Book Review: 1000 Handmade Cards

Don't be put off by the title of the book 1000 Handmade Greetings: creative cards and clever correspondence. This is not a simple craft book for hobbyists, instead it is a picture book of professionally handmade cards by leading companies and designers.

If you are someone who collects cards to study design, and like me, you would rather see all your cards in a book rather than filling your shelves, 1000 Handmade Greetings by Laura with Deborah Baskin McFadden is a perfect replacement.

The images show a variety of techniques including paint, illustration, collage, hand printing, steciling, stamping, gocco printing, screen printing, quilling, paper cutting, punching, stitchery and photography, but what I like most about it, is these card samples represent marketable cards, some of which I've seen in stores.

One benefit of having this "library" of card samples, is these artists have pretty much eliminated the element of labor intensity and have narrowed down the card to be the most beautiful with the least amount of work, which is what you need in order to succeed in a handmade card business.

An important part of card design is studying what works and what doesn't. This book is a good reference for thumbing through and asking "why do I like this card or that card? Is it the color? The materials? The layout? When I did this I realized that some of my favorite cards in the book had one or two colors, which surprised me. I learned you don't really need a lot, to make a good design.

While it's easy to scan the grocery store aisles to get a sense of several different card styles, this book really represents a higher artistic quality than you normally see on the chain store shelves. So, If you design cards, it's important to keep a reference handy so you can see how other artists communicate their styles. I consider this book my "encyclopedia" of great handmade card artists. It's inspiring.

More reviews and information on 1000 Handmade Greetings: creative cards and clever correspondence.

Some cards show simple graphics with bright colors that communicate a simple message:

Others are playful and experimental.

The pages are laid out well with number references, artists, and company names:

The variety of card styles and layouts are vast.

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