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Why Layout is Key to GC sales: From Vertical to Horizontal to Square

Published on 04/01/2024

Greeting Card designs by Advocate Art illustrators Charlotte Pepper, Jane Ryder-Gray, Di Brookes, and Daniel Rodgers.

Why Layout is Key to Greeting Card Sales: From Vertical to Horizontal to Square
Teacher: ITSme Creative Director and Advocate Art Art Director Bhavi Patel 

Greeting Card by Advocate Art illustrator Jenny Wren.

When it comes to designing for Greeting Cards, there are some key fundamental things to keep in mind which can help elevate your overall design, making it sellable. Whether your design is in a portrait, horizontal or square format, the first things to consider are what your subject matters are going to be, and the focus of your design. The second element to consider is the placement of text, because this is one of the first things a consumer will look at when finding a card.

The most common format for greeting cards is portrait, 5×7 specifically. Most icons and characters can sit comfortably in a portrait format, despite its long, rectangular shape. Portrait formats are great for characters, alongside singular icons. These individual icons can also be used to create more complex shapes, by treating different icons as building blocks.

Horizontal cards are great for panoramic scenes and illustrations with more detail in them, along with cards that are more text focused too. I have found that seasonal cards, especially Christmas scenes and landscapes, work perfectly for a horizontal format as it gives breathing room for the subject matter and details, without it feeling overcrowded.

Greeting Card design by Advocate Art illustrator Victor McLindon.

Square layouts are generally the most versatile, and are great at being able to hold illustrations which span from scenes and icons, as well as typography and decorative illustration. The uniform size and shape of the card allows the overall design to feel well balanced.

With this in mind, the last element to consider is making sure that whatever format your card is in, it can be adaptable to different sizes/ formats, whilst leaving room for the text to sit in the top third of the design. If you imagine a card display in a shop, having the text in the top third allows the consumer to easily find the right card for them based on the occasion and relation they are buying for.


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