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Nuts & Bolts – A Winning No as-is Usage Example

March 2, 2020


Nuts & Bolts – A Winning No as-is Usage Example


GCU has strict rules on the use of 3rd party creative.  Specifically enforcing a No as-is Usage policy.  Although it may seem like a lot of extra and unnecessary work, GCU’s goal is for the resulting work to be a new composition reflecting the artist’s creativity and added value. Ultimately this offers shoppers unique and compelling choices not found elsewhere.



Here is an excellent example of a card that during review at first did not pass the No as-is Usage policy requirement but with additional work by artist, Tam Moody, it not only met the requirements but is a shining beauty which garnered a 2019 GCU Founder’s Choice Award.


Tammy shares …


Fall is one of my favorite times of year. I love everything about it: cool, crisp air, light jackets and fuzzy sweaters, warm-glowing bonfires, and most of all, the beautiful colors of the changing leaves. My husband and I werefortunate enough to spend some time in Maine last fall and see the trees during peak season and I can honestly say that this midwestern girl was in absolute Heaven. For those who have never been to the New England states in the fall, put it on your bucket list of things to do because it is the epitome of fall color. We explored areas from southern Maine to northern Maine.Thenwe traveled to Woodstock Vermont and followed the Kancamagus Highway back into Maine for one of the most breathtaking sights we have ever seen on any of our adventures. Needless to say, it was one of the best two-week vacations I had ever spent anywhere.

When I returned home, I had those beautiful colors on my mind, and even though I didn’t get best pictures on my trip, I wanted to make a fall leaf themed Thanksgiving card to commemorate my experience. So, as I often do, I went to (a public domain photo website) in search of some pretty fall leaf pictures. I didn’t have to search long before finding a perfect image.

I loved the little heart in this fall leaf, and I knew GCU had a “no as is” policy, so I knew I would have to make some changes to the image. I decided I would try rotating and cropping the image, then added a fall theme border, along with my message and submitted it for review.

Unfortunately, it did not make the cut during the first round. The reviewer told me I would have to make some other changes because simply adding a border was not enough to pass the “no as is” policy. So, I decided to concentrate on the part of the picture I loved the most. I knew I was really after the leaf with the heart shape, so I decided to cut out the fuzzy lit background and replace it with something else.

I knew I wanted something warm and inviting, something natural looking, maybe something a little rustic. I thought well, what would be more rustic and natural than wood? I could make it look as though the leaf was lying on a floor or on a table as part of a centerpiece. So back to Pixabay I went in search of a plain wood background. There were tons of images to choose from, but I wanted something dark and warm to contrast the bright color of the leaf.

I found a nice warm looking tone for my wood picture and I loved how it was shaded on the edges.

I rotated my new background and added my leaf and my text. I instantly loved the contrast and the rustic feel of the card so far, but my poor little leaf looked so lonely on the card all by itself. So I decided it needed a few friends. I wanted another leaf or two with some other colors to help bring some life to the image.

So I went back to Pixabay again and looked for an isolated image of a fall leaf. And found this one:

Then I started dropping the other leaf into my card image, but I knew I did not want to take away from my main leaf image. So, I decided to use the other leaf on the corners to take up dead space and give the appearance of other leaves. And I didn’t have to add it many times. I just rotated it in a few directions and by just adding the same leaf a few times, it gave the card a perfect completed look.

So I resubmitted the image on GCU and this time it was approved. Honestly, I was never so happy a card had been declined the first time, because the end result was simply stunning and it was a perfect image to commemorate the time and beauty I experienced in Maine.


The difference is made in the details!


GCU Community Manager
2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 2, 2020 10:58 pm

    Great work, Tammy! Thanks for the great share and extra TLC on this card.

  2. March 3, 2020 4:08 pm

    Excellent job!

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