I am so psyched about this review, especially with the holidays coming; I'm just keepin' it real! We were recently sent info for Purple Trail, an online site for people to actually be able to make their own invitations/cards/e-cards, etc. It's actually an online community, and once you make a card or invitation, you can choose to make your design public or not. So, immediately, knowing this, I went to look at some of the creations that other people had made.
Then I decided to strike out on my own and get creative. So, I designed a very simple Christmas card. As I was designing that card, I noticed several things throughout the process. There were several design steps that I could take to personalize my card. I could use one of the decorative skins for my card, or I could choose a simple background; they have over 5,000 exclusive designs. If the card was to be an invitation, there was a box ready to insert, and then I could just fill in all the details for that event. Photos, video, and music are all available to add, or you can upload your own to add to the card (of course, with online cards); and if I wanted a more personal touch, I could add my own voice to the card. There were different embellishments and shapes I could add; even the different fonts for my text were really decorative and cute. You can take a tour of how the design process works here. There is the option of creating a printable card or an online card. If you were to create a printable card, you could download a high-resolution PDF for $3.95, or if you have the Premium Membership, as described below, it is free to download and print right from your home computer.
Purple Trail has several plans available. They do have a Free Plan, which allows you to make up to 75 email invitations per event and up to 250 email invitations per month. Their Basic Plan costs $14.95/year and allows you to make up to 200 email invitations per event and up to 500 email invitations per month. It also allows you to do up to 5 downloads per year, allows animated designs, allows you to schedule a send, etc. The Pro Plan is $24.95 and allows up to 400 email invitations per event and up to 1,000 email invitations per month, plus up to 10 downloads per year. It also allows other things such as two party games, allows you to limit your RSVP count, etc. The highest plan, the Premium Plan, is $49.95 per year and allows you to send up to 1,000 email invitations per event and up to 2,500 email invitations per month. It also allows up to 25 downloads per year. With the Premium account, you have the most access, even being allowed to chat in real time with event guests.
Other features of Purple Trail include having an address book, which you can import from your email account. This makes it convenient for you to look and see who all you need to send cards, invitations, or announcements to. Another great aspect is being able to have guests RSVP through your Guest Lists. This makes it very convenient for you, as the hostess/host. I also enjoyed the Party Ideas side of the website. They have ideas on everything from birthdays to baby showers to holiday parties. Included in these ideas are articles on games, decorations, foods, crafts, recipes, etc. It's an awesome resource to have at hand. You might also check out their blog for more great ideas.
With an extensive help section, you probably won't have to worry about getting stumped. The site is very user-friendly, in my opinion. If you're just not sure but want to check out the site more, consider signing up for the Purple Trail Friends Program, where they offer great incentives to those who will help spread the word about Purple Trail. If nothing else, just sign up for the Free side of the site for now, learn more about it, and enjoy making your own invitations/e-cards. Here is a video, so that you can take a tour of the Purple Trail website.
Melissa J's Thoughts
Purple Trail is one of the most unique websites I have ever seen. Sure, there are card websites on the internet, but this one has more options than any of the other site. You can send e-cards, print out your own holiday cards, or order cards. But my absolute favorite was the video maker option, with which you could make your own fun video announcement or card. I wish I could have put mine on here. I was pretty proud of it. :)
The site is a bit overwhelming when you first get on there, because there are so many options to choose from. However, immediately to the left, on the top menu bar are some options to choose from including, What Can I do Using Purple Trail and Frequently Asked Questions. If a new user can spend some time focusing on these sections, the rest of the site isn't so much of an information overload.
Once the basics are covered, the options are then endless. Purple Trail offers background, images, text fonts, and even music add ons, that embellish each creation and make the choosing process difficult (if you're a person like me, that is, that can't make decisions). Once the user begins the create process, it is very simple and user friendly. Everything that is created has the option to be saved and re-edited at a later time.
I did find the cost of per card, high. It would be more feasible to me, as the user, to use the "print your own" feature for the fee of $3.95. Choosing this feature, also allows me to have immediate access to my creation.
What to me, is the best part of Purple Trail is the community feature. There, you can browse other people's creations and even click an "I like it button" with them. For those that lack creativity, these designs are also able to be used and personalized.
While I can't see the need for the most expensive plan, as a stay-at-home mom, the basic plan is definitely something I might be able to use, as birthday parties and holidays progress through the years. There is something to be said about the personal touch when it comes to cards, and Purple Trail membership definitely allows that ability.
(Disclosure: We were provided with a Premium Membership, free of charge, by Purple Trail, in association with MamaBuzz.)