Thursday, 31 December 2009

Recycle your Christmas cards - Woodland Trust

The Woodland Trust Christmas Card Recycling Scheme
They turn cards into trees

Just take your Christmas cards to WHSmith, TK Maxx and Marks & Spencer stores and drop your cards into the special bins in stores during January 2010.

Why take part?
You'll be helping to plant more trees in the UK, creating places for wildlife and people.

Who runs the scheme?
The Woodland Trust, the UK's leading woodland conservation charity.

How it works
They'll recycle your cards and plant trees, with your help they're aiming for 12,000 trees!

Where should they plant the trees? You decide!

Clive Anderson, Comedian and Woodland Trust President

"If everyone recycles just one Christmas card with the Woodland Trust this year enough funds will be generated to plant 15,000 trees. So imagine what the Trust could do if everyone recycled all their cards with it this year."

Jane Horrocks, Actress

"More than 1 billion cards get sent in the UK at Christmas and we want to recycle as many as possible."

Gabby Logan, TV presenter

"Be a good sport this year and go green by recycling your Christmas cards for the Woodland Trust. If we all recycled just one card, the Woodland Trust would be able to plant 15,000 trees! So please don't forget - every card really does count. Just take them along to your nearest WHSmith, Tesco, TK Maxx or Marks & Spencer store throughout January."

Woodland Trust

Thursday, 24 December 2009

New: Bald Guy Cards

Bald Guy Cards

Refreshingly honest, sometimes brutal, always sarcastic, but never the less very caring cards.
Ian Kalman & Sean Farrell of San Francisco, California, a snarky greeting card partnership that lovingly tell it like it is.

Supposedly, the UK has led the world in greeting card design, but the likes of American designers Bald Guy cards and Fomato cards suggest that's not quite the case nowadays..?
Seems to be a huge UK market for crude, in your face, blunt greeting card messages along with sickly sweet traditional sentiment cards. America seems to be hitting the middle ground just lately, and doing it rather well.

We don't like the word 'exclusive' - we're just that way.
But can you buy Bald Guy birthday cards online elesewhere in the UK? No you can't.

7" x 5" - green envelope - not cello wrapped - recycled board

Bald Guy Cards
at Cool Cards

Monday, 21 December 2009

In praise of: Posties

Christmas at the Royal Mail

Another gem from Roy Mayall:

"Christmas is the most important time of the year for the Royal Mail. It is when the company comes into its own.

It’s not only about the volume of traffic, though this is phenomenal. People are receiving ten, fifteen, or twenty times their usual mail. And it’s not just Christmas cards either. Everyone is trying to sell you something. So there are endless catalogues, brochures, special offers, two-for-the-price-of-one deals.

And then, after this, there are the presents. People may not send as many letters as they used to, but they can sit up all night browsing the internet for gift ideas, paying for them by credit card, and getting them sent by post the next day. Most of this comes through the Royal Mail.

There’s something of the Dunkirk spirit in delivery offices at this time of year. It’s a veritable assault of mail, and postal workers are braced for the force of the attack. There are times when we feel like the last troops defending the beaches as a never ending barrage of letters and cards and magazines and parcels is thrown at us. And then, after that, we are like the little ships evacuating the mail through the channel, on our bikes and in our trolleys, safely delivering the post to your homes.

It’s a great feeling. There’s great camaraderie in the office, great spirit, and a huge sense of achievement when it’s all over; after which we get two days off work – Christmas Day and Boxing Day – before we resume our rounds again.

But – as I say – that’s not all there is to it.

There’s something else, something more subtle, but no less substantial.

Because we are not only delivering the mail. We are delivering goodwill. We are delivering keepsakes and remembrances. We are delivering thoughts of our friends. We are delivering Christmas wishes and New Year greetings from across the country and around the globe. We are more than just posties then. We are the thread that weaves through the fabric of society, binding it together.

You see, us posties are being grossly underestimated. You think that all we do is read an address and then stick the letter through the door, but there’s much more to it than that.

These days there’s immense pressure on us. We are carrying more mail than ever, and working at a faster pace. There has been a 30% reduction in staff levels in the last two years and increasing volumes, particularly of parcels. There are more part-time posties and casuals. There are more rounds being done on an ad-hoc basis with no full-time postie being assigned. There’s an ever increasing volume of junk mail being generated by data bases in computers sent to people who moved out years ago, to addresses that no longer exist".

Continue reading Christmas at the Royal Mail by Roy Mayall

Saturday, 19 December 2009

NEW: Fomato cards

New to Cool Cards, a snarky big welcome to: Fomato cards.

A small greeting card company based in Los Angeles, Fomato was formed in 2004 by a group of disgruntled restaurant co-workers.

Emmie Hsu, the disgustingly talented designer of Fomato cards, just doesn't know when to stop when it comes to greeting card design. More often than not she fills the front, both inside pages AND the back page with snarky words and images.

Can you buy Fomato cards online elsewhere in the UK? No you can't.
Can you personalise these cards? No you can't. There isn't room.

12.5cm x 17.5cm - White envelope - not cello wrapped - NOT personalisabubble

Cool Cards
Cool cards: Fomato cards

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

In praise of: Royal Mail

Junk Mail

  • The average home receives over 200 items of unwanted junk mail every year.
  • Over half a million tonnes of junk mail is generated annually in the UK.
  • UK junk mail uses 3.5 million trees each year.
Source: BBC - Junk Mail - Climate Change
  • 17.5 billion pieces of junk mail are produced every year in the UK. This includes both addressed and unaddressed junk mail.
  • To produce all this junk mail 550,000 tonnes of paper and 16.5 billion litres of water are used.
  • 650 pieces of junk mail are posted through the average British letterbox every year.
  • On average 80 pieces of addressed junk mail are sent out to the 583,000 people who die every year in the UK following their death.
Source: Stop Junk Mail

How can you help combat climate change, save over 4kg of CO2 a year, reduce landfill, reduce the need for recycling and help postie at the same time? Here's one very simple way to do it: Sign up to the Mailing Preference Service and opt out of junk mail.

In praise of: Royal Mail

Roy Mayall (Roy Mayall - Royal Mail, geddit?)

Roy Mayall is a postman. 50 something. Lives down south and has been doing his round for "a number of years". Roy has the most fascinating blog detailing his working life and a portrays a wonderful view of life within the Royal Mail.

His book, 'Dear Granny Smith: A letter from your postman', is currently the Radio 4 Book of the Week. "A letter from your postman written by Roy Mayall and delivered by Philip Jackson; a heartfelt musing on the past, present and future role of one of the oldest British institutions, the Postie. Why postmen used to have the best job in the world, and why it's heading towards becoming the worst"

Listen to it here: Radio 4 Book of the Week

Visit the Roy Mayall blog: Going Postal

In praise of: Royal Mail

Night Mail.

December, busy time of year for the Royal Mail. Or rather, a busy time for its employees. Let's spare a thought and give thanks to this invaluable service and its dedicated workforce eh?

Let's start with a bit of nostalgia...

Night Mail.

Night Mail is a 1936 documentary film about a London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) mail train from London to Scotland, produced by the GPO Film Unit. A poem by English poet W. H. Auden was specially written for it, used in the closing few minutes, as was music by Benjamin Britten.

Night Mail Poem - W. H. Auden:

Night Mail - Film:
Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

New: Positive Ageing, Edward Monkton

Positive ageing and gay kittens.

Just in... Just-in, bit of a gay name is Justin, but true all the same... a bit Welsh.

Anyway. Just in...

From Edward Monkton: The Birthday Gayness Test.

We've made mention of Positive Ageing before now, but it seems to be slow progress... Edward seems to suggest why...


Let us all LEARN from the Dignity
and Wisdom of the Old, for their
LIVES have been RICH and varied,
and their KNOWLEDGE is beyond
our normal understanding.

So... start SPEAKING!

Where and how do old people learn how to begin to learn how to speak?

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Design idea: Weird Books

Guess which are real books...

Answer: They all are.

And, at the time of blogging, available to buy from from Abe books - Weird Book Room

Design idea: Nails

How expressive can a nail be? Czech photographer Vlad Artazov shows just how...

Vlad Artazov
also: Design Swan

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Positive Ageing - Active Ageing

Barnet Age Concern - Photography Competition results:

First prize:

"Walking couple by John King, aged 83
This photo, which took first place in the competition, was taken in Biot in the south France, shows Ralph, 74 and Pam, 68, formerly of Parkway, Camden (now resident in Cannes)".

Source and more photos: The Guardian
Cool Cards: Positive ageing

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Design Idea: Double self-portraits


I found these double self-portraits incredibly thought provoking. Images that seem to travel through time...
As a child, what might you ask your future self? As an adult, what would you ask or tell your childhood self? What might we hope to do differently..?

Chino Otsuka inserts modern photos of herself as an adult into photos of herself as a child.

1976 and 2005, Kamakura, Japan:

1985 and 2005, Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China:

1982 and 2005, Paris, France:

I have a chance to meet,
there is so much I want to ask
and so much I want to tell"

Source: Chino Otsuka

Friday, 31 July 2009

Psychology of Happiness

The Science of Happiness

Of course we all know all too well the immense, nay overwhelming, joy and happiness that can result of receiving a surprise greeting card from our loved ones, but what else can bring about an improvement in our mood?

Richard Wiseman aims to find out with his latest research study.
"We have just launched an ambitious new mass participation experiment designed to help cheer up the world! We need as many people as possible to take part, so please join in and feel free to encourage your friends, family and colleagues. It will take less than a minute each day".
More details at

Seems Richard has started a recent Blog too, well worth a gander.

‘Excellent! A triumph of scientifically proven advice over the myths of self-help. Uplifting and long over-due’
Derren Brown

What's this got to do with greeting cards..? Not a lot. The somewhat tenuous link is with 'charity cards'. Richard Wiseman describes the following study: New Research: The baby in the wallet

"What is the best thing to put in your wallet to help increase the chances of it being returned if lost?

To find out, Prof Wiseman bought 240 wallets and filled them with the same set of everyday items, including raffle tickets, discount vouchers, and fake membership cards. Next, one of four photographs was added to four batches of forty wallets. The photographs depicted either a smiling baby, a cute puppy, a happy family, or a contented elderly couple. Another 40 wallets contained a card suggesting that the owner had recently made a contribution to charity, whilst the final batch of forty acted as a control and contained no additional item.

Within a week around half of the wallets were returned and a clear pattern emerged. Of the wallets that made their way back, only a handful were from the control group, or contained the charity card. The results from the wallets containing a photograph of the elderly couple, cute puppy, or happy-looking family were slightly more impressive, with return rates of 28%, 53% and 48% respectively. However, the winning wallets were those with the photograph of the smiling baby, taking poll position with an impressive 88% return rate".

Think back to when you first saw this piece, how did you feel when you saw the photo of the smiling baby?

So, to increase the chances of having your wallet returned, stick a cute baby photo in your wallet!
Me, I've put two dozen photo's in mine in the hope that not only might I get my wallet back, but that someone might stick an extra tenner in as well..!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Uncooked Cards - Interviewed

A lovely, typically off-beat, interview with Nat and Armand of Uncooked Cards

"How did Uncooked Cards begin?
The year was 2004. We were young and giddy and our bodies reeked of cod. We had just squeezed into our big sexy bathing suits to air ourselves out when suddenly the most glorious idea popped into our heads. uncooked cards! we eagerly jammed handfuls of jelly worms down our throats and began creating the most honest, most absurd, most strangest, sweetest line of greeting cards the world would ever know.
Today, uncooked cards can be found in many stores around the world. With over 100 cards in the line, uncooked covers all areas of life- birthday cards, love cards, friendship cards, miss you cards, sorry cards, thank you cards, feel better cards, anniversary cards and of course, funny holiday cards.

Challenges of what you do?
We both have really tiny wrists. Our biceps and forearms are both normal size but both of our arms taper down to the size of number 2 pencil. Having small wrists makes it hard to grip things and hold up objects heavier than a baby hamster. Going into this, we knew our childlike wrists would impede the process and pose many, many challenges along the way. In fact, one of the reasons we decided to start a greeting card company of all things was because greeting cards were one of the few objects we could hold up for longer than five seconds. Still, between all the writing and drawing we do for the cards, our wrists still get very tired throughout the day. We have to soak them every 10 seconds, ice them every 6 seconds and rest them every 4 ½ seconds.

Plans to develop your brand in 2009?
After absolutely no research, we successfully determined Uncooked Cards would be a no brainer along the European countryside and parts of Japan. We carefully hand selected a team of untrained specialists to help us develop a machine that will project our cards onto all blank objects in these regions and charge peoples credit cards if they try to read it. It’s a pyramid scheme without the pyramid.

What makes uncooked cards so different?
They’re 110% recyclable, made entirely of ground up elephant tusks and packaged in a clear sleeve composed of the thin inner lining of reproductively challenged whale uteri. Our specialty inks are derived from the delicate tears of pre pubescent bald eagles that answer to the name 'Victor'
Also, they’re just funny.

Collaboration with MTV?
MTV hired Uncooked to write, illustrate and direct their latest brand image campaign based off our writing and illustration style. It was a great brand campaign and huge success for both MTV and Uncooked. Our frail wrists really hurt after that project.

Anything else?

We like to feel each other up over our shirts while watching the last crucial minutes of Deal or No Deal".

Ninu nina
Buy Online:
Cool Cards

Friday, 10 July 2009

Giles Andreae - Edward Monkton - Purple Ronnie - Interview

"Bottom burps, stinky feet and other poems

Old Etonian, friend of David Cameron, the (very) wealthy man behind the Purple Ronnie franchise ... there are numerous reasons not to like Giles Andreae. But, warns Jon Henley you should never judge a book by its cover...

Let us count the reasons not to like Giles Andreae. He went to Eton, and to Oxford. He shares a bright and airy office in Notting Hill with Richard Curtis. And with Mariella Frostrup. He's a very old, very good friend of David Cameron. And he must be worth (I'm guessing, but I can't be very far wrong) substantially in excess of £5m.

He makes that much money writing ditties such as this: "You're a very special person/And you mean a lot to me/When you're around you make the world/A better place to be." Or this: "I know that it sounds cheesy/But I'm telling you it's true/It's fab to have a Mum/Who is as marvellous as you." Then he illustrates them with stick-figures a five-year-old might be proud of, puts them on a greeting card or into a Little Book, and sells them. So far, he has sold 80m cards, and five million books".

Continue reading: The Guardian
Cool Cards: Edward Monkton Cards

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Chocolate birthday card


"The dream of creating an edible birthday card has finally become a reality for fine art illustrator Joy Cockle of Waddington based CreARTivity.

Joy came up with the concept a year ago and with the help of Longridge based Corper Deli has brought her idea to life and launched a range of fine illustration edible cards called Chocol-ART.

Commenting on the launch of the new range Joy said, “Like so many other people I love eating chocolate and whilst I’ve been illustrating greetings cards over the last few years I often wondered if I could transfer my creations onto chocolate and present it as an edible birthday card.

“I discussed the idea with Simon Edwards from the Corper Deli who completely bought into the idea, purchased the machinery and created a sample…and Chocol-ART was born!”

The chocolate birthday cards are available in milk, plain or white chocolate varieties in three designs, two featuring Joy’s signature Jester and the other a birthday cake design.

Joy continued, “We’re convinced these are the first truly illustrated chocolate birthday cards and initial sales have been very good. I’m currently working on a number of other card designs and would also welcome commissions, which would include an original piece of artwork as well as the birthday card…a real treat for that special birthday.

“The cards are only available at my workshop at Backridge Farm, but I’m currently talking to other gift retailers across Lancashire with a view to making the Chocol-ART range available to all.”

For more information about the Chocol-ART birthday cards, contact Joy on 01200 429337 or visit Joy’s workshop and gallery at Backridge Farm, Twitter Lane, Waddington which is open daily from 10am to 4pm".

Source: Backridge Farm

Friday, 26 June 2009

Good Luck

Police officer, brother start greeting card business

"We share the same brain," he said.

"Cpl. Clarence "Buzz" Cornwell has issued plenty of speeding tickets and traffic citations during his 14 years with the county Police Department.
Margeaux Corby — The Capital County police Cpl. Clarence “Buzz” Cornwell, left, and Douglas Sentz Jr. show off the first products of their new greeting card business, D & B Originals LLC.

The graduation card is currently available at the company’s Web site at
But in recent weeks he's been handing out a different kind of document - greeting cards.

Cornwell, along with his brother, Douglas Sentz Jr., recently announced the start of their boutique greeting card business, D & B Originals LLC. The company's first product, a graduation greeting card, is available for purchase on their Web site at
Cornwell, whose haircut mirrors his nickname, said he hasn't tried to use his experience on the force to create "license and registration, please" or "you're going downtown, pal" cards. "I can come up with some ideas," Cornwell said jokingly. "I only have about six years left. I'm hoping to get my pension and move on to bigger things."

Both Cornwell and his brother said they talked about starting a business for several years and wanted to create a company unique to the county and their talents. "If you can support a company that is local and that is putting the money right back into local sales people, local graphic designers and keeping everything else going, you should buy our card," Sentz said.

The brothers are not the only family members involved in the company. Cornwell's brother-in-law, Joe Gaeta, is the company's graphic designer and his wife, Kelly, will use her artistic ability to help design cards in the future.
"My wife is excellent with drawing and art," Cornwell said. "We want to come up with different ideas for cards, and we might have her come up with the artwork."

The graduation card that is currently available for purchase contains a motivational and forward-thinking message taken from a poem Sentz wrote years ago.
"He's always been a little bit more creative than me, but we've always thought of the big picture," Cornwell said, referring to his brother. "We didn't grow up with a lot of money and we just wanted a better life for ourselves, and we figured this is the best way to do it."

Cornwell will co-own the business in addition to his normal patrol duties and the occasional off-duty hours he spends working security jobs around the county. His brother is a retail manager for a small business in the county and a former freelance writer for local companies.

The brothers are currently in the process of contacting local stores to sell their cards. Sentz said they hope to have about 10 cards on the market by the end of the year, all of which will have original designs and messages not already on the market. "There are a million cards that say 'I love you, Mom' but can we say something that's different? If we can't then we're not going to do it," he said.

Neither Cornwell nor Sentz said they are worried about the potential strain of being brothers as well as business partners. Cornwell said he couldn't remember the last time the two quarreled and Sentz agreed.
"We share the same brain," he said".

Source: Annapolis
The Capital