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Nuts and Bolts: Reviewer Do’s and Don’ts

November 20, 2013


Since some little confusion may exist among artists as to exactly what the members of GCU’s Card Review Team are responsible for, here’s a list of do’s and don’ts that should clarify things. And if you missed it, see Doreen’t excellent post, Card Review at GCU to get you started.

New artists have some leeway while they learn the ropes, but if you’ve been a GCU artists for 6+ months at least, you should already know your stuff. If not, here’s a refresher.

What it boils down to is that if you want less delay between submitting cards and approvals, then quit submitting cards with obvious mistakes. Quit assuming the Reviewers will do your job for you! In fact, it’s YOUR job to submit cards that are as perfect as you can make them.

Okay? Then let’s continue to specifics.

Grammar & Spelling
Reviewers DO check your submitted card for spelling and grammar errors. Reviewers DON’T correct these errors nor are they required to give you an education in grade school basics. If your card is Declined due to a spelling or grammar mistake, don’t be surprised. It is the responsibility of artists to check their own work BEFORE submitting a card for review. If you aren’t so hot in the spelling/grammar and punctuation departments, feel free to ask for an opinion on the Forum or on the Critique Clinic we run here each Fri-Sun. Here are some resources that may help you.

Common Misspellings
240 Common Spelling Mistakes in English
Common Grammar Errors
Common Grammar Errors in English Usage

Reviewers DO check to make sure the category (or categories) you’ve chosen fit the submitted card. Occasionally, they may move a card to a more fitting category, however Reviewers DON’T fix incorrect category choices. It is the artist’s responsibility to make the best choice to begin with, not rely on someone else to do it for them. If you need to learn more, see Nuts & Bolts: Categories or Dash of Inspiration: Choosing Categories for a detailed explanation.

Reviewers DO check to make sure all typographical and important design elements are within the cut-off margin (1/4″ on all sides OR use the template which you can download by logging in to GCU and going to Manage Store > Administrative Settings > Images & Cards > Download Card Template). You can also use the Print Margin Preview provided when uploading your card. It is the responsibility of the artist to ensure their card will print properly.

Photo Cards/Personalized (Custom Text) Cards
Reviewers DO check to ensure the transparent area you’ve defined conforms to the design on your card and you’ve followed the guidelines, ie, he custom boxes cannot touch each other. For more information and advice with examples, see Mindy’s Forum post on the subject. Reviewers DON’T correct your errors. It’s your job to make sure you haven’t messed up. Check and double-check before you save your submission. In this case, “close enough” isn’t good enough.

Reviewers DON’T put special emphasis on cards submitted late for a holiday. Submitted cards are processed on a first come, first served basis (exceptions: Fast Track and Star Submitter).  If you wait to the last minute to submit cards for a holiday, don’t cry about missing prime sales time and don’t blame the Reviewers. It’s your responsibility to submit your new cards 3-6 months or more in advance. Personally, we find designing a year in advance works well for us.

Card Title and Keywords
Reviewers DO check card titles and keywords to make sure they are relevant and speak to the card design and occasion. Reviewers DON’T change your errors for you. It is the responsibility of the artist to get these things right for themselves. Do not use a “kitchen sink” approach. Card title and keywords should reflect exactly what the card is and is intended for. Be relevant!

Notes to Reviewer
Artists who habitually use clip art or 3rd party art or photographs MUST keep track of the art’s origin (website, Terms of Use) and put that information in the Notes to Reviewer. If the art/photo is your own work, a note to that effect will be sufficient. Reviewers DON’T launch complicated investigations or go on long Internet hunts for elusive origins. It’s your job to give them the info they need or suffer the consequences of having your card Returned for Edits (meaning more delay) or Declined.

Artist’s Notes
Reviewers DO check your Artist’s Notes to ensure they are correct and relevant to the submitted card. Reviewers DON’T fix a mistake for you. Double check before you hit that SAVE button, especially if you’re submitting age, relationship, or occupation specific cards that need to be changed each time. The Artist’s Notes are also a greet place to include a product description of your card which helps search engines find you more quickly! And be sure nothing is misspelled or grammatically incorrect. This is also the place to give credit where it’s due if you’re using elements from sites that require source accreditation.

Submission Guidelines
Reviewers DO check the entire card to ensure it falls within GCU’s Submission Guidelines. It’s an artist’s responsibility to read and understand the Submission Guidelines and if you intend to be part of the card selling community, you need to do your homework. That’s your responsibility, not anybody else’s. Get Submission Guidelines 101 here. Don’t assume the Reviewers will catch all your mistakes and you don’t need to do the work. An attitude like that won’t get you far.

Bottom Line
The Reviewers DO a quality check to ensure your card meets all the Submission Guidelines. The Reviewers DON’T correct your mistakes for you. They aren’t here to babysit you. It’s your job to learn the ropes. If you can’t be bothered to make an effort to help yourself and continue to rely on the Review Team to do your work for you, then know you’re contributing to the long delay for approvals.

Artists who continually abuse the review system, refuse to learn the ropes, refuse to learn from notes given by the Reviewers, refuse to do anything except push card after error-riddled card into the system and won’t change their ways may find themselves out in the cold.

What Is the Artist’s Responsibility?
In a nutshell, this is the stuff you need to do as a GCU artist before you submit a card:

  • Correct spelling and grammar. If you aren’t sure, ask on the Forum!
  • Make sure all design elements are within the margin (cut-off area).
  • Follow all Submission Guidelines.
  • Choose correct category (categories).
  • Don’t wait to the last minute to submit cards for a holiday. If you miss the holiday, that’s on you for not allowing sufficient time! Designing 3-6 months or more in advance is the way to go.
  • Be certain the transparent areas you define in Photo Cards and custom text cards follows the guidelines.
  • Use the right keywords and title.
  • Keep track of where your design elements come from and don’t forget to include that information (link to website, TOU) in the Notes to Reviewer. Don’t simply take things you find on the Internet and assume they’re free. Nothing is free for commercial use unless it states that explicitly in the Terms of Use!
  • Use the Artist’s Notes to write a product description.

Learning the ropes at GCU may seem like a daunting task, but the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. Check out our Card Designer’s Checklist which has more information.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 20, 2013 6:29 pm

    Would love to find out how one achieves Star Submitter status. Perhaps a post in the future?

  2. November 21, 2013 6:20 pm

    Thanks for the link. I must’ve missed that 1.

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