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.

Design Events, Seminars and Workshops: Summer 2009

Creative Opera website put together a great list of Design events happening this summer. Here is a sampling. Go to the website to get more detailed descriptions of these events or click on the links below and go directly to the conference site.

InDesign Seminar Tour June 2 – September 10, 2009 – Touring event

Photoshop Lightroom: The Essential Tool June 3 – Nov 8, 2009 – Multiple cities

Digital Workflow, Not Workslow by D-65 June 12 – Dec 14, 2009 – Multiple cities

HOW Design Conference 2009 June 24-27, 2009 – Austin, Texas

Fine Digital Print Advanced June 29 – July 3, 2009 – Cushing, Maine

InDesign CS4 Productivity Tour July 17, 2009 – Los Angeles, CA

Photoshop® Lightroom® 2 LIVE July 20, 2009 – Chicago, IL

Illustrator CS4 Upgrade – What’s New? July 20, 2009 – New York, New York

Location Lighting Techniques July 31, 2009 – South Francisco, CA

Creative Effects with Illustrator CS4 August 13, 2009 – New York, New York


Free Art Licensing Teleconference Tonight

Paul Brent, will answer artists' questions about Art Licensing. For more information visit the website.

It's a 60 minute teleseminar at 5:30 PST and 8:30 EST, Wednesday June 24th

Instructions for Joining in.


Writing Text for Card Companies

Here's the beginning of an article on writing greeting freelance from Buzymom's Website.

The greeting card market is one of the most profitable and high-paying markets for writers. According to the industry trends, each greeting card verse can earn a writer something in between $50 and $150.

The greeting card genre is different from all other types of writing, hence editors, when buying potential greeting card material look for that personal voice in your verse, where it’s like from ‘me to you’. To elaborate this point, the greeting card writer is that anonymous third voice between two other people, the card sender and the card recipient. The writer is saying for others what they may be unwilling or unable to say for themselves.

It’s a well known fact that editors have different needs for each line of cards. Once that is found out, it’s easy for the writer to thrive at this job. It’s important to know the market here as well as finding information about the company wants will be an added advantage.

In this process there is something that each writer should know about, that is the rack impact. This is basically, how and what you will see in a card rack or spinner on display. Roughly, in these displays each card has about 1.5 seconds to catch a consumer’s eye. If the card is too cryptic, has too many words, is obscure in any way, the buyer will move onto the next card without even picking it up. Every editor has this concept; 'rack impact,' in mind and uses it as a basic criterion for buying a writer's work. So capitalizing on this when designing or writing greeting card verses will help you get the assignment from the company...ARTICLE CONTINUED...

(photo credit Misocrazy)

Artists To Love

These aren't card designers, but they sure know how to push the envelope.
Makes me think: How can we design cards in a radical way?

Sara Watson, took three weeks to transform this car’s appearance (appears invisible in background) and made it “disappear” by painting it into the surrounding parking lot.

Scott Wayne, in Indiana, draws a masking tape floor plan of his childhood home in the middle of a park, to see what memories would appear.

Street Artist posts comforting messages in public places like "Everything will be OK" on a public phone.

I wish all packaging was this cool. (straw advertising yoga)

Artist draws cartoons on the back of business cards.

Rotating Chair by Ken Mori