There's good news and there's bad news on the swag front.
The good news is that my order from Zazzle arrived and I was pleasantly surprised by the product quality. I've heard some horror stories about items produced by the early on-demand shops, but the resolution, fit, and finish of the Zazzle items I ordered was top notch, with one exception. The logo itself.
That's the bad news. It's entirely my fault and it's something that I've already corrected. To give you an idea of what was wrong here's a look at the black T-Shirt they sent:
Gah! The black areas of the Dornier Wal just disappears into the deep blue of the logo background and the spars of the plane are far too thin. Here's the same picture with the brightness cranked up:
While the logo I used look fine both here and in the Zazzle preview it looks totally different in print. Why? Because I didn't take into account the difference between how things look on a computer monitor and how they look in print or, more properly, the difference between additive and subtractive color. In print the deep blue of the logo background and the black of the Wal graphic blend into one big field of darkness, while the narrow white lines of the spars get swallowed up by the same effect. It's more pronounced in these pictures because the flash is only a foot or so away from the shirt, but it still looked horrible.
Luckily, it's something I could fix once I was aware of it. I've uploaded a new logo that both lightens the background and thickens the spar lines so that the logo design will look as good in print as it does on the screen.
In every other respect all the Zazzle merchandise was great. The resolution of the printing on the button, magnet, and coffee mug was excellent, but on the T-shirt I would only characterize it as good. Again, this turned out to be a problem on my end. Here's a closeup of the T-shirt image so you can get a feel for the resolution there:
You can see some speckling in the deep blue area caused by the ink not fully covering the image backing. Keep in mind that this was a 3XL shirt for my 6' 6" teenage son and the logo has been blown up to about 14" across. Once I saw that there was some degradation at that size I replaced the old logo image with a new one roughly 20 percent larger, pixel-wise, and shrank the proportions of the logo on the shirt about 10 percent. That should prevent any more bleed through in the future.
I also wanted to mention how happy I was with the overall quality of the materials used. I absolutely hate thin, flimsy T-shirts, so I was ecstatic at the feel of the 6.1 ounce cotton used in the Zazzle shirt. It has a nice heft, and my son gave it a thumbs up for comfort.
With all that said, I've deleted everything that used the old version of the logo from Zazzle and replaced it with swag using the larger, print-friendly version. If you'd like to order any of the items available, including T-Shirts, Mugs, Buttons, and Magnets, just head over here. I'm not expecting a horde of buyers, but there were enough expressions of interest that I wanted to make the tchotchkes available to anyone that wanted them. I've also left the customization options open so you can modify colors and sizes to your own specifications.
Update: If the Steve from Mansfield, United Kingdom that ordered a T-Shirt before I changed the logo is reading this, please contact me. I want to make sure you're happy with it, and if you're not I'll see that it's replaced. I take customer satisfaction very seriously.