Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Why Greeting Cards?

According to the figures on the Greeting Card Universe Homepage, there are currently 3,813 artists who have created 381,568 greeting cards for this online store alone! I don’t know how many greeting cards designers sell their work through Zazzle or other online stores or how many designs are sold through traditional publishers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers. But it must be quite a lot! So why do so many artists choose to direct their talents towards this very competitive market?

A few days ago, I asked watercolour artist, Rod Hillen why he decided to create greeting cards and his mentioned the positive impact that greeting cards make on people’s lives. He also pointed out that the numerous occasions for sending cards ensures variety in his work. I would agree with Rod on both of those points. I love to receive nice greeting cards and I don’t throw away my favourites but use them as bookmarks or just leave them standing around on mantelpieces. And designing for so many occasions and holidays certainly exercises my imagination and keeps me busy! But I would go a little further with Rod’s first point.

For a while, a few years ago, I concentrated on my 'fine art' pastel paintings and thoroughly enjoyed creating and selling some of them in exhibitions. But it wasn’t long before I was making greeting cards and prints from scans of my paintings to sell locally in coffee shops and craft centres.  And now my main focus is on the greeting cards rather than the paintings because I found that the world of Fine Art was leading me into an often rarefied atmosphere that I didn't much enjoy, a world inhabited by those who can afford to buy original paintings, gallery owners and those who set themselves up as art critics – sometimes, I must say, talking a lot of gobbledegook and reminiscent of the French and Saunders clips!

My belief is that good art and design should be available to all, not just the wealthy. Public art galleries are one way of making art widely available but incorporating good art and design into our everyday lives and surroundings is even more important. I am fairly passionate about Interior Design – and not just the latest fads and fashions in decor but creating living and working spaces that enhance our well-being.  In theory at least, it is just as easy to produce a glorious curtain fabric or wallpaper as to produce a ghastly, badly designed one, a practical, well-planned kitchen rather than an awkward one! I suspect that being surrounded by pretty china or elegantly designed coffee mugs can have a subtly uplifting effect on us, just as what we wear to some extent affects our mood.

And so with greeting cards. They can be designed to remind us of the beauty of the natural world, to make us laugh or to comfort us in times of sadness. A well designed, carefully chosen greeting card is the synthesis of the sender’s expression of caring towards the recipient and something of the artist’s gift to the world at large – two for the price of one, and that price is often less than a cup of coffee! So, for me there is enormous satisfaction when someone chooses to buy one of my cards.

In spite of the fact that many men say they don’t like greeting cards because they find it difficult to choose them, if they didn’t exist, I think something of value would be lost.

Another reason I like creating greeting cards is that I get to keep the originals. But that, as one of my US friends would say, is a ‘whole ‘nother story’ !


I took this photo as I crossed the park to go to the shops yesterday! Autumn is on its way!


Ulla Hennig said...

I love to talk on the phone to people I like, but I also love to write greeting cards, and I must say that I prefer to use my own products now that I have that small zazzle shop. I have the impression that I am giving something away which has been or still is a part of me.
I also love to get greeting cards, and especially the ones which have been carefully chosen, and I have my difficulties to throw them away. I turn them into bookmarks or keep them in a box.

Judy Adamson said...

I agree with all you've written, Ulla, and especially about giving away something that is part of you. And with a printed greeting card we are not restricted to giving it to one person; we can go on giving it over and over...

naquaiya said...

YOU state your case very well and I ditto, ditto the thoughts. I also design greeting cards at GCU. Always considered cards "little treasures". Nice blog--good thoughts!

jeanlivingsimple said...

Judy, You are a great teacher. Thanks for sharing your insights and knowledge. I'm paying attending.:)

Carole Barkett said...

I agree and find a beautiful card hard to part with. Yes, fall is coming here too.

Judy Adamson said...

@ naquaiya - thank you for your kind comments. I've just had a look at your blog (and 'followed') and apart from your lovely work, the piece about 'Father Time'jumped out at me - my feelings exactly!

@ Jean - thank you again. You may laugh at this but when I was young I was determined not to follow in my sisters' footsteps and become a teacher because they were so bossy! Hope I've managed to avoid that aspect of teaching!

@ Carole - fortunately I have a lot of books and several large mantelpieces so I never do get rid of ones I really like!

Di said...

Good points all! Wow so there are almost 4000 designers on GCU and almost 400,000 designs and those numbers keep growing.

I do it because it keeps me from going nutz in between assignments and it's a nice affirmation when someone buys. Helps balance out all the rejections. Plus in this economy - it' nice to have some supplemental income coming in because those card sales do add up.

Judy Adamson said...

Di - yes, I too still feel a little thrill whenever a complete stranger on the other side of the world buys one of my cards, even though, as you say, the money is 'supplemental'.