The Card Design Part 2

The most common problem new card makers struggle with, is the tendency
to have too many things going on in the card. They may put too distracting decorative borders with too many words. This can cause the card to appear as if the artist is just trying to fill up the space. Sometimes, the simplest idea can be the strongest design. I remember seeing one card that just had a small red piece of paper glued on the front, with a holiday image rubber stamped on it. That image made me pick up the card because it was bold and simple at the same time. It didn't even have words, and didn't need to, because its design said everything.

(photo credit:Joan Thewlis)

The Card Design Part 1

The design on the front of a card serves one purpose, to grab the customer's attention enough so they will pick it up. You also want to express a mood, a tone, a feeling or emotion, using the image as a language of communication. Remember that most people buy greeting cards because they don't know how to say something to someone else, so it is easier to let the card do it for them.

(Photo Credit: Bright Media)

History of The Greeting Card

In 1875 Christmas cards arrived in the United States. A man named Louise Prang introduced the first complete line of Christmas cards, but 15 years later however, there was competition and he was forced out of business. By the 1900's, many of America's leading greeting card companies began and the American public began to adopt the idea of exchanging cards. Overtime, cards began to reflect the expression of social events. Depression era cards expressed hope that better times were ahead. During World War II many Christmas cards depicted Uncle Sam and other patriotic themes. It was about this time that Santa Claus also became popular on cards. During the cold war, humorous cards began to develop, which continues to be popular today. By the 1960's there was radical change in America, some of which still affect the industry today. Traditional cards, which were generally marketed toward middle aged housewives, did not hold much appeal for the baby boomers. The rebellious baby boomers represented a political market not reached by conventional greeting card products. Today, diversity has become a major theme. Commercial card companies are trying to offer something for everyone. The term "micro marketing" has become the trend where such select markets are targeted. An example of this, are cards in foreign languages, afro-american cards, large print cards for people with low vision, and activity cards for children.
(Vintage Valentine Photo credit: Freeparking's Photostream)

Card Lines Always Look More Exciting in a Group

(photo: Kate Harper Designs Kid Quote Line)

Starting a Card Line on Your own

Lines can be as small as a few dozen cards or as large as a hundred cards, but for a beginner, it s best to start with two dozen cards, and then develop a theme around them. Eventually you want to aim for at least 50-100 designs before you start looking for sales reps.

-Set a specific deadline for yourself, which is a starting point for getting feedback, and this will help clarify who your market is.

-When you show your cards to someone for feedback, if only have 3 or 4 cards, it s hard for someone to get a sense of your skills or identity. Stores and publishers will take you more seriously if they see you have attempted to develop a full concept.

-Over time, you can add specialized lines to your card line. For example, you may have a line of animal cards, a funny quotes cards, and a line of Valentine's cards.

-Don t be afraid to toss out a dozen ideas and start over. Most buyers want to see new cards every four to six months. Even if they reject your line once, they often want to see your new ideas again.

3 Parts of a Greeting Card

The three important parts of a greeting card are the Design, the editorial message and the materials.

-The design should be visually appealing.

-The editorial message refers to the actual words on the
card such as "Happy Birthday."

-The materials are important and will determine whether the design will be easy to reproduce in an easy, consistent and in a cost effective manner.

When developing a card line, it is usually a trial and error process.
You need to experiment with many materials, themes and ideas and it's
usually a good to take time and explore all the possible directions.


Visit card stores, look at what other people are doing, and try to
examine different ways you might manufacture the card. Also think
about mass producing the card and how much the materials will cost you.

Card Writing Tip

Don't Forget A Card Is A Relationship

A common problem writers have with card verse, is they forget that a card is a personal message between two individuals. Consider the following verse: "If you have anger in your heart, you will not find happiness." Standing alone, this quote has an important message, but what happens when you put this on a greeting card? What do the sender and receiver think? If you bought this card, who would you send it to? Someone who is angry? And if you were the recipient, you might
feel that someone is trying to lecture you on not being angry.











Also see:



CARD WRITING


Booklet on 7 Mistakes Greeting Card Writers Make A list of 7 things to avoid when submitting greeting card verse to publishers.

Includes a list of card publishers and their guidelines, links to writer interviews, articles, card samples and other current resources. 20-page booklet and 2,300 words and 8 Pages of Card Samples.


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3 Greeting Card Design Tips


MOST IMPORTANT PART OF CARD

The most important part of a greeting card is the top third.
Why?

Usually that is the only part that shows when a card is sitting in a store rack.

If possible, try to put something eye catching or important on the top of the card.

This could be a simple as a word, or a visual image that begs the customer to pick it up and see what else is there.




CARDS EQUAL FEELINGS

The design on the front of a card serves one purpose, to grab the customer's attention enough so they will pick it up. You also want to express a mood, a tone, a feeling or emotion, using the image as a language of communication. Remember that most people buy greeting cards because they don't know how to say something to someone else, so it is easier to let the card do it for them.

(Photo Credit: Bright Media)



WORDS ON CARDS

If you don’t have words on your card, make sure your image is an attention grabber. Pin your card on the wall next to store bought cards and step back 10 feet and look at it. Does your card stand out? Ask a friend to send you out of the room and rearrange the cards in new way. When you reenter the room notice where your eye is drawn and why.

Think of a card design as the art of Ikabana, Japanese flower arranging. In Ikabana, you start with a primary flower as the center of which all other flowers support Try to find your main strength and build around it.

Paper can be used as your main focus. For example, a fiber filled handmade paper red with clusters of pine needles may make a great Christmas card. Colors can also be the used by painting one bold red brush stroke across your card, and supporting it with a word or decoration.

If you like to use humor, it may not be necessary to create a perfectly illustrated design with carefully chosen colors. The main point may be the message. You don't want the image to detract from the humor.

Some cards rely completely on abstract images, such as a collage. They usually don’t have words on them, but the materials are carefully chosen for their unusual character, texture or color. College cards often attract customers to pick up the card because they want to know what it's made of.

(photo credit: Daziladi)

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