    🙂 Sasha

  4. I am a new-ish Zazzle store owner and I find the possibilities are good for me. I have been thinking about also creating a store on Cafe Press. Your post has really helped me in my decision. I like the fact that there are more items to customize, but the image editing sounds like a real bummer. I'm also turned off by the fact that it's hard to get a nicer looking store on Cafe Press than on Zazzle.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  5. You are welcome 🙂

    Good luck with your store!

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