Most Unusual Christmas Cards: Editor Picks

Greeting Card Designer Blog's

Out of over 250 christmas cards submitted according to guidelines, blog author Kate Harper selected 20 "editors picks" finalists by how unusual they were. Choices were based on off-the-wall surprises, pushed limits, a new twist on the old, or interesting design challenges. Also important, was if the card evoked an emotional response and it's marketability. Kate's "why it works" comments included with each card. Out of the finalists, Kathy Krassner chose the "top pick" for the most unusual Christmas Card.

Kathy Krassner, Editor-in-Chief of Greetings etc. Magazine, chose the most unusual Christmas card. She has been writing about the card and stationery business for more than 20 years. Greetings etc. Magazine is the industry's leading trade publication for greeting card retailers.


Atheist Christmas

Artist: Andrew Shaffer.
To Purchase: http://www.cafepress.com/orderofstnick.328678603

Comment by Kathy Krassner, from
Greetings etc. Magazine:
The card that actually elicited an audible "HA!" from me ... was the Atheist Christmas card, which I've chosen as the winner of being the "most unusual."

I really like how the designer has chosen a vintage-looking, illustrated snowman and typewriter-type font, then paired them with a completely unexpected message.
This card is a winner both for its artistic design and its clever, humorous versing. A very nontraditional card, obviously, but I believe it is marketable to a younger, perhaps urban or college-town demographic ... and to just about anyone with a good sense of humor.


Radical Rhymes

Artist: Peter Henry
To Purchase: http://jdigcards.bigcartel.com/product/holi-004
Special Features: Printed on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Rainforest Alliance certified stock, manufactured with 100 percent post-consumer fibers.
Why it Works: Shock value of mixing odd things with Christmas. You can tell this artist thinks a lot about playing with words in a new way.

Watercolor Christmas

Artist: Linnea Design
To Purchase:
Why it Works: No one expects a box of watercolors inside a card. A great card to give to artists.

Daring Dog

Artist: Stacy Beck
To Purchase:
Why it Works: Witty Humor, simple but effective graphics and color. Dogs are popular. Minor adjustment might be to make the nose a darker solid red (to match the solidness of the ornament) with a slight glow around the solid red shape.


Tattoo Santa

Artist: Kate Boesch
To Purchase: http://www.kateboeschdesign.com/110.html
Why it Works: Fills a need for modern Christmas Card humor. Eye contact from the character bonds with reader. Possible character adjustments might be to distinguish figure from background, blend brown colors on body and face. Maybe a second version could be of a big belly Santa.


Surprise Holiday

Artist/Company: Mean Cards for Many Occasions To Purchase: http://www.meancards.com/product/so-where-do-you-put-the-star
Why it Works: A marriage of humor and simplicity. Character is drawn in such a skilled way with few lines, and yet we feel the person is real. Because we don't know if the character is a man, woman, boy, girl, baby or senior citizen, it doesn't limit the market.

Image of so where do you put the star?

Shoe Sentiments

Artist: Collene Kennedy
To Purchase: http://www.zazzle.com/vanitycases*
Why it Works: Unique idea of making a shoe tree, women's market, inferred text rhyme. Possible adjustments might be putting the shoe tree on a white background so their interesting details stand out more.

Mod Holiday Box

Artist: Cathe Huynh-Sison
To Purchase: http://feterie.com/shop/item.php?item_id=390&category_id=59
Special Features: Soy ink
Why it Works: The artist has created a feeling of festivity in a simple collection of shapes and colors beautifully assembled. Detail makes you want to explore each shape, since there is no predictable pattern.

Snowman with Cats

Artist: Jennifer Lambein
To Purchase: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=32408084
Why it Works: Must be enlarged to appreciate (click on image) Artist has an amazing amount of detail and symbolism. Cats are popular and these cats have unusual faces. The idea that a Snowman is carrying around a bunch of cats is really different.

Scratchboard Scene

Artist:Kay Murphy
To Purchase: http://www.kaymurphysstudio.com/cgi-bin/image.pl?item=GC03
Why it Works: (Must be enlarged to appreciate - click to see larger version). This scratch board artist makes us feel like we just entered her three dimensional magical world. Viewer can almost feels the artist's snow on their face and wind blowing. Card evokes an "experience" as the message.

Naughty Nice

Artist: Monica Lee
To Purchase:http://www.gallery19.us/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_539_540_617&products_id=37792
Why it Works: Unusual texture and brilliant colors with interesting layout of lower half of body. Humorous theme of being naughty adds mystery.

Funny Frog

Artist: Jennifer Mally
To Purchase: http://www.haveaheartcreations.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=JMHAHC&Product_Code=FPT&Category_Code=HCC
Why it Works: The frog trying to make a hopeless attempt as masquerading as a partridge in a pear tree is funny.

Pointy Santa

Artist: Linnea Design
To Purchase: http://www.linneadesigns.com/_cards/holiday.php
Why it Works: The triangle Santa is a witty design surprise. Smartly done. Feels warm.


Penguin Love

Artist: Gwen Francis
To Purchase: http://greetingcardsmabyn.blogspot.com/2009/11/christmas-holiday-cards-from-gfdg.html
Why it Works: Simple warm color choices and graphics, shows love from a penguin's perspective.


Magic Music Batik

Artist: Sue Duda
To Purchase: http://www.zazzle.com/musical_merriment_fiddle_holiday_card-137747902559478195
Why it Works: An unusual mixture of Batik art & a musical instrument theme. Possible adjustment might be to make images on left have angular edges so they are more distiguishable as trees.


Simple Success

Artist Audrey Ascenzo
To Purchase: ascenzo@optonline.net
Why it Works: A Return to a traditional theme, which is always a big seller, but what makes this unusual is the artist succeeded at only using 2 colors (and mostly black) to create a feeling of holiday festivity. That's very difficult to achieve.

Black on Back

Tatiana Rusanovska
To Purchase: http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-illustration-11024218-christmas-pattern.php
Inside: Blank
Why it Works: At first glance this may seem like a typical Christmas card, but when you really analyze it, the artist has solved a design challenge: Using a black background on a Christmas card. That's tricky to pull off.


Artist: Moshe Mikanovsky
To Purchase: http://www.zazzle.com/hanging_hanukkah_candles_card-137432637655326844?rf=238790004908219508
Why it Works: This isn't a Christmas card, but I wanted to include it because it's a seasonal card with unusual imagery. The watercolor stained glass effect is very interesting and well thought out.


Artist:Melissa Galitz
To Purchase: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=34608675
Special Features: Handcrafted
Why it Works: This card doesn't really fit into an unusual card category, but I wanted to include it, because of the beautifully designed handwork. It is a gift and a card in one.

Close up of front:


Artist: Meredith Wagler
To Purchase: http://www.designedbymere.com/holiday9.html
Why it Works: Again, this card doesn't quite fit into the category of unusual, but it is an interesting layout with very few colors. The simple snowy top draws us down to read the text at the bottom, that has a heart felt contemporary theme of what people experience around the Christmas holiday. (Click on image to read text)

- Thanks to all the artists who submitted their designs -

~ Books on Christmas Card Designs ~

Christmas Cards

Ebooks by Kate Harper

You can support this blog by ordering Kate's e-Booklets starting at only .99 cents! They can be read on your kindle, ipad, ipod, cellphone, or your computer. Free samples and lending options available. You can also view the list of all recommended greeting card books by a variety of authors.


Get Your Greeting Cards into Stores explains how to sell cards nationwide. Included are detailed guidelines on: How to price cards for a profit, get professional feedback, find sales representatives and follow industry standards. Information is also applicable to gift items, magnets, journals, calendars, collectibles, etc.

20 Steps to Art Licensing is a book about how to license your art to companies that publish greeting cards, or manufacture coffee mugs, magnets, wall hangings, kitchen items, and dozens of other gift items. Learn how to prepare your art, what companies to contact, how to find agents, and what trade shows to attend. Includes extensive resources on social media, copyrights, licensing community groups, and lists of interviews with professional designers.

7 Mistakes Greeting Card Writers is a booklet that explains what to avoid when submitting greeting card verse to publishers. Learn how to create a trendy card that reflects the contemporary world we live in, and how to use your own personal experience to create card verse. Topics include: how to avoid limiting your market, when to use adjectives, not creating card for enemies, write like people talk and a list of why card sentiment submissions are often rejected. You can increase your odds of success by 60% just by doing a few simple things. Includes a list of card publishers and their guidelines, links to writer interviews, and writing exercises for how to create good verse.

Unusual Ways To Market Greeting Cards, and 22 places to get your designs featured is a booklet on how to get your cards noticed in non-traditional ways. Everything from why you should send cards to your dentist, to how to get a special feature in national publication. Great tips for designers who are starting out and want to get their cards into the hands of people beyond friends and family. Special Section: 22 Gift Industry Trade Publications who seek out new greeting card designs and feature artists for free.

How to Make an EBook Cover for Non-Designers is an illustrated book will show you how to make your own e-book cover, even if you are not a designer. It is intended to help the indie writer who is on a budget and wants to publish and sell their own book in online stores such Amazon.com and the Apple ibookstore. Selling your book in these stores will allow readers to purchase your book and read it on multiple devices such as the Kindle, iPad, iPhone and many other electronic devices.