How Society6 works

By robynjay On February 23rd, 2015

It became apparent this week that people are unclear how Society6 and its pricing system works so this post will clarify things I hope.
All you need to use Society6 as an artist is an account and a verified PayPal account (this is so you can be paid); there are no other upfront costs or charges.
To post a new design you simply upload a high resolution file of the design. This file is used for your prints (unframed, framed, canvas) and is the basis for your store. You are offered an opportunity to determine your profit margin on these. All the work and the cost of the ink, and sometimes the postage is covered by Society6 and its partners.

Once you have uploaded this file, given it a description and at least one category it is published and available to the public.

Soc6At this point, or at any point in the future, you can add products. There is a defined range of products on offer and artists can select which they would like to offer. The products come in clusters based on the file size/dimensions that are required. So if you select tote bags for example, and upload the appropriate file, you automatically also have cushion covers for sale, and if that file was high enough resolution shower curtains and doona covers also are available. I’ll go into the files and file sizes in detail in a future post.
The price for each of these products is set by Society6. I typically receive around 10% of each sale which seems low but keep in mind that there is no risk (so long as the quality of the design is ok), and all costs and labour is covered their end.
When a sale occurs the 10% becomes available to me as credit after the end of the month.
Within Society6 there is a community of users; this goes for both artists and shoppers. You can follow an artist, favourite designs, and comment on a design. It’s time consuming but I try to find some time each week to look around and give others feedback. Designs with lots of attention get pushed to the front for Society6 promos, website homepage etc (or at least I THINK) that’s how they are selected.
So, it helps artists if, as a buyer, you log in and click that little heart if you like a design. It tells them what’s working and helps them grow!

being repetitive

By robynjay On February 13th, 2015

Getting into this design work is a steep learning curve …. in many ways.

One of things I’ve learned in past weeks is how to create a seamless repetitive design, particularly for Spoonflower fabric.
While my first doodle designs did not lend themselves to any but mirror image repeats due to their non-contained/random nature, I’m slowly working on more individual design objects that can be arranged and repeated.
It may not be the official (or even best) way but here’s my process using Photoshop and my recent poppy design …

1. Paste in and arrange your objects on a square canvas keeping within the border. By resizing objects I try to squeeze in as much as I can at this stage. Transform items to add interest (flip and rotate).

Screenshot 2015-02-10 18.10.52    Screenshot 2015-02-10 18.27.12

This will become your bottom layer so keep in mind that while you can move things with the marquee tool everything after this point will be on top. SAVE as PSD.

2. Flatten the layers. Save as a separate file.

3. Go to Filter – Other – Offset. Set the horizontal to half your file’s pixel width leaving the vertical setting at 0. Ensure the Wrap Around box is checked. Click OK.

Screenshot 2015-02-10 18.32.47

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Fill the spaces with your design objects. You’ll probably need to start resizing down even more at this point to fit things. When you’re happy, flatten and save.

5. Repeat the Filter process, this time making the H setting 0, and the V setting half your pixel width.

6. Continue filling the canvas. I tend to switch around the Filter views a few times to make sure I’m happy. Save.

Screenshot 2015-02-11 08.13.30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Check your pattern by either copy/paste onto larger canvas or by creating a Defined Pattern (Edit – Define Pattern) and using this to fill a larger canvas.

Hope that’s useful! Enjoy your designing 🙂

a return to the fold

By robynjay On February 12th, 2015

OK, so it has been a long time since I blogged in here. It’s been 3 years in fact since I posted I am enough, and a lot has happened in that time.
I was back in a full-time employment role when my sister was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Without hesitation I resigned to spend the little time we had left close by her, and to offer whatever support I could to her and her family.
It sucked losing my parents and then her in the space of 3 years.
I spoke to her about our dream to travel to the Kimberleys, and she confided that it was somewhere she had always wanted to visit but now never would.

So we did. In 2014 after months of preparation and saving, we hit the road. You can follow our adventures on the blog and in FlickR. Traveling in this way is life changing, there’s no denying it.
It’s hard to believe we’ve been home now for as long as we were away.

We returned to a VET system in disarray. To be honest it had been heading that way for some time. In a recent podcast we pondered this and the loss of trust, flexibility, innovation, social justice and the right to life long education.
Insufficient funding, overly complex bureaucratic systems, competition, incompetence and a lack of focus on the needs of individuals has led to a sector that has lost its soul and functionality.

Regardless I ploughed back on in to Seek etc. What I discovered was earth shattering, but perhaps my saviour. There’s nothing much there for me.
With public education in crisis most contracts and work are currently in the corporate space and it appears that (predominantly) coming from the public sphere pretty much labels you an outcast. Now this is an interesting discussion in itself …. why an experienced educator with a wide range of experience and skills would not be competent to fill a L&D type of role in business, but apparently that’s the perception [and a warning note here to all the wonderful educators finding themselves out of work].

The more I looked, the more I decided I didn’t want to be there anyway!

So with that as impetus I’ve retreated back to my first love – design. At school I studied art, and textiles and design. It was made pretty clear to me however that this was not a wise career choice, and so I detoured into education.
With a total change of direction it’s taking time to find my feet and my niche. Thankfully I have the resources to take this time. I’ve been trying out Spoonflower for fabric and paper design, Society6 for readimade textile and homeware products, and I’m investigating Etsy.
I’m weighing up adopting readimade goods or making my own – there’s not a lot of difference in potential income when it comes down to it and the former allows more time for actual design rather than construction.
The drop in the Australian dollar has come at a bad time for those of us importing goods from the US however!

So I’m starting a new category in here for Bunyip Designs and we’ll see how we go.
Thanks for sharing the journey!

and after the rain comes new life

scaffolding learning design

By robynjay On March 3rd, 2011

In my last post from the DEHub summit I’ll cover what was a very interesting keynote by Diana Laurillard from the London Knowledge Lab on ‘The critical role of teachers in optimising technologies for open learning’. Lots to cover in this one…

Diana introduced work on a new tool (starter kit) to support collaborative learning design. Strangely enough I had been describing something similar only weeks before but was totally at a loss how the technology would work, so I’m excited to see how the tool might be adapted for our work in VET.

Diana began by presenting some major challenges:

  • the best people to take forward thinking in L&T are the practitioners themselves however time and funding are lacking and we are NOT going to get this from Governments
  • lack of teacher training and confidence
  • lack of senior staff involvement
  • lack of reward
  • need for documented case studies of good practice
  • dislocation between research and practice
  • top down strategies and policies are not followed through
  • bottom up activity is plentiful but not improving – market driven by software companies and localised

So what to do about it?

  • trust the professionals if we give them the right tools
  • a middle out approach where we focus on supporting teachers as collaborating innovators
  • a learning design support environment providing tools for design, development and sharing
  • focus on an iterative loop to support innovation – sharing learning designs → innovating pedagogic patterns → evaluating learning designs → implementing courses → expanding knowledge of teaching and learning

The aim of the design tool was to:

  • expand knowledge and encourage progression to new methods,
  • encourage thinking outside the box,
  • encourage reflection and sharing,
  • enable teachers to build on the work of peers
  • import existing ‘pedagogical patterns’ of good teaching – patterns of digital versions of what teachers do now
  • model pedagogical and logistical benefits and disadvantages
  • allow play and experimentation, testing in practice
  • allow redesign and adaptation

To do this the form and content are separated; content is stripped out and the pedagogy/design/form is left – fill in the gaps style. Each teacher, regardless of field of study, takes, adapts, improves and gives back. teachers are able to create a new design or import one. A range of outcome categories are presented and a choice of L&T activities (simulations, discussions etc). All properties are editable and can be dragged/dropped onto a timeline and then resized by emphasis/ % of time. The design data is presented via pie charts on the types of learning (practice,inquiry,production,acquisition,discussion) and the implications on cost (staffing etc).

You can try out the draft tool here!

[CC FlickR image shared by Giant Ginkgo]

embracing the tumult

By robynjay On March 23rd, 2010

I’m doing some design and facilitation work at present on projects that essentially focus on equipping and inspiring teachers to rethink and redesign their practice. It has led me to reread a load of approaches to learning design but also to ponder why it is that we see so little in the way of exemplary contemporary practice.

I think that many (but not all) senior managers and Ministers are genuinely interested in providing ‘quality’ education services. Misguided often its true; outrageously bad decisions are made by incompetent incapable advisors, out of date practices continue or alternatively the latest ‘fad’ wastes inordinate amounts of public monies. But I’m going to be generous and say that its ignorance, and not evil (Mike) that is the cause.

And most teachers too have hearts in the right place. Unfortunately in post-compulsory settings most ‘teachers’ lack education training that allows time to read, revise, connect, deconstruct and reconstruct the models of being a teacher they carry in their minds from their own life experiences. (How some people end up in teaching roles I have no idea – good conditions and reasonable pay I suspect. I watched my sons suffer in the hands of a science teacher who spent each class writing notes on a blackboard for them to transcribe.)

Good teachers are genuinely interested in how people learn. The really dedicated stay in touch with the latest trends, opportunities and theoretical approaches in their own times and by their own means. They are what George Siemens describes as master learners; not only reflecting on what works as a learner in a metacognitive sense, but continually looking at how they can do it better.

“Good teaching may overcome a poor choice of teaching, but technology will never save bad teaching.”

(Tony Bates, 2005)

Good teachers are an inspiration no matter what approach they take;  good teachers armed with effective educational technologies are mighty. Bad teachers are simply a drudge no matter what medium. Tragically education largely reflects the model of 100 years ago. It IS still predominantly something that by and large is DONE to people in courses that run over X weeks…. transmission of ideas happens via hideously bad lectures, readings etc.

So let’s focus on those with potential. A window of opportunity exists if we can capture the good teachers and support them to grow and re-establish momentum. We’ve dangled tools and strategies as carrots until we’re blue in the face but that’s not enough.  What we get in reply is ‘but now what, how do I use these in my teaching?’ For some, models and a kick start are all that’s needed but if your teaching approach is instructivist in nature the best we can achieve is to adjust PDFs to video or the inclusion of quizzes. We give them the tools but not the inspiration and scaffolds to rethink practice. It’s no wonder people cannot see beyond the walls of the LMS – why would you if your world as a teacher is to instruct?

Good friend and mentor Robby Weatherley suggested last week that the pendulum has swung back to a focus on learning design. But we need to think very carefully what that looks like before we turn the clocks back. Too often what WE ourselves provide is instructivist in nature. I’ve seen leading thinkers in contemporary educational thought stand and lecture.

We need to model contemporary learning design in our staff development programs.

We need to acknowledge and what learners (teachers) bring to the environment – their strengths and experiences and passions.

We need to provide the scaffolds for teachers to become independent networked learners beyond their time in staff development programs and under our gaze.
We need to acknowledge their lives and interests and identify areas as launching pads for experimentation and risk taking.

As George Siemens suggests ‘our learning institutions have been created in the spirit of research and openness, yet they have acquired their own neurotic tendencies. Yes we need a dynamic alternative to address our ambiguous, tumultuous personal learning needs and that scares the heck out of most educators.

No it’s not really about resourcing Mike . Some of the very best learning happens in small, community based, lowly resourced programs. It’s about WILL not dollars. And while I agree that stagnant dinosaurs of institutions will and DO lose the innovators its not necessarily to an emerging educational counter-culture –  That has always been present. We are lured to job security and better pay that institutions offer but that’s not where satisfaction lies.

Relationships grow in communities – thats where uniqueness and individuality are valued, cherished and encouraged – within communities of shared values and goals.  Don’t fear the reactive policy measures – they will come and go – thankfully most of us at least in Australia live with freedom and choice. We can opt-out.And we should if it becomes soul destroying.

So in the coming weeks I’ll be working with some excellent minds to play with new designs, and hopefully to give inspirational teachers room to grow and embrace the complex and chaotic beauty of contemporary learning possibilities. I’m looking forward to the challenge.


cc licensed flickr photo shared by radiobrain_