Minted’s Top 9 Design Tips for Creating Irresistible Greeting Cards

Now that Minted Greeting Cards are gracing the shelves of our national retail partners, we’ve learned a thing or two about what makes a design stand out. Because every card needs to pull its own weight, we keep a close eye on sales of every Minted design and have identified common characteristics among top-sellers. From broad appeal to content positioning, we’re excited to share some of our top learnings and merchandising tips with you.

1. Use eye-catching colors and design elements.

Bold color palettes, striking fonts, and visually appealing design elements definitely help a card stand out. Keeping in mind that much of our advice stems from putting yourself in the card-buyers’ shoes, we do encourage a bit of experimentation. For example, some designers might assume that all cards given to men should employ darker, masculine colors, but that’s not always the case. We welcome thinking outside the “color standards” box.

“Wild Prairie Rose” Minted Greeting Card by Holly Whitcomb is an example of a bold, bright design.

Minted Greeting Card Display photo by Erin Wilson

2. Think carefully about the top third of the card.

The top one-third portion of a greeting card is valuable real estate because it’s the most visible area of cards when they’re placed on displays with overlapping rows. For that reason, we recommend taking advantage of the entire front of a greeting card. Even if a design element is only partially visible at the top of the card, it still helps improve sales potential. Please take this advice with a grain of salt—we’re not necessarily saying “don’t be minimalist” or “you must fill every pica of space,” but we are saying that small visual elements tend to go unnoticed.

In the above example of a Minted Greeting Card, we increased the size of and shifted up the artwork to hit the top one-third of the card titled “Lucky Us” by Carrie O’Neal.

In the above example of a Minted Greeting Card, we rearranged the artwork so that it appears in the top one-third portion of the card titled “Succulent Squad” by Olivia Goree.

3. Remember that design and copy go hand in hand.

If you’re a seasoned greeting card designer, you’ve probably heard the industry saying that “The art attracts and the verse sells.” This is definitely the case, and we suggest you read this blog post about how to write compelling greeting card copy. In short, good writing is a key factor to a card’s success, and it’s important to think of design and copy as a symbiotic relationship. Bonus points if your card copy and design are funny.

4. Make it multipurpose.

Can your card be given to either a man or a woman for either an anniversary, birthday, and maybe even Valentine’s Day? If so, hat’s off—you’ve designed a multipurpose card. To pull this off, sometimes it’s as easy as editing out some of your copy. For example, if your card originally says “I love you, Grandma,” remove the “Grandma,” and you may have yourself a more versatile card. We also don’t recommend using, say, “tall boy” humor, because the sentiment will likely appeal only to a small percentage of people.

Please keep in mind that as the Minted greeting card business grows, we may need cards that are targeted to specific audiences. If and when our approach changes, we’ll include this information in the appropriate Challenge Kit, and we’ll update this advice.

This Minted Greeting Card titled “You Are Mine Anniversary” by Olivia Kanaley is an example of a multipurpose card.

5. Add a “personal” touch.

There’s something special about cards that use elements created by hand, such as hand-lettering, fonts that appear to be created by hand, or hand-created drawings and illustrations. Handmade touches can make a design feel a little more personal and unique.

6. Consider designing outside and inside the card.

Note: If you have limited time to invest in designing a card, we suggest that you focus on the front of the card and refer to tips 1 and 2. In some cases, our cards will be sealed with plastic, and the customer will not be able to see inside the card until after they purchase.

We share a similar tip in our copywriting article that applies to visual design as well. As you’re designing a card, visualize a customer’s viewing experience from the outside in, and consider including an appealing design inside that connects to the front of the card. Although some card designs succeed with just exterior content, keep in mind that the majority of greeting cards with our partner retailers include interior copy.

You’re welcome to include visual elements on both the left- and right-hand sides of the interior. The only rule of thumb for designing on the left-hand side is to avoid using full or dark colors, as they are more likely to smudge.

This Minted greeting card is titled “Floral Birthday Card” by Yaling Hou Suzuki. If you’re entering a Minted greeting card challenge, please manually type your greeting card inside copy into the Comments field.

7. Avoid using brand names, song lyrics, and other copyrighted references.

When in doubt, don’t incorporate a brand name, celebrity reference, famous character, or copyrighted works into your design. For more info about guidelines around quotations, slogans, and branded phrases, read “What is Truly Unique? Sound Advice for Ensuring Your Work Is Original.”

8. Don’t fowl up a foil design.

Though foiling increases the price tag, many people love designs featuring a gilded touch. Before you submit a foil-pressed design greeting card submission, it’s important to make sure you’re including foil design elements properly. Read our “Top 10 Tips for Preparing a Design for Minted Foiling” for insights and best practices for selecting foilable fonts, images, and more.

9. Be mindful of white trim and thin borders.

Although a thin border may look great on screen, we suggest avoiding it altogether. If your design is a winner in a Minted Design Challenge, we’ll likely need to remove the border before production and printing. Thin borders are difficult to trim accurately during the printing and cutting production phase.

Minted’s Top 7 Tips for Writing Compelling Greeting Cards
The Minted Artist Education page

About the Author: Amy Schroeder, Minted’s Senior Manager of Community Content, founded Venus, the magazine about women in the arts and DIY culture, and has written for Etsy, West Elm, NYLON, and Pitchfork. Connect on Instagram @thevenuslady.

Published November 20, 2018

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