Monday, 17 December 2007

We wish you a Mary Christmas - 1914

PRINCESS MARY'S CHRISTMAS GIFT TO THE TROOPS, CHRISTMAS 1914

Princess Mary
In 1914, a lesser-known Member of the Royal family, Princess Mary, the third child and only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary, went to great efforts to ensure that troops felt appreciated and not forgotten over the Christmas period.

The Princess's wish was that every serviceman stationed overseas during the first Christmas of the First World War would receive a message and gift from the nation, via the Royal Family. The fund which she instigated inspired the creation of one of the most enduring mementos of the First World War - Princess Mary's Gift Box.

The Princess, who was just 17 when war broke out, was moved by the plight of the troops and by the thought of them spending Christmas away from their families. She decided to pay, out of her private allowance, for a personal gift to each soldier and sailor.

"I want you now to help me to send a Christmas present from the whole of the nation to every sailor afloat and every soldier at the front. I am sure that we should all be happier to feel that we had helped to send our little token of love and sympathy on Christmas morning, something that would be useful and of permanent value, and the making of which may be the means of providing employment in trades adversely affected by the war. Could there be anything more likely to hearten them in their struggle than a present received straight from home on Christmas Day?

Please will you help me?"















The smokers' gift': an embossed brass box, one ounce of pipe tobacco, twenty cigarettes, a pipe, a tinder lighter, Christmas card and photograph. The Christmas card reads 'With best wishes for a happy Christmas and victorious New Year, from The Princess Mary and friends at home.

© The Imperial War Museum

The contents of the giftbox
It was decided that the majority of recipients would be given an embossed brass box, one ounce of pipe tobacco, twenty cigarettes, a pipe, a tinder lighter, a Christmas card from the King and Queen and a photograph of Princess Mary.

However, there were to be some exceptions. The committee agreed that non-smokers should be regarded as a special group and would receive the brass box, a packet of acid tablets, a khaki writing case containing pencil, paper and envelopes together with the Christmas card and photograph.

The committee was also obliged to consider the tastes of other minority groups and it was recognised that if the dietary rules of various religious groups were to be respected, changes would have to be made in the gifts intended for Indian troops.

'The India Committee' was set up, comprising 5 senior Army officers with experience of working with Indian soldiers. They decided that the Gurkhas would receive the same gift as the British troops; Sikhs would receive a box filled with sweets, a tin box of spices and the Christmas card and all other Indian troops would receive the box with a packet of cigarettes and sugar candy, a tin box of spices and the card.

Nurses at the front in France would be given the box, a packet of chocolate and the Christmas card from the King and Queen.

Via: Royal Insight
Also: Kinnethmont
Also: National World War One Museum

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Recycle Christmas Cards - Woodland Trust


In 2007 the Woodland Trust recycled 93 million Christmas cards, the equivalent of 1,844 tonnes.

From the 2nd to the 31st January 2008, help the Woodland Trust reach their target of recycling 100 Million Christmas cards in order to plant 24,000 trees this year!

It is estimated that 1 billion Christmas cards (17 for every woman, man and child) could end up in bins across the UK (Defra) this Christmas
• One fifth of the contents of household dustbins consists of paper and card
• UK produces more than 434 million tonnes of waste every year. This quantity of rubbish would fill the Albert Hall in London in less than 2 hours
• On average, each person in the UK produces 500 kilos of household waste per year. This weighs the same as three and a half million double-decker buses, a queue of which would stretch from London to Sydney (Australia) and back.


The Woodland Trust

Monday, 10 December 2007

Vintage Christmas Cards




Best Wishes for the New Year

Tho'
Distance parts,
Fond hearts unite,
However far away.


"Get into the festive spirit with these stunning Christmas themed items including postcards, stationary and greetings cards."

The Traditional Collection from the Christmas Items Collection at the Bath Postal Museum

Vintage Christmas Cards


A Joyous Christmas Tide

At current count, around 1500 Vintage Christmas Postcards available from
CardCow

A fascinating slice of the history, style and presentation of Christmas postcards throughout the world.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Creative Christmas Cards

An interesting seasonal piece from Lifehacker
"If you send out Christmas cards every year, you know that buying cards can be a spendy endeavor. So in the spirit of saving money this holiday season but not skimping on the cool-factor of your cards, we're rounding up a few very cool, very 3-D DIY Christmas cards that'll help you spread a little holiday cheer without breaking the bank."


And yet more ideas for creating some very cool cards...











A great pop-up resource from
Robert Sabuda
Learn how to make this 3D greeting card pop-up xmas tree among many other ideas.















Free Pop Up Font
Inspired by the work of Masahiro Chatani in his book "Pop-up Greeting Cards"
Learn how to create your own 3D pop-up text greeting cards (if you manage to somehow create the above xmas card, send it in, you're a genius).

Pop-up cards at Cool Cards











"Pop-up Card Designer is a Windows application, which generates unfolded pattern of Pop Up Cards. With simple interface, you can get unfolded pattern of your original Pop Up Cards."

So now you know. Have a play!

Let us know how you get on!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Cards Blessed by Church of Enlgand

Talk about a Bandwagon...

"A selection of Christmas greetings cards blessed by the Church of England is set to take the social networking site Facebook by snowstorm this Advent."

"The virtual cards, based on religious themes, can be sent on with a personalised message and are freely available to any of the seven million active users in the UK registered on Facebook."

"The Church of England has worked in partnership with Rechord – a leading web design agency in London, specialising in social networking and web applications for charities – to create the environmentally-friendly virtual cards. The designs feature colourful animations representing key elements of the nativity story, including the journey of the wise men to see the ‘new born King’."
Source : The Church of England

"The idea for the Facebook application follows last year’s Church of England online Advent calendar, (from Rechord : "Would you like a site that not only increases traffic, but persuades your visitors to act?") which received wide media coverage and around 1,000 unique visitors each day during December."

"The slightly not so good thing is that receivers of cards will need to add the application, which they may not wish to do. Adding Facebook applications is of course a bit of a privacy risk as you are giving your information to a third party (the creator of the application) about whom you know nothing. I am of course willing to give the Church of England my information, but not everyone will be."

"Of course if you are a real luddite you could send them an actual card made out of card in the style of yesteryear."

Source : Episcopal Cafe

Also from : Cartoon Church

Coincidence - Cartoon Church Christian greeting cards delightfully reminiscent of Cool Cards Edward Monkton

Rechord deface York Minster Dec. 2006. (Well we never claim to be cutting edge...)

Poet Confidential

"I was a professional greeting card writer."

Shameful confessional from poet Nancy Breen :

"I don't mean I wrote and submitted greeting card verses on the side for extra cash."

"I did like it. I was good at it, too. However, by the end of the first year, I began to yearn to do something of a utilitarian nature, like filing or processing paperwork. Sitting at my desk all day long trying to come up with new ways of saying "Happy Birthday" without using the words "Happy Birthday" became deadening. And my creative juices dried up from writing on demand five days a week."

"The more I wrote verses (and I had to produce daily), the less poetry I wrote. I've never entirely recovered. I don't find the joy in sitting down to tackle a poem that I once did."


Source

Seeking Freelance Greeting Card Writers

All you aspiring greeting card writers... a Job advert from Blue Mountain Arts.

"Blue Mountain Arts is interested in reviewing writings for publication on greeting cards. We are looking for highly original and creative submissions on friendship, family, special occasions, positive living, and other topics one person might want to share with another person. Submissions may also be considered for inclusion in book anthologies. We pay $300 per poem for all rights to publish it on a greeting card and $50 if your poem is used only in an anthology. To request a copy of our writer’s guidelines (which include contact/submission information), please send a blank e-mail to writings@sps.com with “Send Me Guidelines” in the subject line, or write us at: Blue Mountain Arts, Inc. Editorial Department P.O. Box 1007 Boulder, CO 80306. You can also visit our website at www.sps.com."

Source

Friday, 9 November 2007

Greeting Cards Market Is on the Upswing

Greeting Cards Market Is on the Upswing as Card Shoppers Turn to Speciality Retailers for More Specialized Product Offerings.

New Study From Unity Marketing Finds That Greeting Cards Were the Fastest Growing Category in the Overall Stationery Market.

In 2006 the market for greeting cards made a big comeback after four years of steadily declining sales, rising over 11 percent from 2004 to 2006. In 2006 the market for greeting cards climbed to over $10 billion. This according to the latest report on the stationery market from Unity Marketing.

This revival of speciality retail for greeting cards comes after years of a steady drop in the number of speciality retailers in the card and gift segments. The number of gift shops dropped 21 percent from 75,0102 stores in 2002 to 59,032 shops today. Speciality card shops declined even more -- 33 percent from 8,135 in 2002 to 5,391 currently.

Source Marketwire

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Uncooked - Interview

New additions to Cool Cards.
Uncooked Cards.

Uncooked cards, known for their snarky, irreverent copy and sweet illlustrations.




"Our cards are a lot different to other card lines. It'll take time before they get fully appreciated. Smart people get them first. Idiots catch on later, after someone tells them they're funny".


Uncooked interview here

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Royal Mail Christmas Stamps

The Church of England has greeted Royal Mail’s decision to re-establish a religious theme for its Christmas stamp collection.

The Royal Mail is to release a collection of eight stamps with illustrations of baby Jesus, Mary, as well as angels, this Christmas.

The Church was highly critical in 2006 when the Royal Mail’s stamp collection carried only secular themes of the Christian holiday, and even though they have welcomed the return to religious themes this year, the Royal Mail said it would alternate between secular and religious themes annually.

The Church has emphasised the importance of Christmas stamps being filled with Christian-themed designs rather than a random secular selection, as this would "remind people of the true meaning of Christmas".

Source: Christian Today
Wiki : Christmas

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Edward Monkton - Interview


New additions to the Cool Cards range of Edward Monkton Greeting Cards here.

Who is Edward Monkton? Interview here.

Wiki here.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Eid Greeting Cards - Cool Cards


New: Eid Greeting Cards - calligraphy and arabesque patterns.
Original and incredibly beautiful Islamic art cards by acclaimed artist Salma Arastu.



Islamic Eid greeting cards inspired by Mughal, Moorish, Iranian and Turkish art traditions.

These sensitive and creative designs show images from semi-abstract paintings, others are calligraphic compositions, known as the Tughra style.

.:Click:. Eid Greeting Cards at Cool Cards
7" x 5" - White envelope - Not cello wrapped.

Royal Mail - Post in time for Christmas 2007

Royal Mail recommended posting dates for Christmas 2007.

"Do you want to send post in time for Christmas? If you're sending gifts or cards to family, friends or business contacts you have to start thinking now. Here you'll find all the last posting dates for the UK and around the world. To beat the rush, post well before the recommended date."

.:Click:. Royal Mail recommended last UK and International posting dates before Christmas 2007

UK last posting dates:

Friday 14 December - Standard Parcels

Monday 17 December - Second Class

Thursday 20 December - First Class

Friday 21 December - Special Delivery™
Saturday guarantee

Saturday 22 December - Special Delivery™


International Airmail:

Friday 7 December - South & Central America, Caribbean, Africa, Middle East, Asia, Far East (except Japan), Australia and New Zealand

Monday 10 December - USA, Canada, Japan and Eastern Europe

Thursday 13 December - Western Europe


International Surface Mail:

Monday 1 October - All non-European destinations (except USA, Canada, Middle East, Far East and South Africa)

Monday 15 October - Middle East and Far East (except Hong Kong and Singapore)

Monday 29 October - USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Africa

Friday 16 November - Eastern Europe, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Malta and Iceland

Friday 30 November - Western Europe


Royal Mail can arrange for alternative formats of this information to be sent to you in…
• Large Print
• Braille
• Audio CD
• Audio Cassette

To obtain a free copy call Royal Mail Customer Services on: 08457 740 740

If you are deaf or hard of hearing, Royal Mail offer a textphone service on:
08456 000 606

To ensure your post gets there safely:
• Please use the correct postcode
(visit www.royalmail.com/postcodes if you are unsure)
• Add a return address on the back of the envelope
• Make sure you pay the correct postage for international items

Source (pdf)



Royal Mail Christmas Stamps

Friday, 7 September 2007

The Gallery Collection, Vegetable-based inks

The Gallery Collection, the leading business Christmas card and personal Christmas card publisher, announces the use of vegetable-based inks in the printing of its greeting cards. The publishing company, which recently decided to go green, has been making numerous eco-friendly investments to show the company’s dedication and commitment to a cleaner environment.

The Gallery Collection’s greeting cards are finished at print shops that utilise agri-based inks made from vegetable oils, such as linseed oil. These vegetable-based inks were common prior to the 1960s, but petroleum-based inks popularized over the past several decades due to cheaper costs.

Petroleum-based inks, however, negatively impact the environment and print shop workers. These inks contain hazardous metals that contaminate the soil and groundwater when released into the environment. These inks also contain harmful solvents that emit volatile organiccompounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere, causing air pollution and ozone depletion. And when inhaled by print shop workers, VOCs can cause an array of illnesses such as bronchitis or depression.

Used as a substitute for petrochemical inks, vegetable inks significantly reduce toxic VOCs, benefiting the environment, the atmosphere, and print shop workers. Vegetable inks are also developed from renewable sources, whereas the global supply of petroleum will be exhausted indefinitely in years to come.

“The Gallery Collection is committed to making decisions that minimally impact the environment,” declared H.L. DeVore, Chief Marketing Officer of Prudent Publishing, The Gallery Collection’s parent company. “As a publisher of greeting cards, we have an obligation to our planet. We want our company to leave a smaller imprint on the environment, and this needs to reflect all aspects of our business…including the ink used to print our cards.”

To learn more about agri-based inks, please visit The Gallery Collection’s vegetable-based inks information page at http://www.gallerycollection.com/articles/vegetableinks.htm.

ABOUT THE GALLERY COLLECTION – Prudent Publishing’s The Gallery Collection is the leading publisher of premium quality personal Christmas cards and business Christmas cards in the United States. Established in 1929 and still family owned, the company offers direct-from-the-publisher prices that include customized ink and foil imprints, a large selection of memorable greetings, and matching deckle-edged envelopes made of recycled paper. The Gallery Collection also offers birthday cards, sympathy cards, and personal photo cards.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

The Gallery Collection, UK launch, FSC Certified

The launch of The Gallery Collection in the UK marks a highly commendable addition to the Greeting card market.

Ethically and environmentally-sound U.S. based
The Gallery Collection continue to "do the right thing." said H.L. DeVore, Chief Marketing Officer of Prudent Publishing, makers of The Gallery Collection line of greeting cards. "We want to conduct our business in a fashion that minimally impacts the environment and makes good economic sense."
"The Gallery Collection has made a commitment to wind power energy, specifically in the manufacturing of our greeting card stock and envelope stock. Currently, we sell 163
business Christmas cards, personal holiday cards, all occasion, and birthday greeting cards that are produced in windpower paper mills. Additionally, all of our envelopes are made in these eco-friendly facilities which are utilizing Green-e certified renewable energy."

The Gallery Collection use paper mills owned by Mohawk Fine Papers.
"Mohawk is at the forefront of environmentally sound manufacturing. Every day we look for better ways to reduce emissions, use clean energy, and protect the environment inside and outside our mills. On June 1, 2007 we increased our purchase of wind-generated electricity RECs to 100,000,000 kWh annually which represents 100% of the electric power required for all of Mohawk's operations in its New York and Ohio facilities.
Because paper manufacturing relies heavily on water, forests, and energy, it is our responsibility to care for these precious resources. At Mohawk, environmental stewardship is a top priority for everyone, every day. We act responsibly within our own mills and we require the same level of environmental performance from our suppliers."

Continuing in the vein of 'doing the right thing', The Gallery Collection have also announced that they have gained FSC Certification. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international organization that brings people together to find solutions which promote responsible stewardship of the world’s forests.
Over the past 13 years, over 90 million hectares in more than 82 countries have been certified according to FSC standards while several thousand products are produced using FSC-certified wood and carrying the FSC trademark. FSC operates through its network of National Initiatives in 43 countries.

The Gallery Collection are also supporting two Charities,
Marie Curie and Operation Smile
A donation of 10p for each card ordered will be given to either charity of the customers choice. Additionally, an elegantly embossed, self-adhesive charity seal is provided for the customer to add to the card or envelope.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Freelance Greeting Card Artists Required

Looking for work as a greeting card designer or artist?

For an up-to-date list of all Greeting Card Association members who are looking for freelance artists click here.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

General Facts: U.S. Greeting Cards

Source: Greeting Card Association - United States.

U.S. consumers purchase approximately 7 billion greeting cards each year, generating nearly $7.5 billion in retail sales.

More than 90 percent of all U.S. households buy greeting cards, with the average household purchasing 30 individual cards in a year.

The average person receives more than 20 cards per year, about one-third of which are birthday cards.

Greeting cards range in price from 50 cents to $10, although counter cards typically cost between $2 and $4. Cards featuring special techniques, intricate designs and new technologies are at the top of the price scale.

The exchange of greeting cards is one of the most widely accepted customs in the U.S. There are cards for virtually any occasion or relationship, and they are widely available. Approximately 100,000 retail outlets around the country carry greeting cards.

Women purchase more than 80 percent of all greeting cards.
Although women are more likely than men to buy several cards at once, men generally spend more on a single card than women.

There are two categories of greeting cards -- Seasonal and Everyday. Total card sales are split approximately 50-50 between the two types.

The most popular Everyday cards are Birthday (60%), Anniversary (8%), Get Well (7%), Friendship (6%), and Sympathy cards (6%).

The most popular Seasonal cards are Christmas (60%), Valentine's Day (25%), Mother's Day (4%), Easter (3%), and Father's Day (3%) cards.

Nine out of 10 Americans say they look forward to receiving personal letters and greeting cards because cards allow them to keep in touch with friends and family and make them feel they are important to someone else.

Although e-mail, text messaging and phone calls are valued by Americans for helping them communicate with family and friends, the majority of Americans say they prefer the old-fashioned handwritten card or letter to make someone feel truly special.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Cool Cards Gay Greeting Cards


Cool Cards have long been on the hunt for sensitive and stylish Gay and Civil Partnership cards.
We now proudly welcome Pogoplum as the latest greeting card publisher to Cool Cards.

Whichever term you prefer... Gay Wedding, Civil Partnership, Gay Friendship... Cool Cards are proud to offer these contemporary gay greeting cards.
Classic gay celebration and friendship cards:
.:Click:. View Gay Cards at Cool Cards

How Green Is Our Valley?

Greening the Greeting Card Industry
Via: GCA

...The time could be nigh for a universal grading that will clearly state the heritage of each card. “I would love to see the environmental credentials of not just the card but also the envelope and packaging to be made compulsory for all, so that consumers can make an informed choice when buying their greeting cards,” suggests Susanna Morrish from Glebe Cottage.

Besides board and envelopes, packaging is another element that is coming under the environmental spotlight. While paper can be fairly easy to recycle, individual cellowrapping is not. Some publishers, notably Glebe Cottage, Canns Down Press and Art Angels have recently begun using bags made from corn starch, which is fully compostable, while Roger La Borde is looking at introducing biodegradable bags on all its cards for 2007 so this looks to be something that will develop quite quickly in the next couple of years. “There is a small cost concern when it comes to using corn starch bags rather than those made from polypropylene but we can just about manage to absorb these costs. I am sure that as publishers begin to increase demand for these bags, I am pretty confident that the prices will reduce in line with this,” predicts Robert Hartford, director of Canns Down Press.

The UK printing industry has long been governed on minimising any damage to the environment (with greeting card specialist Loudwater being the first in the trade to gain the highest ‘green’ credentials) but there is the inevitable environmental cost of transporting the materials to consider. “To be honest I don’t think it’s enough to just to look at the product and pander to public concern by undertaking a defensive marketing exercise. We feel we are going to have to review the so-called carbon footprint of all our business activities and we are just starting the process of assessing everything, from our electricity suppliers to our how long our computers stay on for in a bid to try to reduce the size of this footprint,” explains Tim Solnick, director at Roger La Borde.

At the moment, public concern over the environmental credentials of the greeting card industry has been relatively low key – there are bigger fish to fry when it comes to potentially harmful manufacturing. However, as the ecological situation worsens and global warming hots up, so society’s demand for every aspect of manufacturing and consumerism to be environmentally responsibly is likely to increase. Add this to the fact that it is in everyone’s best interest to protect our precious planet as much as possible, in any way possible, and it becomes clear that taking a strong eco-friendly approach is essential, even for those who don’t list ‘tree-hugging’ among their hobbies...

Read More: Via GCA .:Click:.

Wind Power Cards

Greeting Card Publisher, Gallery Collection, Announces Wind Power Commitment
"We are trying to do the right thing for our planet," declared H.L. DeVore, Chief Marketing Officer of Prudent Publishing. "We want to conduct our business in a fashion that minimally impacts the environment and makes good economic sense."
The Gallery Collection's commitment to wind power actually began in 2006, but the company made the decision to stay quiet and see how the political and economic landscape developed for "green corporate behavior." DeVore admits to some reluctance about making the move to wind power, stating: "It seems there are always people looking to criticize you for not going far enough." He further comments, "These critics hurt the world and make people reluctant to do their small part. Green should not be about extremes. Green should not be a political issue. We are trying to do our small part to help the environment and send energy dollars into friendlier hands."
Via Marketwire .:Click:.

Wind Power to Propel The Gallery Collection into the Future
The Gallery Collection has made a commitment to wind power energy, specifically in the manufacturing of our greeting card stock and envelope stock. Currently, we sell 163 (cards) that are produced in windpower paper mills. Additionally, all of our envelopes are made in these eco-friendly facilities which are utilizing Green-e (.:Click:.) certified renewable energy.
Via The Gallery Collection .:Click:.

Cool Cards comment: We haven't been able identify which paper mills are used in order to validate these statements. Perhaps Gallery Collection could provide further information?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Cool Cards were very pleased to receive a comment from Mr. DeVore, who informs us that The Gallery Collection use paper mills owned by Mohawk Fine Papers.
Many thanks Mr. DeVore and congratulations on your excellent green credentials!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Email Scam Alert

Doing the rounds again, or rather still, malware e-cards.
From Snopes

"
Claim: Opening a greeting card from FriendGreetings.com can trigger a software download that will automatically send an e-card to everyone in your address book.

Status: True.

Beware: If you use Microsoft Outlook to access email on your home computers, please keep this warning in mind.

Please be aware of any email inviting you to open a greeting card from "friendgreetings.com". When you go to the Web site to open the greeting card, you will be prompted to install software. You should NOT install this software.

If you were to install this software, "friendgreetings.com" will attempt to send marketing email to everybody in your Microsoft Office address book (friendgreetings.com actually tells you that this will happen in their end-user license agreement). It is bad practice to install an application that knowingly accesses this type of information on your system.


A WARNING FOR ECARD USERS/RECIPIENTS:

There's a new card company called "FriendGreetings.com". The following also applies to:
http://www.laugh-mail.com
http://www.friend-cards.net
http://www.friend-cards.com
http://cool-downloads.net
http://friendgreetings.net
http://friend-greetings.com"

Please, read more at the Greeting Card Association

Saturday, 16 June 2007

For My Mother... on Father's Day

Happy Father’s Day, Mom!
Hallmark cashes in on family breakdown.

From: City Journal

The mandatory trek to the greeting card display, whether for an artificial holiday such as Father’s Day or for a birthday, is occasion for fear and loathing. There is only one melancholy upside to the rising muck of cards devoted to flatulence, impotence, and outsized mammary glands: Hallmark provides a darn good barometer of social breakdown—transformed, with all the cheerful non-judgmentalism of capitalism, into a business opportunity.

For years now, as one stared with increasing despair at the studly stud, dirty old man, and bathroom “humor,” new categories of card were blossoming luxuriantly. “Celebrating your divorce” or “For my second stepmother” cards began popping up regularly among the “From the dog” or “Incompetent duffer” standards. And this year’s display at a Manhattan stationer’s did not disappoint. In the small section devoted to Hallmark’s “African-American” line (of course there is one; it is called “Mahogany”), two card pockets advertised “For mother on Father’s Day” options. One card had apparently already sold out. The other was a tasteful and ingeniously designed card in the Mahogany line’s characteristic earthtones, with a lovely charcoal drawing of a beautiful black woman in one-quarter view.

The front of the card reads:

for My Mother

ON FATHER’S DAY

You hear a lot of talk

these days about

children growing up

without a father—

without this

and without that.

You hardly ever hear

About the mothers who,

In spite of everything,

Raise their children to be strong,

To believe in God, to work hard

To make their lives worthwhile . . .

The message inside the card continued:

That’s the story

I’d like to tell

Because that’s

How you raised me.

In spite of it all,

it’s our story . . .

I made it because of you.

Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

UK Now Has a Trade Deficit in Greetings Cards

The UK Now Has a Trade Deficit in Greetings Cards — Whereas Its Surplus Was as High as £31.2M in 1995 States New Report, Greeting Cards Market Report Plus 2006

DUBLIN, Ireland--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c56934) has announced the addition of Greeting Cards Market Report Plus 2006 to their offering.

The UK greetings cards industry is a mature one, in which the value of retail sales is virtually static and competition is intense. While dominated by the US giants Hallmark Cards and American Greetings, there is a myriad of small publishers that contribute to the diversity of the UK industry and the innovation for which it is justifiably renowned. More than a quarter of UK publishers of items other than newspapers currently have turnovers of less than £50,000, while just 1.3% achieves sales in excess of £5m.

The days of high profit margins for greetings cards publishers look to be well and truly over in this oversupplied market. Bearing in mind the relatively low production cost of a card compared with the average selling price, margins should be healthy, but publishers have little choice but to comply with the increasingly stringent demands of multiple retailers (including the leading supermarket chains). Another characteristic of the market is the growth in the discount retailing of greetings cards. These difficulties have resulted in many corporate casualties and near-casualties. Further consolidation on both the retailing and publishing sides of the industry looks inevitable in the future.

In common with other manufacturing sectors, the UK publishing industry struggles to compete with overseas operators with lower production costs. Some companies, including International Greetings PLC and Hallmark Cards PLC, have moved some of their own production facilities overseas. The UK now has a trade deficit in greetings cards whereas its surplus was as high as £31.2m in 1995.

On the positive side, longevity and expanding family networks through divorce and remarriage mean an increase in the number of card-giving occasions and of potential recipients for greetings cards. The industry continues to endeavour to persuade the card-buying public to embrace more card-sending occasions. While there is a price-sensitive sector of the market, it is also the case that many consumers do not begrudge spending significant amounts on quality cards that serve as keepsakes, and the UK has the highest per capita consumption of greetings cards, with the average consumer sending 55 cards each a year. It is little wonder, then, that the industry put up such a fight to prevent the imposition of Pricing in Proportion (PIP) by the Royal Mail. Its failure to do so means that the scheme, effective from August 2006, makes it more expensive to post letters and cards of other than standard size and weight. It is to be hoped that its implementation does not stunt creativity in the industry or confuse consumers into sending fewer cards. In a difficult market, the UK greetings cards industry can do without such negative aspects, as it strives to maintain a buoyant market value.

Source

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Greeting Card Universe

Greeting Card Universe Revolutionizing the Paper Greeting Card Industry


Poised to transform the eight billion dollar paper greeting card industry long dominated by two major players, American Greetings and Hallmark, BigDates Solutions launches GreetingCardUniverse.com

In the first 30 days of operation GCUniverse has already attracted over 70 artists boasting over 1,000 cards. By summertime GCUniverse expects to offer over 5,000 unique cards, far surpassing the selection in card stores today. BigDates CEO Nasser Gaemi asserts, "GCUniverse will quickly become the largest online greeting card store offering a limitless selection of 'direct from the artist' cards."

GCUniverse makes it possible for essentially any freelance artist to sell paper greeting cards online and earn an unconventional 50 cents per card sold. With little effort and zero fees artists can create online storefronts featuring their cards within minutes.

"I used to sell my greeting cards on CafePress. My GCUniverse store was so much easier and quicker to set up. GCUniverse is a 10+" contests artist Christine Quimby.

Using print-on-demand technology GCUniverse can print virtually any art on a paper greeting card, by the thousands or one card at a time. Priced at $2.49 plus postage per card, artists can even afford to stock their own card inventories.

"Artists can put greeting cards out there without the printing expense overhead. GCUniverse is easy to use, my shop simple to set up, and the staff interested in feedback," says artist Heather Castles.

"I am so happy to be a part of Greeting Card Universe. I am really starting to believe that I can earn a living as an artist and selling greeting cards is just the beginning." - Kimberly Hillhouse Strole, Grain Valley, MO, USA

"The fact that I can put my art on a greeting card and avoid the time consuming and rejection filled submission process is a real coupe! GCU has given me great encouragement and business savvy." - Chris Perry, Fort Worth, TX, USA


Greeting Card Universe

Monday, 12 March 2007

Writing Greeting Cards

From American Chronicle

How To Get Paid Writing Simple Greeting Cards


"Most of us enjoy getting greeting cards from time to time. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, the birth of a baby, and other occasions mean even more to us when we are remembered by friends, relatives and colleagues. A well written card can make a genuinely personal statement for any occasion. That's why greeting cards continue to be a sincere and effective means of communication. In fact, the demand for greeting cards is such that it is now a multi-billion dollar industry and still growing.

Writing greeting cards on a free-lance basis is a creative way for writers to make excellent part-time money. In some cases, extremely talented and prolific writers can write greeting cards full time and make a comfortable living. Of course, the amount of success a free-lance writer can expect from writing greeting cards depends on talent, initiative, knowledge of the industry, and time devoted to creating new ideas and concepts.

While the greeting card industry is not stagnant, and new ideas and trends are frequently being developed, the three basic card categories remain the same -- traditional, studio (or contemporary) and alternative. And when publishing a line of greeting cards, in any category, a company must cater to the people who are most likely to buy and send cards. In most cases, that means women between the ages of 18 and 50. So the majority of companies are looking for cards that target issues these women care about; relationships, success, religion, money, health, and so on.

Here are several of the most sought after types of card ideas:

(1) Birthdays. Since there's never a shortage of birthdays, the market for original birthday cards, both humorous and serious, remains a steady market for writers. Birthday cards can make us laugh about getting older, or they can be sensitive, serving as a reminder of the positive side of life, past and future.

(2) Friendship. Good friends are hard to find, and keep. That's why friendship cards continue to be a profitable part of the greeting card industry. Most friendship cards deal with the general value of friendship, or the significance of a specific friendship. Again, both humorous and serious card ideas are acceptable to most greeting card companies. The main thing is that the ideas must be original and genuinely and clearly express some positive aspect of friendship.

(3) Get Well. Like birthday cards, the need for get well cards remains constant. Most people with not-so-serious illnesses appreciate humorous get well cards. But, prospective writers should be cautioned to stay away from over-used and worn out hospital humor concerning hospital gowns, hospital food and so on. Greeting card companies are looking for fresh ideas, not a re-working of old ones. There is also a need for non-humorous get well cards that express appropriate, and sensitive sentiments toward someone experiencing a serious illness. What greeting card companies are looking for here is a sensitive approach to a serious, and even grave situation. Sometimes the sentiment "get well soon" is not appropriate, even for get well cards.

(4) Sympathy. Unfortunately, sympathy cards are always needed. To fill that need, a writer must be able to address the loss of a loved one with good taste and sensitivity.

(5) Love And Romance. Writers of love and romance card ideas will do well to address all kinds of love and different aspects of romance; first love, long-term romantic relationships, marriage, sharing, trust, commitment, renewing an old romance, and so on. The market is good for both humorous and serious cards addressing the themes of love and romance.

(6) Support And Encouragement. This type of card has increased in popularity over the past decade and offers creative writers a good deal of opportunity. These cards can be given to friends, relatives, colleagues, lovers -- anyone who might need to know that they are not alone. The most common message with this type of card is "I'm here for you." These cards offer both encouragement and support, and can be treated in either a serious or humorous manner.

(7) Inspirational Cards. Most companies looking for inspirational cards request messages that address spiritual or human potential. These cards normally deal with some aspect of personal growth, are non-humorous, utilize sensitive language, and require an understanding of the spiritual and human condition.

(8) Alternative Cards. These cards are designed for non-traditional sending occasions. The most common card ideas in this line are those offering congratulations for a new job, job promotion, or raise in salary. More serious issues, such as divorce, terminal illness, and substance abuse, are also top-selling themes in the alternative card line.

The main thing a writer should remember is that greeting card companies are all looking for fresh ideas and messages, not time-worn cliché’s and sappy sentiment. Greeting card messages should be immediate and clear. Writers should avoid wordy or complex messages, and be direct and original. In short, most greeting card companies are looking for ideas they haven't seen or heard before."

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Thursday, 15 February 2007

Anti Valentine


You can't beat a good bit of greeting card tolerance...

From The Middle East Times










"SRINAGAR, India --
A Muslim women's group in revolt-hit Indian Kashmir group burned greeting cards and beat young couples to stop people celebrating Valentine's Day, witnesses said Tuesday.

The separatist Dukhtaran-e-Millat (Daughters of the Nation) raided restaurants and showered blows on some couples and then burned cards during a rally in the summer capital's center, a witness said.

The group, along with an Islamic association called the Forum Against Social Evils, regularly wage morality campaigns against movies and other emblems of popular Western culture that they deem un-Islamic.

"We will not allow Western culture to take roots in Muslim Majority Kashmir," chanted several dozen marchers led by Dukhtaran-e-Millat chief Aasiya Andrabi.

Kashmir's Muslim population is socially conservative, but in recent years couples have openly dated in parks, restaurants, and Internet cafes.

The forum, an umbrella group that includes Dukhtaran-e-Millat, warned in newspaper ads last week that it would attack anyone found marking Valentine's Day in Kashmir where Islamic separatists have been battling New Delhi's rule since 1989.

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Anti Valentine

"Death to Valentine's Day!"

From the China Post


"Hardline Hindu activists protested against celebrations of St Valentine's Day in the Indian capital on Wednesday calling them immoral and a corruption of the country's ancient civilization.

Marking the year's most romantic day has become increasingly popular in India, led by retailers who do healthy business selling rose-colored greeting cards and heart-shaped balloons, and restaurants offering discount candlelight meals for two.

But it has also sparked demonstrations.

About 150 members of the pro-Hindu political party Shiv Sena gathered in New Delhi, shouting "Down with Western culture!" and "Death to Valentine's Day!" as they waved saffron-colored flags.

"Valentine's Day promotes obscene cards and nudity and encourages our youngsters to be publicly affectionate in parks and other places -- this is against our ancient civilization," said Jai Bhagwan Goyal, head of Shiv Sena in the capital.

"This western creation is corrupting our young people and making them have immoral thoughts ... we are already seeing that there are more evil crimes like rape happening in India." In Mumbai, the scene of violent protests in the past, love seemed to conquer all and the day passed off peacefully.

Tens of Shiv Sena protesters burnt Valentine's cards in the western city of Jaipur and tried to enter the city's main park to harass courting couples, but were stopped by police.

In the Muslim-majority state of Kashmir, at least a dozen women covered from head to toe in black burqas, stormed into several restaurants in Srinagar, telling couples to go home and stay away from "unIslamic" Valentine's Day celebrations.

"Valentine's Day is against Islamic teachings, our ethos and culture," said Andrabi, chief of Dukhtaran-e-Milat (Daughters of the Muslim Faith). Satellite television, the Internet, films and travel have led traditionally conservative middle class Indians to adopt more liberal attitudes towards sex.

But public hugging and kissing, even in urban areas, still invite angry stares, lewd comments and even beatings."

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Monday, 5 February 2007

Free Greeting Cards

From SmileMailer.com

Making a Difference One Greeting Card At A Time...

"On your request, we will send, by regular postal mail, with a first-class stamp, free of charge, a real paper "Thinking of You" or "Get-Well" greeting card, hand-addressed and handwritten to anyone within the US who is in need of emotional support and a kind encouragement.

Do you know anyone who is:

* Hurt emotionally
* Down with depression
* Hurt physically (accident, illness...)
* Hospitalized (either child or adult)
* Shut-in / lonely
* Going through divorce
* Laid off from work or lost a job by any other means
* Lost a loved one
* Going through especially trying times

"Ever since I can remember, I have always loved receiving mail and writing greeting cards by hand. Growing up in Communist Hungary, I hardly ever received mail so when I moved to the US in 1993 and found out that you can get a lot of free stuff here via mail, I have sent off for just about everything and I still do! I know firsthand the joy of receiving mail! Mail, especially hand-addressed mail makes you feel special. It makes you feel like someone took the time to sit down and handwrite your name and address! To this day I still await mail every day with the same joy and anticipation that I a child has awaiting the opening of presents on Christmas Eve. It is my prayer and my hope that my humble service, SmileMailer.com, will help spread joy, hope and inspiration to many waiting people worldwide and will help your organization raise the needed funds!!"

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Sunday, 4 February 2007

Hallmark Holiday

From Wiki

"A Hallmark Holiday is a disparaging term used to describe a holiday that exists primarily for commercial purposes, rather than to commemorate a truly significant religious or secular event. The name comes from Hallmark cards, a company that presumably benefits from such manufactured events.

Examples of holidays that have been called as "Hallmark holidays" include Secretary's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Sweetest Day. Valentine's Day is likewise often cited as a holiday that has been co-opted by commercial interests to the point where it has been reduced in status to a "Hallmark holiday", though it does have a longer historic legacy than most."

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Cool Cards Anti Valentine


Valentine Cards

You won't find Valentines Cards at Cool Cards.

You know that demonstration and acknowledgment of Intimacy, Love, Celebration and Friendship is a daily event. We've got the best range of cards that know this as well as you do.

Cool Cards
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Anti Valentine

From Amazon

The Break Up Bible (Paperback) by Ruth Graham

"101 True Stories to Make You Glad You're Single!"
"The perfect antidote to all that Valentine's schmaltz."
"...being single will never be scary again!"

"From unfaithful partners, shallow boyfriends and the big-mouthed parrot that gave the game away, to the lethal vagina, the blind date threatening suicide and the transexual guardsman in his girlfriend's wig, all of human life is here. And the best bit is, after reading what other people have gone through in pursuit of love being single will never be scary again!"

"
The stories are all told from the female perspective giving a huge insight into how women around the world see themselves, the men they form relationships with and bundles of advice on how to (or not) split from an unwanted partner. But this is not an anti-male book. Plenty of the tales revolve around the failings or misdemeanours of women. There are also a selection of stories from gay men and women, and checklists of how to spot when your relationship is failing, how to catch errant partners out and how to gain suitable revenge! This book is a great gift that friends can give to each other when one has broken up, or is getting divorced, or is simply feeling down."

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Buy book at Amazon (Cool Cards have no affiliation)
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Anti Valentine

From Amazon

"Love Kills: Anti-Valentines Products"

"Not feeling the love this Valentines' Day? So if your flowers and chocolates didn't get delivered in time, boycott the L word and check out our collection of anti-Valentines products. Save ££s on the most unromantic things."

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Anti Valentine


Anti Valentine Cards

"The idea of the site is to provide an alternative card-sending service for all the people who think Valentine’s Day is sickly-sweet, exclusively coupley, consumerist nonsense or otherwise a bit naff."


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Anti Valentine

From WOAI

Valentine’s Day is all about sweet sayings and sweet nothings between sweethearts. These days it seems like it’s all about sweet somethings. Balloons, teddy bears, romantic cards, and - if your goals are really lofty - maybe even a ring.

Some call Valentine's Day a manufactured holiday. If you're a man, you know you better step it up - or end up in the doghouse. If you're a woman, you're hoping for the best - but preparing for the worst.

Right now, there are nearly 96 million unmarried and single people living in the United States. Stands to reason that a good chunk of them are probably not big fans of Valentine's Day. So now there's something for the unattached to get them through February 14th: Anti-Valentines Cards.

Another features a vintage 1970s-era photo of a boy holding a homemade valentine on the front. The caption below it reads, “The next day, little Timmy had his heart broken. Valentine’s Day sucks.”

One simply says, “Valentines Day sucks.”

From WRCB

Okay we've all been in the card aisle, what I like to call the pressure cooker. Do you go with traditional? Romantic? Or funny? So many choices. But this Valentine's Day there is another option.

That's right, the anti Valentine's Day card.

The card says 'they had shared a moment'. And then on the inside, 'a lifetime commitment was completely out of the question. Happy anti-valentine's day for the woman who knows what she doesn't want'.

"I promise you won't be alone forever. I know how much you like cats. Happy Valentine's Day."

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Monday, 29 January 2007

Valentine Cards

From the BBC

Add romance, passion and mystery to your Valentine by sending an e-card in another language. Try these phrases in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Welsh, Gaelic, and Irish.

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Valentine Card History

Saint Valentine's Day or Valentine's Day is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other; sending Valentine's cards, candy or Donations to Charities, often anonymously. It is very common to present flowers on Valentine's Day. The holiday is named after two men, both Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

The day is most closely associated with the mutual exchange of love notes in the form of "valentines". Modern Valentine symbols include the heart-shaped outline and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten notes have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards. The Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. The association estimates that women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

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Muslim Objection to Year of Pig Greeting Cards

From The China Post

"The Imam of the Taipei Grand Mosque complained to Taiwan's foreign minister for sending him a greeting card for the Chinese New Year showing four pigs, a newspaper said yesterday.

After receiving the New Year card, Imam Ma Hsiao-chi pointed out to the Foreign Ministry that the card was offensive to Muslims, the Liberty Times reported. Muslims do not eat pork and regard pigs as unclean animals.

But the ministry defended Foreign Minister Huang Chih-fang's sending out the greeting cards, which were printed because 2007 is the Year of Pig according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

"Sending New Year cards is part of our culture and has nothing to do with religion. Minister Huang sent the cards to people in Taiwan, not to Muslim countries, but we still want to thank Imam Ma for reminding us," the Liberty Times quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Chien-yeh as saying.

The Year of Pig begins on February 18 with the start of the Chinese New Year celebrations, the most important holiday for Chinese all over the world.

Last month, Taiwan's postal monopoly the Chunghwa Post Company Ltd. issued the Year of Pig stamp, but warned Taiwanese not to use the stamps when sending letters and parcels to Muslim countries or Muslim friends.

China has also banned images and mention of pigs in television advertisements aired over the lunar new year to avoid offending the country's Muslims.

China's ban also applies to cartoons and traditional paper-cut images of pigs, and to slogans such as "Golden Pig Brings You Fortune!" and "Wish You a Happy Pig Year!"

The Chinese lunar calendar follows the Chinese zodiac, or horoscope, which has a 12-year cycle. Each year is represented by an animal -- rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

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From China Daily

According to the Chinese edition of the Asia Wall Street Journal, CCTV issued a notice to all advertising agencies on Jan 23 that "China is a multi-ethnic country...in order to show respect to the Muslims, as instructed by the respective government unit, that CCTV will not air any ads containing images of the pig throughout 2007. This measures also applies to ads related to the Chinese New Year."

Images of the pig to be banned includes photographs, cartoons, paper cutting silhouettes, and even "Happy Year of the Pig" slogans.

Many corporations were surprised by the notice as most CNY ads have already been produced. Some just decided to re-do all CNY ads.

Nestle SA has initially prepared a smiling pig cartoon ad to celebrate "Happy Year of the Pig". Spokesperson said they would follow the requirements and change the content accordingly.

Coca Cola has prepared two sets of CNY cartoon ads with leading characters being a panda and a pig respectively. The company said they will still air the pig ad but will not air it in local TV stations where there is a large Muslim population.

Mindshare Shanghai told Deutsche Presse Agentur that the "No-Pigs" requirement was ordered by the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party, which is responsible for ideological propaganda. The agency said the order was made by committee member Li Changchun, quoting fear of conflicts between ethnic groups.

CCTV refused to say from which department was the order being made, saying the notice was an "internal document".

China has about 8.6m Muslims. Ma Yunfu, vice chair of the Islam Society of China said Muslims hate pigs and they would not even mention the word "pig" in their daily life. Ma didn't know about the notice CCTV received, but he believed what the government wanted to do was to "immunize" against any possible troubles.

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Thursday, 25 January 2007

Greeting Card Email Malware Alert

From Security Park

"A major new malicious attack that has been affecting internet users since 2:00 GMT today. New variants of the Dorf family of malware (which had previously spread as breaking news of deaths caused by European storms) are now using disguises associated with love and greeting cards".

"A wide variety of subject lines are being used in the spam campaign, including "You're so Far Away", "I Dream of you", "Dream Date Coupon", "Together You and I", "A Bouquet of Love", "So in Love" and "Cuddle Up". Attached to the emails are files called 'flash postcard.exe' or 'greetingcard.exe'. When opened, the worm attempts to send itself to other email addresses found on the recipient's PC, while also attempting to download further malicious code from the internet, designed to take over the computer and use it to send spam on behalf of hacking gangs".

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Greetings from The White House

"The White House will send greeting cards signed by President Bush to commemorate special events, accomplishments or milestones free of charge to U.S. citizens. To request a greeting card from President Bush, just follow these guidelines from the White House Greetings Office:

ALL GREETING REQUESTS MUST BE SUBMITTED IN WRITING* TO:

The White House
Attn: Greetings Office
Washington, D.C. 20502-0039

(Requests made via email will not be processed.)*

Please review these guidelines carefully before mailing your request to the White House.

U.S. CITIZENS ONLY -- The White House will send greetings to United States citizens only, for special occasions as outlined below...".

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Saturday, 20 January 2007

Origamic Architecture - Pop-up Greeting Cards

Masahiro Chatani.

For more than 20 years, the Tokyo architect Masahiro Chatani, employing origami, the ancient Japanese art of paper-folding - and adding cut-paper and pop-up paper engineering concepts - has been creating works of "origamic architecture."

He is considered the leading practitioner of the art. More than 100 works by Chatani, his colleagues Keiko Nakazawa and Takaaki Kihara, and other artists from around the world are featured for the first time in a major American exhibition.


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Friday, 19 January 2007

Cool Cards Design Competition

Design a Greeting Card Competition.

FREE ENTRY!
WIN 20 Cool Cards Greeting Cards of your choice!
Simply Design a Cool Greeting Card!
Up to 3 entries per entrant! No purchase neccessary!


Competition Rules :

Competition Prize -- 20 Cool Cards Greeting Cards of Your Choice!

Email entries to -- sales@coolcards.co.uk with "Competition Entry" as the Subject.

Competition Theme -- Unrestricted! Let your imagination run wild! Any event, any occasion, any sentiment, any angle!

Brief --

- Design a Greeting Card.

- Maximum size 7" x 5" (17.78cm x 12.7cm - ish).
- Either Landscape or Portrait format.

- All entries must be in JPG image format.
- Maximum size 300kb.

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