‘Create a range of greetings cards that are worthy of a greetings card, but are not currently catered for by card manufacturers’.
I first approached this by looking at my card collection. These are nice cards that friends and family have sent me, that I can’t bare to throw away. (And a print out of a Chagall painting) I kept a pop-up card my Mum gave me for years, but frustratingly I can’t find it anywhere.
I had a look at the cards in my local Clintons shop, they obviously have just about any style you can think of, pretty, funny, quirky etc… and plenty of lovely colours.
I also searched online for unusual and interesting cards. Here are some lovely examples.
(These two are business cards!)
The History Of the Greetings Card
It occurred to me to look up the history of the greetings card. I had no idea they have such a long history – I always thought cards were invented by the Victorians, but it started much earlier. The ancient Chinese exchanged greetings for New Year, and the early Egyptians sent messages on papyrus, albeit not quite ‘cards’ as we would recognise them now. Apparently in the early 1400s, handmade paper greeting cards appeared in Europe, and in Germany, some were actually printed from woodcuts!
It seems the British Museum houses the oldest example of a printed Valentines card. I searched the British Museum website but no luck there.. then I found it on the BBC website instead!
My Roughs and Ideas
I’m torn between three different approaches. At first I was pondering on something along the lines of ‘Congrats on Your New Tattoo’.
I drew this little chap (he’s gone for a multi-purpose tattoo, and avoided naming any specific girl) It’s really tempting to draw the cards, and I feel very at home with this approach, but I’m trying to step out of my comfort zone.
I also pondered on daft things things like
OMG..You broke a nail!
OMG..You lost a sock!
OMG…Your hamster has 15 babies
Or unfeasibly specific soap opera style tongue-in-cheek greetings such as
Glad your long-lost half-sister’s boyfriend has recently been cleared of embezzling his first cousin. Congrats!
My second idea is to create cards with a dial on them, so you can choose the occasion or sentiment. The top disc of the dial would be fixed by a metal eyelet, like on this colour wheel.
I was thinking about Happy Days of the Week here.
Then I did a bit of a brain storm to think about it further
And my third idea was to think about a few mile stones, you could of course equally have first car, first job, first flat…Each card would have textured areas on them such as fabric or beads.
This is got me thinking further about texture.
Then I was fishing for something in a cupboard, and came across a plain white gift box which gave me another idea – to make a net of it, and use the box as the basic shape of my card. When folded flat, they fit into a standard size narrow envelope, and could be assembled by the person who receives it.
I’m imagining the card comes with instructions and a picture of the assembled box (although its very easy to assemble) The original boxes I bought were to put home-made truffles in for presents… I suppose you could add a recipe for sweets in each card.
I’ve decided to combine the idea of a box and a dial. And to have three cards using one word at the top, with a choice of words within the dial.
Card 1 Happy …Mon/Tues/Weds,
Card 2 Best…Friend/Mate/Man,
Card 3 Last…Diet/Job etc
Next I scanned the flattened box, and used the pen tool in Illustrator to get a good outline of it. I also wanted to show a mock up of the assembled box. Here’s a rough. (It would have been quicker to use the perspective grid tool, but never mind!)
And I needed to work out the lettering on each dial, the size of the ‘window’ and the angle of the writing to display correctly. Then I was ready to begin on my final designs. It was at this point that I asked for feedback, and my partner pointed out that the lettering on two of the dials didn’t quite make sense. For some reason I hadn’t put all the days of the week, and another card was originally intended to say “LAST…” eg Last diet. We came up with the word “BEST…” which works better!
I have now realised my boxes will have to be smaller than the original box I experimented with, as the template is too large for my printer. Actually though, they are quite an appealing size when printed on A4.
I chose bright colours for the cards, rather than the pretty pinks I was drawn to from my card collection, in the hope of being a bit more playful and a bit less ‘girly’. The background colour is a gradient of blues, I felt it added a bit of interest. I also added a texture effect. This was originally to simulate textured card, but it printed out quite well,, so I kept it.
For the font, I chose Clarendon Black BT, because I wanted something quite chunky that would print clearly and stand out nicely from the surrounding colour. I don’t have many slab-serif font families on my computer so this seemed like a good choice. ( I have Clarendon Regular, Bold, Condensed, Black etc.) I wanted a good selection of font variations to choose from, in case the lettering on the dial needed to be lighter, because of its smaller size.
I used lightweight plain white card 200gsm. Obviously most home printers can’t cope with particularly heavy card. I do think this weight is too light for the cards. Its too flimsy and although the boxes are OK, the dial is already curling out of shape.