Dynamic Designs (aka DD) is an exciting feature that serves to simplify and expand upon the tool-set available for creating Customisable and Personalised Products.
Conventionally, Blank (Base) Products are configured on the platform, and then Virtual Products are created from them featuring artwork and associated user functionality. This approach remains valid and suits most standard use cases.
Dynamic Designs simply provides an alternate solution which splits the visual element of the product and the functionality/pre-design options into separate processes, which are then combined within the Smartlink via a Dynamic Designs selector. The idea being that a single configured Dynamic Design can then be applied to any number of Blank Products.
Dynamic Designs is an advanced system feature. It is recommended that users have a good understanding of 2d Product Creation and the platform basics before attempting to create Dynamic Design Products. As such, this article is written based on presumed system knowledge.
Dynamic Designs is currently supported in with ACP3_2. It requires a custom config setting to enable the Dynamic Design tab menu (you can do this via Smartlink Builder).
Top Tip: Dynamic Designs are Aspect Ratio driven. The DD will always be scaled to fit the full Print Area available on the Blank Product. If the Aspect Ratio's are not identical/similar, it may lead to cropping of your design - so set up your designs with this in mind!
What are the benefits of using Dynamic Designs?
The Dynamic Designs feature streamlines the creation process if your aim is to apply designs/functionality configurations against multiple Blank products more easily.
Lets look at a hypothetical scenario:
I have 10 Blank products, and 3 designs that I want to be available on each of them.
A) Standard process requires you to create all 10 Blank products in . Each of those products would then need to have a Virtual Product created and configured with the design being applied to the Print Area.
In this scenario, using Dynamic Designs has more than halved the required workload of the standard process.
Another huge benefit is that any changes to products are much faster and easier to make. This is because the products are fewer in total number, and because they are separate elements. Eg. A change to the 3 designs in (A) would require all 30 Virtual Products to be altered, whereas in (B) only changes to the 3 Dynamic Designs is required. This would reduce the potential workload by 90% in this case.
How do I set it up?
1. Create your 'Blank' product/s as normal. They should consist of an Aspect Preview, and a Print Specification - it is not necessary to have any user functionality as this will come from the Dynamic Design product. Nothing else is required from a setup perspective for the Base product (you can set a colour area to change the product colour if needed) - the sole focus should be on how the blank product is to be presented to the customer, and how the output conforms to the required Print Specification.
Here is an example Blank Product with a square print area displayed in Print Test:
2. Create and configure your Dynamic Designs as separate products in product manager using the 'Create Product' button.
Add an Aspect. This should be created using a Transparent Preview image (this is because the Blank Product will serve to provide the product preview within the Smartlink). To do this, you will need to save a transparent image file from your artwork package of choice, as a PNG.
Top Tip: For convenience, please see the file attached to this article that you can use as you wish.
You will then need to define a Print Area - this is NOT used for print purposes (the values set on the Blanks are used to ensure files are delivered at the correct size). The Print Area should be based on the same/similar Aspect Ratio of those defined on the Blank product, it's this matching Aspect Ratio that maps content from your Dynamic Design and makes it 'FIT' desirably to your Blank products.
Note: In this example, our Blank T Shirt has a square Print Area, so our Dynamic Design has been created with a Square Print Area, so they have a matching Aspect Ratio.
Another Example scenario for additional context: If you have 10 Blank phone cases, it is highly likely that they will share a 'similar' portrait shaped Print Area and thus a similar Aspect Ratio. Therefore a portrait Aspect Ratio for the Dynamic Design will map more desirably. In this scenario you would want to avoid creating a landscape shaped Dynamic Design because it would not fit the phone cases well.
You can then set your User Functionality - Image Areas and/or Text Areas and link any relevant gallery content. If you want to add a static piece of artwork to your Dynamic Design, upload your file as a placeholder on the Image area and make sure it is enabled for use in artwork generation.
CRITICAL: Any static artwork/design elements should be uploaded as a Placeholder image on an Image Area. You can disable user input to make the design non interactive.
3. The Dynamic Designs needs to be in their own Category Folder in platform - this folder will be looked up by the Smartlink to make the designs selectable. To do this, create a new Category, select the products from Product Manager list view and use the Bulk Action drop-down to 'Set the Category'.
Once loaded, the Smartlink will display the Blank product and the Dynamic Design menu. When the user selects a Dynamic Design, it gets applied into the specified Print Area on the base product and any functionality then becomes available.
Top Tip: You can create and offer any functionality as a Dynamic Design - it is not limited to Personalised (with artwork). Technically you could create add standard Image Upload/Text Input to give you Customisable Product functionality, as shown in the image above.
How do I load a specific dynamic design by default?
Load your base product with the &p= parameter as always and then also include the &ddp= parameter to reference a dynamic design product, it will add this design to the base product on loading,
The &ddp= parameter can be used in conjunction with the regular &dd= parameter which references a category of dynamic designs, this would have the effect of setting the dynamic design which loads by default but still allowing the user a choice of several designs
It's worth remembering that &ddp= and &dd= can also be used with a product selector parameter &pc= to enable a range of products that can be used with the dynamic designs.
If you are a new CG customer and require assistance in setting up your Smartlinks, work with your Onboarder to do this. Existing users can use the resources at our support portal including our dedicated academy courses: https://support.custom-gateway.com/portal/en/home