Back to News

Trendspotting for the Greeting Card Market

Published on 06/05/2024

Trendspotting for the Greeting Card Market
Teacher: Amanda Hendon, Global Manager, Advocate Art

Today we hear from the Global Manager of Advocate Art, Amanda Hendon, about how to spot trends in greeting cards. It is important to keep your portfolio on-trend, to show your understanding of the market, and keep people’s interest. Be careful too, not to get too far ahead of the trends. 

At a first glance, trying to identify what’s on trend can be very intimidating. You may find yourself wondering how do I identify what’s the next big thing, and moreover, how do I know if I’m right?

Well, to start, don’t doubt yourself! Trend spotting is partially about understanding the market, but also partially about trusting your own intuition. As an artist, you’re a visual person, so aesthetics and trends are basically your second language. However, for those struggling with where to start, I say: hit the shops!

As the ever-wise Miranda Priestly said during her iconic cerulean sweater monologue in “The Devil Wears Prada”, everything stems from haute couture and influences all other aesthetic fields: ready-to-wear, home decor, and of course the topic of our trend spotting, licensed goods!

All this to say: you need to reference things beyond the product you’re designing for in order to get the full scope of what’s trending. After all, if something’s already on a greeting card, the trend is already in the market. My typical routine is to pop by my favorite clothing and home decor stores, take pictures of anything that catches my eye, and then of course reference stationery stores as well. If you have the opportunity to attend, trade shows are also an excellent way to get a leg up on trends. They are literally selling goods before they go to retail, so it can give you a great overview of what’s to come in the market.

From there I sift through all my photos and try to parse out if there is a specific color that is dominating the scene or icons that jump out at me and are repeated throughout the various stores I’ve visited. Whilst I think it’s definitely easiest to see trends through in-person comp shopping, I also think the internet is a great supplementary source for trend research as well, particularly platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. However, make sure you’re understanding the larger scope of things, and avoid looks that fall into niche micro-trends.

The final step is to consider what’s happening in the general cultural zeitgeist of the year. Just as with fashion, general pop culture influences visual trends. For example, I was struck by the ubiquity and popularity of Cottage Core across many platforms, as well as the rise of Regency-era media such as Bridgerton and Emma, and thus Austenian Afternoon was born! Similarly, the rise of modern Westerns, Cowboy music, and a reinvigorated love of Dolly Parton influenced Rhinestone Cowboy.

Once you’ve taken the above into consideration and done the research, you should have collated a folder of images that will help you determine what trend you want to focus on. From there it’s just putting these images together into an aesthetically pleasing moodboard, and then boom! You’ve defined a trend, and can thus start creating designs from a well-informed, well-researched foundation. Happy trend hunting!

For more free tips for how to improve your creative design skills subscribe to our ITSme Learning Newsletter!

Other News

How to illustrate kids’ puzzles: from simple to complex!

How to illustrate kids’ puzzles: from simple to complex! Teacher: Bhavi Patel, Advocate Art Agent/ ITSme Learning Almost every theme and subject matter can be adapted to both kid and adult age groups; the key element that differentiates the two is the level of difficulty. This is determined by how much detail is in the...

New Signed Artist: Carolina Coroa

Carolina was born in Belém, north of Brazil, a city well-known for its exuberating nature and strong native culture. She graduated two times, in Communication and in Fashion. After finishing her master at Istituto Europeo di Design in São Paulo, she worked for 6 years creating prints and patterns for fashion companies, running her own design studio and studying...

Calling out to all Creatives!

Are you looking for an Internship? A great opportunity to learn at one of the top illustration agencies in the world. Make sure you send us an email at:

New Signed Artist: Katie Crumpton

I was born in South Carolina in 1992 but now I’m currently living in the Bay Area. I moved to California to attend the Academy of Art University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in illustration in 2016. I started drawing from a very young age and was too stubborn to stop. I get inspired...

New Signed Artist: Hana Augustine

I am a 27 yo self taught artist from Indonesia. Since my early childhood I have always had pen and papers with me, I would observe and draw. Drawing has become a medium that speaks to my heart. I grew up with lots of children’s books and fairy tales, I was captivated by their worlds...

New Signed Artist: Daniela Tordi

Daniela Tordi is born in Orvieto, a medioeval town in central Italy. Her childhood memories deal with the frescos of a giant cathedral, real tales from the past. She started illustrating as a self-taught in her thirties, asking to writers for adults to write a children’s story as a special gift. This collaboration, among other...