New Holiday Cards
We added several new cards to our Winter Holiday and Christmas card lineup:
Check them out and start sending those family newsletters! We also tidied up in the card creator, fixing a glitch that was preventing finished cards from staying in your shopping cart.
If you need help making and ordering cards, look here. Pros, don’t forget that you can also price and sell cards to anyone you wish.
Change Your Billing Options
We’ve heard this a lot lately: “Ack! I signed up for annual billing but I meant to pick monthly!” No worries, we made it easier for you to change how often you’re billed without any assistance from us.
Now when you visit your Control Panel‘s Settings tab, you’ll find a few more options under that “upgrade” link. Basic and Power subscribers can still upgrade their account levels, but now all users can modify their billing frequency, too.
Changes will take effect after your currently-paid term, so you don’t have to shell out a dime until your account is up for renewal.
Small hitch: You can’t switch between paying with a credit card to Amazon Payments, nor can you change both the billing frequency and account level simultaneously. But if this sounds like you, write to our Support Heroes and we’ll help you get sorted out.
Everything you ever need to know about billing is right here.
- You can now view videos from your passworded galleries without getting logged out of your account.
- Pro Portfolio pricing can again be applied to galleries without throwing errors or switching print labs.
- Urā! We added Latvia to our list of shipping destinations. Paldies par gaidīšanu!
- Smart Galleries should update quicker when you change your Rules or upload new photos that follow them.
- If you exit the shopping cart, we’ll return you to the last photo you were viewing rather than to the beginning of the gallery.
Here’s to sharing (and shipping) great pictures together,
The SmugMug Family
This week we’ve added progress bars to our newest member of the uploader family, HTML5. We were flooded with requests for this (very useful) feature, so now you should see indicators showing just how fast we’re slurping your files.
Things may look very slightly different for Firefox users, but all browsers (Firefox, Safari and Chrome) should get the overall progress bar at the top.
We also fixed a bug that was causing erroneous “File too large” error messages when files of the correct size were dragged in.
Finally, we added an extra measure of security to the Done button at the bottom and the red ‘X’ at the top. If you hit those in the middle of an upload we’ll double check to make sure you really did want to stop and close the window.
… and remember, our Simple uploader is always ready and waiting if HTML5 didn’t sweep you off your feet (or if you’re using Internet Explorer.)
We love delivering the stuff you want but it’s up to you to tell us what that is! So keep the feedback rolling in.
Here’s to uploading beautiful pictures together,
The SmugMug Family
Save yourself the paper cuts and let us gift wrap your orders. Boutique Packaging is here!
Specify a minimum dollar amount and we’ll place qualifying orders into a beautiful, sturdy gift box or folder. Prints fulfilled through Bay Photo will get an additional gold paper ribbon adorning it all. Perfect.
Boutique Packaging costs just $7 a pop. Orders containing prints from both Bay Photo and EZ Prints are $7 per lab. Like coupons and order branding, we’ll deduct this from your profits or bill the card you have on file.
Need to change something? Be sure all of your galleries are safeguarded with Proof Delay so you can review your orders. With this feature you can add or remove Boutique Packaging from any qualifying order that’s been placed with 3-5 Day shipping (or faster). This is a super-simple way to be sure you’ll wow your customers… even if they buy from galleries where Boutique Packaging wasn’t set
Finally, Boutique Packaging applies to single-Pro orders, only. If your customers buy from more than one photographer, our regular packaging and shipping options will apply.
Get all the details on our help page here. Try it now and let us know what you think!
A variety of bug fixes went out tonight:
- Geotaggers rejoice! You no longer need to enter captions for pins to show on your map.
- We kicked a bug that caused some non-Pro-priced galleries to print from a different lab than expected.
- Crop bars should no longer appear for cards purchased through Pro packages.
- Our signup page is SMRTer so that you won’t be double-billed even if you double-click on the signup button or use the back button in your browser.
Stay tuned for more great updates,
The SmugMug Family
Over the last few months, we’ve been working hard to revamp SmugMug’s look and feel. We polished our home page and updated the new user experience, while continuing to iterate on your feature requests. As part of this process, we’ve also spent a lot of time updating our logo.
But first, a bit of history
The evolution of our logo hasn’t been without drama. Originally we were a gaming company called ModGods, a place where geeks could customize online games and make them their own. But as small companies do, we quickly changed direction and suddenly the name didn’t seem to make much sense anymore. After many weeks of brainstorming, debate and consultations, we finally decided on SmugMug. Baldy, President and Co-founder, wasn’t a big fan. He thought it sounded too unapproachable and, well, smug. Don, our CEO, who’d always been a fan of comic books, decided to use Comic Sans for the logo font and added a smiley with a sideways “D” to soften the image. And voila, the SmugMug logo was born.
Don didn’t fret too much about the way Smuggy looked. He had planned to change it after a few weeks, anyway. Who would have thought it would take 8 years to make a change?! Well, much to our surprise, the logo stuck. We’d wear it on our t-shirts, hats and jerseys and people loved it. Something about Smuggy was friendly and inherently humble. When we tried to change it a few years back, our loyal customers very nearly incited a riot. And when we tried to crowd-source a new version, we were so overwhelmed with the response, we couldn’t pick just one. Even internally, discussion of the slightest tweaks have sparked raging debates. Who knew the attachment ran so deep?
Though we’ve always loved the humble origins of the first SmugMug logo, we’ve grown up a lot over the past eight years and thought it was time that our signature brand did, too. We wanted a logo that’s both fun and professional, something new enough to showcase our values of working hard and playing hard, but not straying too far from our roots.
To make the change, we polished the “Smuggy” logomark and replaced the infamous Comic Sans typeface with ITC Officina Sans in bold. We kept Smuggy (the semicolon eyes and sideways “D” smile), brightened the colour and did some slight re-alignments. The new logo as a result is a bit more grown up, just like us.
Our Pro logo needed polishing as well. We learned through user feedback, and from our experience here as photographers, that the logo had to be a neutral color. So, we removed the blue and replaced it with a metallic silver grey.
We also thought it would be important to make the Pro logo distinct from our normal Smuggy logo. Pros, after all, have a different goal when compared with our Basic and Power users. We wanted to showcase a sense of professionalism, elegance and maturity, so we added a “PRO” badge. After experimenting with various textures we settled on brushed aluminum.
Brushed aluminum portrays an image of quality and detail (think about Apple’s logo). Though we considered numerous other metal treatment options like titanium, silver and chrome, we chose to go with brushed aluminum because it enabled us to create distinct texture details. All of the other materials looked very bland. Think about timeless pieces of design, like expensive watches, cars, photo products (i.e. metal prints, albums, frames) and professional gear, all incorporate the brushed metal look somewhere in their branding.
As you can see, the new SmugMug Pro logo on the right does better justice to the subject’s blue eyes when compared with logo on the left.
The Process (for design nerds)
We knew that in order to make the logo exciting and interesting, we had to approach it from a different angle. We decided to go 3D. And instead of doing it the easy way (with some automatic drop shadow effects), we decided to create the look from scratch. Doing it ourselves gave us the flexibility to render the logo at any size for every use case possible (i.e. the website, posters, printed materials, banners etc).
To ensure that it looked just right on every screen and on any type of background (bright, dark, colored), we had to optimize the logo pixel by pixel, at 1200% zoom. The image below shows the slight differences between the original logo (on the left) and a pixel by pixel recreated version (on the right). You can see that by adjusting the color of just a few pixels, it’s possible to change the texture, sharpness, legibility and alignment of the image.
So that’s our story and we’re sticking to it. We hope that you love our new logo as much as we do!
By: Vilen Rodeski, UI Designer
Last week in New York City, we had the opportunity to meet with some of our friends from Nasdaq. With 3200 ticker symbols, it has more trading volume than any other electronic stock exchange in the world. Its big screen in New York’s Times Square is one of the most recognizable symbols in American commerce. But “What does Nasdaq have to do with photographs?”, you ask. Aha! Plenty!
Imagine that you’re part of a successful, growing company and you’ve planned to float your shares to raise funds and grow your business. You want to go public. Apple, Google, Microsoft and countless others have done this and though it may seem to some of us like routine business, this event is a really big deal. Having the chance to ring the opening bell at the Nasdaq Stock Market is an epic moment. Once-in-a-lifetime. Nasdaq understands this. It has a team of photographers who make sure that this day is captured just right and they’ve chosen SmugMug as their photo solution of choice to distribute, showcase and sell their photographs. A few of their galleries can be found here.
Nasdaq Art Director and Photographer, Zef Nikolla, has this to say about SmugMug:
“I heard about SmugMug through another super-satisfied photographer and close friend of mine, Christopher Galluzzo. He and I try to have our fingers on the pulse of vendors that are innovative and cutting-edge. With SmugMug, I found more than just a place to send photo galleries to clients. Features that interested me include: the ability to display video and integration with Animoto, a dozen different uploading options, and seamless integration with Adobe Lightroom. SmugMug makes it easy to share photos internally because uploads are unlimited and there are many options for access rights.”
In addition, the option to enable customers to download entire galleries serves Nasdaq well. Though customers may only find themselves in a few photos out of hundreds, Nasdaq has discovered that people want to purchase the entire day’s photos. It’s a keepsake album.
To celebrate our new relationship, Nasdaq showcased us on their giant LED sign in Times Square (did you know that it has close to 9,000 square feet of display space and cost over $37 million dollars to build?). It didn’t mark our going public, but wow, it felt great to be up there.
Thanks, Nasdaq, for putting our name up in lights on Times Square!
We promoted our beta HTML5 uploader to full-time status. Now Chrome, Safari and Firefox users should see a fresh new window with the same intuitive flow as our Java-based Simple uploader:
Simply drag files over to the box and watch them fly into your galleries. Hit Browse to pick individual photos and skip/allow/ignore duplicates, too. Click the Done Uploading button to return to the current gallery.
You can still use Simple or any other method you prefer, but with HTML5 there’s no need to install something you don’t already have. Pick one from the list and we’ll remember your choice for next time.
Save 20% at Blurb
Our friends at Blurb are offering SmugMuggers 20% off their next book. Summer’s over but it’s a perfect time to design a custom photo book for holiday gift-giving. Immortalize this year’s places and faces in a beautiful hard- or soft-cover book and use the code SMUG20OFF at checkout. Get started now with one of three easy book building options.
Offer is valid through December 2nd, 2010 and is good for one order per person. Full details here.
Here’s to shooting and sharing,
The SmugMug Family