Friday, January 28, 2011

What to make of it

I mentioned CafePress yesterday, and I've been looking at their site more closely.  The business model is that you can upload graphics files, and create a "store" where people can buy stuff that bears your graphic.

What's interesting is what the stuff is.  It used to be they just printed your design on t-shirts, mouse pads and such.  That's not surprising.  The technology to turn designs into printed stuff automatically has been around for a long time.

Then they added coffee mugs and other objects.  That seems a little more challenging, since the objects don't always have flat surfaces.  You can't put mugs through a printing press.

Actually, they can print on a decal and transfer it to the cup, or any other suitable surface.

Now the bear looks difficult, but if you look carefully, you can see it's just wearing a t-shirt.  (Do they have machines to put printed t-shirts on bears?  Or is there a sweatshop somewhere full of underpaid workers struggling to put teeny little t-shirts on stuffed bears?)

Now these places are offering embroidery.  That's pretty impressive.  Turning a design into an embroidery pattern is challenging.  As you can see, some designs are simply not going to work well.

There are technologies around the corner that can make three dimensional objects from electronic files, so you'll be able to have custom figurines, parts, or whatever.

But the really odd thing is the choice of apparel that CafePress offers.  Can you imagine a greater turn-on, for example, then the official Tech Curmudgeon thong?

No comments: