Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! I did, and enjoyed a small break from blogging too. Time to get back into it!
One of the things I got Sharon for Christmas was a food calendar. I wanted to get her something related to photography and food, but another picture frame just didn’t seem that interesting. When I was in Staples one day, I noticed their advertising for the Copy & Print Centre, and specifically for the calendars. I took a card from the counter, and checked out the website when I got home. A couple of hours later and I had a professional looking calendar, filled with photos of food we’ve made together or of restaurants we’ve visited.
I found the website very easy-to-use, if a little basic. You can do pretty much everything online that you can do in the store. Want to print or copy something? Simply upload a file and go. You can also order custom items, such as business cards, labels, greeting cards, bookmarks, agendas, and calendars (you can download the price list in PDF here). Obviously I was interested in the calendar option.
There are four calendar styles to choose from: deluxe, classic, express, and year in view. I went with the deluxe, which lets you completely customize a full color calendar in two sizes (8.5” x 11” or 11” x 17”) and either 12 months or 18 months. Once you’ve picked those options, you can get started creating your calendar. They display some tips and tricks before you get started, which I skipped over the first time. I later went back and read them. They suggest organizing and uploading photos ahead of time rather than on the fly, and that turned out to be really good advice. By uploading your photos first, you can save your calendar before it’s finished and return to it later. It also makes it a bit faster to customize each page.
I chose a template in the 11” x 17” size and got to work. It took me quite a while to get all the images uploaded and organized and placed on the appropriate pages, but it was worth it. After you submit your order and select a store for delivery, you can download a digital proof in PDF (mine was just under 7 MB). A few days later, you’ll receive an email notifying you that your calendar is ready to pick up! Simply pay in store and you’re done. Very easy.
A few other quick comments on the website: it appears to be written in ASP.NET, which I thought was kinda cool. They also make use of some Telerik controls, such as the RadUpload component. Interestingly, I can’t find a single link back to the main Staples website – the Copy & Print Centre seems to be completely separate.
I was really impressed with the result (the photo above is from the proof). It actually does look like a professional calendar that you’d buy in a store! It helps to have high resolution photos too, I guess. On the very back of the calendar is the Copy & Print Centre logo, but otherwise it’s completely free from logos or advertising. I wonder if you could pay to have that removed? Maybe for large orders.
I’m happy to report that Sharon loved her calendar! So did her sister actually, so much so that she set about creating her own soon after seeing Sharon’s. It’s a unique, easy-to-create gift. Based on my experience, I’d definitely recommend the Staples Copy & Print Centre online.