The developers of The Awesome Designer, a new plugin for WordPress, aim to give users “a complete multi-purpose product designer for WooCommerce.”
Using HTML5, it provides a standalone admin within WordPress for setting up and customizing printable products for WooCommerce shops.
Through their simple interface, The Awesome Designer helps online shop customers customize such products as T-shirts, phone cases, canvas, mugs, posters, business cards, bottles, bags, calendars, and more. Any printable product can be customized with the images and text of your choosing.
When the customization is finished, The Awesome Designer lets you easily download a high-resolution, print-ready version of the design for production.
With the paid versions of The Awesome Designer, this is done with their “Web-to-print” render technology.
The Awesome Designer’s Main Features
The Awesome Designer was created to help your shop customers visually customize your products. To that end, it offers many features, including:
• Fast and simple HTML5 online product designer
• Web-to-print technology (for paid plans) that create up to 300 dpi images
• Many font styles and text features to choose from
• Custom color options, including the ability to save color choices
• Image sizing and cropping tools for your shop’s product layout
• Preinstalled clipart and images to use in product designs
• Clipart management (with custom categories)
• Image and text effects like text on a curve, edge effects, rotation, sizing, opacity, and more
• Ability to use shapes to help “mask” designs
• Predesigned templates for “collage” layouts
• Fully responsive and optimized mobile version—works on all devices and systems
• Easy translation (currently available in English and French)
Setting Up and Using The Awesome Designer
The Awesome Designer plugin is made to work with WooCommerce, so you’ll want to make sure the WooCommerce plugin is installed and activated on your WordPress site.
To get started with The Awesome Designer, you can download and install the free version of the plugin from the WordPress.org repository. Here’s how you do that:
- From your WordPress dashboard, go to Plugins… Add New.
In the Search Plugins field, type The Awesome Designer and hit return.
Click the Install Now button for the first result.
Once it’s installed, Activate the plugin in the WordPress dashboard.
General Program Settings
To get into The Awesome Designer, click on Awesome Designer in the WordPress admin sidebar.
The plugin has three tabs for setting some basic overall configurations:
Here’s where you can enter your API key, that will tie your account to the plugin’s service for high-resolution print images.
One of their paid plans will get you access to what they call “HD output rendering” from their “Web-to-print” service. Generally, this means 300 dpi print resolution of customer designs at the required print size. Once a customer creates their design in your shop, you just need to click a button to download and print it, as needed.
The General tab is also where you set the maximum (and minimum) upload sizes for any images that can be used for product designs.
Because there’s no color picker for the mobile version of the designer, this is where you set the list of colors that can be used for the mobile designer.
Also, for all designer versions (mobile or desktop), there’s the option to limit your color palette here by listing hexadecimal numbers that are separated with commas. Otherwise, you have the ability to choose unlimited colors with a color palette.
Front Display Options Tab
Here, you can show or hide tools that are accessible in the designer. You have the option to show/hide photo uploads, text, and clipart options from your shop customers.
Using The Awesome Designer
After you set the basic settings above, you’re ready to get into the designer admin. Here’s where text and images can be chosen to visually customize your products. It’s also where you choose to define the area that your products can be printed on.
Creating a New Product
- To get started with setting up a product that your customers can customize, click the green button for Main Admin Panel.
You’ll see five icons. Three of the icons are for managing design elements (images, clipart, fonts). The other two icons are for actual product creation.
- In this example, we’re going to set up a basic product that can be customized. Click the Create New Product icon.
Choose between One Face or Multi-Faces for the product display you want to create for WooCommerce.
For example, if you wanted to create a T-shirt with only the front printed, you would choose “One Face”. If you chose “Multi-Faces”, you could print on the front and the back.
- Choose between Full Size Print Zone with Mask Above or Print Zone Inside with Background.
“Full Size Print Zone with Mask Above” is for products where the print area appears under a mask (cell phone covers, canvas, posters, etc.). “Print Zone Inside with Background” is where the print area appears above the mask (T-shirts, mugs, etc.).
- Name Your Product and determine the Number of Faces (sides) that can be printed on. Click Next.
Name Your Face (e.g., front) and click Next.
7. Upload a Background image for the face of the product in JPEG or PNG format, or Choose from Gallery (you’ll have the option to choose from available product images for cell phone covers, shirts, puzzles, plates, pillows, and more).
The Awesome Designer also provides “image packs” from their online store. These are images of common objects that are available with some of their paid plans.
Note: When using your own images, you have to use PNG images with transparency if you choose to use the “Full Size Print Zone”.
- Position the image for display (how you want it to look in WooCommerce), and then click Crop It.
Define the print size your customer can customize by typing the Exact Final Print Size for the product. Click Define Area.
Position the Printing Zone on the product (this indicates the product area that can be printed on). Click Next Face (for products that have more than one print side).
As you did before, Name Your Face (e.g., back) and click Next.
Again, Upload a Background image for the face of the product, or Choose from Gallery.
Position the image (as you want it to look in WooCommerce), and then click Crop It.
Define the print size your customer can customize by typing the Exact Final Print Size (including margins) for the product. Click Define Area.
Adjust the Printing Zone on the product to indicate the area on the product that can be printed on.
Click Next Face.
Define the different color options the product will be available in.
The colors you set up here will determine the different color options your customers will have for customizing your product in WooCommerce. When specifying colors, you need to use hexadecimal numbers (without the #, and with no spaces between the commas and numbers).
- For Choose the Display Type, you need to decide how you want to present your product in your WooCommerce shop. Choose either Face Names (e.g., front, back) for text, or Face Pictures for images.
After you click OK, Done, The Awesome Designer tells you that Your Product Is Created.
Adding Your Product to WooCommerce
Now that you’ve created the product and set its print and customization options, you need to add it to your WooCommerce shop. Remember, you must have WooCommerce installed and activated to use The Awesome Designer.
As you would with any WooCommerce product, create a product page for the product you just set up. Here’s how you do that:
- In WordPress, click the WooCommerce link in the admin sidebar, and go to Products… Add Product.
Fill in your desired product information, and then scroll down to the area that reads AwesomeDesigner, and click on it.
- From the Awesome Product drop-down menu, choose the name of the product you created with The Awesome Designer, and click Update.
Customizing the Product
OK, so far you created your product image(s) and print areas with The Awesome Designer, and you added the product to WooCommerce. Now we’re going to look at how to customize the product.
- Go to your live WooCommerce shop in WordPress, and click on the product you created with The Awesome Designer.
On the next page, click the Customize button for the product.
This will take you to The Awesome Designer’s customization window.
- Let’s use a T-shirt as an example product. Assuming you gave the option to customize the product in more than one color, your customer can choose a color swatch next to Product Color to change the color of the T-shirt.
By clicking on the Photos link, the customer can upload or drag in an image of their choosing.
They also have different options such as moving and scaling the image, flipping and rotating the image, sending it to back or front, setting it as a background, zooming in and out of the image, adding a color border, using a shape to mask the image, changing its opacity, and more.
- By clicking on the Text link, the customer can choose from a selection of fonts and type in whatever text they’d like for their product.
They also have options such as choosing their color and font style, choosing their text alignment and spacing, putting text on a curve, flipping and rotating the text, adding a border color to the text, moving the text front/back, changing its opacity, and more.
- By clicking on the Clipart link, the customer can choose from a selection of clipart to add to the product.
They also have options such as scaling and positioning the clipart, moving it from front to back, flipping and rotating it, changing its opacity, and more.
- When the customer is satisfied with customization of the product, they can click on the Finish button. This will render the product and backup the data.
If you have one of the paid plans or have purchased credits for “HD” Web-to-print rendering, you can download a high-resolution version of the design. To get credits for HD print rendering, you need an API key. To get your API key, just register at www.theawesomedesigner.com.
Support & Documentation for The Awesome Designer
The people behind The Awesome Designer offer support through email and an online ticket system.
In addition, they have a basic FAQ section on their website, along with a quick user guide you can find at: https://www.theawesomedesigner.com/guide.pdf
You can also view basic video tutorials from their YouTube channel.
While I think they did a decent job with their documentation, I found some of their English to be hard to follow. I definitely feel it would be beneficial for them to rewrite some of their documentation with the assistance of a native English writer.
Although they mention that they check the support forums at WordPress.org every few days, they recommend going through their site’s support system for better support service.
The developers behind The Awesome Designer are dedicated to growing and improving the plugin, and say that they’re open to customer suggestions and ideas.
The Awesome Designer Pricing
The Awesome Designer comes in both free and paid versions—and you can change plans at any time.
The free plan offers the same tools as the paid plans, except for the high-resolution, ready-to-print images that are available through the paid plans.
Their paid plans provide access to their dedicated servers and the resource-intensive Web-to-print technology. Web-to-print credits can be purchased as needed, even without a license (one credit pays for one print job).
The people behind the The Awesome Designer also offer to create any product visuals you might need—up to 10/month for the Business license, and up to 50/month for the Enterprise license.
Plugin maintenance and updates
Unlimited monthly user sessions
Manual recovery only (of customer designs)
Start-Up Plan ($9/month):
Plugin maintenance and updates
Unlimited monthly user sessions
Slower HD output render time
Maximum of 100 HD output per month
Business Plan ($59/month):
Plugin maintenance and updates
Unlimited monthly user sessions
Fasts HD output render time
Maximum of 300 HD output per month
Product templates (up to 10 product visuals/month)
Enterprise Plan ($199/month):
Maintenance and updates
Unlimited monthly user sessions
Fast HD output render time
Unlimited HD output
Product templates (up to 50 product visuals/month)
Template packs (product photos for customization)
Users who purchase an annual subscription plan (as opposed to month-to-month), can save on the cost of one month.
Conclusions & Recommendations for The Awesome Designer
The Awesome Designer is a WordPress plugin that was created to help online shop owners provide unique product customization options for their customers.
Through a simple HTML5 admin, it allows users to set up a variety of text and image design options that can be applied to any printable product, such as cell phone covers, T-shirts, calendars, puzzles, and anything else that can be printed on.
And it does so with a unique, Web-to-print technology, where it allows you to download 300 dpi “HD” resolution images for printing.
That said, I’d love to see a few improvements with The Awesome Designer.
For instance, its existing clipart and image library is very limited, so it’s up to the user to find other graphic resources or create their own with a program like Photoshop. That’s OK, as long as users understand that this program by itself is not going to create beautiful visual artwork for the customization of your products. And so, I definitely think the product could benefit by replacing the current clipart and image library with elements that are more upscale and professional.
Also, I was left with questions regarding their imaging service. For instance, Web image formats such as JPEG and PNG aren’t the most appropriate file formats for printing, so I’m curious to how well product designs using these formats translate over to print-ready images.
I have a similar concern about the inherently low-resolution images used on the web, and how well they translate into 300 dpi print-ready images. And I wondered how hexadecimal colors for the web translated over to color formats that are more appropriate for printing, such as CMYK or even RGB.
Finally, I sometimes had a problem understanding some of the phrasing and grammar in parts of the documentation and user interface. I believe a rewriting of their documentation by a native English writer would greatly help users with comprehension.
In short, I like the fact that The Awesome Designer offers such a unique customization service for WooCommerce owners and customers. But at the same time, I personally feel the current version of this plugin could benefit greatly from a few changes. By cleaning up the documentation and parts of the user interface, and upgrading their preinstalled image resource offerings, The Awesome Designer would be much improved.
I think that the people behind The Awesome Designer seem genuinely dedicated to improving and growing their product. As mentioned before, they’re open to new ideas and improvements from their customers. And their support was very good when I had a issue using their plugin—they were quick to respond, friendly, and helped solve the problem.
The Awesome Designer currently integrates with WooCommerce, but the developers have stated that it will work with additional online shop plugins in the future (Magento, PrestaShop, Shopify, etc.). Other future improvements to look for include the ability to upload photos from social sites such as Facebook and Instagram, allowing users to create templates for their customers, automatic image quality detection, optional cloud storage, and more.
If you’d like to find out more about The Awesome Designer, you can do so here.