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Navigating the Greeting Card Market Part 2

Published on 20/07/2023

Greeting Cards by Advocate Art illustrators Joanne Cave, Debbie Edwards, Nicola Evans, and Jane Ryder-Gray

Navigating the Greeting Card Market Part 2
Teacher: ITSme Society

Greeting Card by Advocate Art illustrator Gareth Williams

In part 1, we discussed what makes greeting cards so special. In this digital age, the art of giving or receiving a physical card with a heartfelt, handwritten message is never lost on people.

Cards are designed like any other product – for a specific purpose. It’s far more than pasting an image onto a thick piece of paper and folding it in half, so try not to think of a card as a piece of art on a piece of paper, think of it as an image that encompasses a celebration, like welcoming a New Baby or wishing someone a wonderful Birthday. But then, just as important, the design must have a huge level of empathy between the sender and recipient, think of the differences between generations – two teenagers may prefer to send one another cards with images about going shopping or dancing at parties, whereas two elderly ladies may select cards embellished with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

Once you understand that the image on a greeting card is a very purposeful design, you will increase your chances of being picked up by Greeting Card publishers and winning commissions. We’ve got a handy selection of facts, figures and useful tips that will be sure to help you land Greeting Card commissions. In this blog we will look at the facts and discuss how understanding of the Greetings Card trends and designs will help you tailor your designs.

Trends: Just like any fashion industry, card design occupies a narrow trend parameter. It can be very easy to be ahead of trend, or off trend altogether! Don’t try to be too innovative at first, it would be much better for you to do versions of existing compositions in your style then to try and reinvent what is fashionable in the Greeting Card industry. Imagine if you were a clothes designer, and you were asked to design a new line of girl’s clothes with no concept of what decade you were in. You can imagine how terrible the results would be. The same goes for Greeting Cards; you need to be aware of where the trend is and be right on it.

Greeting Card by Advocate Art illustrator Simon Treadwell

Character Design: You need to consider the sending situation when creating characters. Who is the design aimed at? Who is it intended to be from? This will affect a lot of things within your design, such as what the characters are doing, and what characters you include. E.g. A father sending a card to his son could have 2 characters that are the same type, such as a bear, fox or owl, but with one larger than the other, perhaps playing a game, this could create a loving scene, and the son can read his own interpretation of the card.

Face: When painting people into designs, try not to show them face on, as the customer buying the design needs to be able to put their own interpretation into it. They must be able to picture someone they know in the design (this is when getting specific with your target audience can come in useful). You can always obscure the face with an object or draw it loosely with less refined features so that it could appeal to more than one person.

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