the greeting card process

I’ve been toying with the idea of hosting classes where people can make their own greeting cards or writing an e-book to guide people through the process of making or writing their own greeting cards. Every time I think about starting I get baffled. Recently I’ve helped two friends make cards for specific occassions (and by helped I pretty much mean I’ve given them free reign over my supplies). Both of those friends have looked at me and asked where do I begin?

I’ve brainstormed a few ideas of how to begin the greeting card process –

  • Find a stamp, sticker, embellishment, or paper that reminds you of the person
  • Choose a color scheme, or the most logical
  • Choose an envelope size

I think all of those work well when you know your supplies well. But what happens when you don’t know the supplies you’re dealing with well? I handed over my scrap paper drawers just to get them thinking and that seemed to work better than talking hypothetically. Working with tangible paper and seeing how the colors go together seems to be the answer. Now how the heck do you write that in an e-book?

Let’s talk through my last card-making project and maybe I’ll be able to figure a bit more of it out. I recently got a request from a friend in Louisiana to make three sets of cards – one birthday, one encouragement, and one sympathy. So the first thing I did was set to work on finding something that inspired me for each one of those sets. Here’s what I ended up with:

Step 1

The stamp was for the sympathy card, it’s one of my favorites because it’s so simple. The stickers were for the birthday card, I’ve loved these stickers and have been waiting for a good chance to use them. The file-folder-like dictionary cards were something I’ve had sitting around for a while and I knew I loved, but I couldn’t figure out what to do with them until I figured out that I could use them for words of encouragement to say you are real, you are sincere, you are thoughtful, you are truthful, etc. (Clearly I had the pack of cards that was R through Z.)

From there I found paper to use as the base of the card and to decorate the card. I knew that I was trying to make cards that were less than 4″ x 5″ so that they fit in the envelopes and the plastic sleeves I bought.

Step 2

My favorite paper that I own is that brown color that looks like a brown paper bag, so I knew I wanted to use that for one of my cards – I decided it complemented the dictionary cards in color. I also decided that I wanted to stick the dictionary cards in a pocket to make it more interactive. The birthday sticker colors lent themselves to an entire coloring scheme, and the stamp could have gone with anything, but I decided that blue was a good color for sympathy (but not in an Eeyore-gray way, that’s why I added a pop of polkadot color).

Once all of the basic cutting and folding was done, this is what I was left with.

Step 3

Once I get to this point, the next step is to take out a pen and ink and to start adding the details. The birthday card didn’t need anything except a Chrystina Noel on the back. The sympathy card needed the stamp part done. I was too nervous to stamp right onto the blue. (Actually, to be honest, I might have stamped directly on the blue once and messed up and then decided to put it on white paper instead.) The encouragement cards needed a lot of hand-writing on them. Oh, and the back of the encouragement cards had a really fun print on it (which I never got a picture of, oops).

Drum roll, please –

Final 1 Final 2 Final 3

So other than the fact that the lighting in my room stinks on rainy/cloudy days, they didn’t come out too shabby, huh? (I made these cards over the course of 3 days, hence the different lighting.)

Maybe I just gave myself the answer to how to make greeting cards. (1) find inspiration, (2) set up the basics, (3) adhere everything together, (4) take out your pen – or something like that. What do you think, would this method work for you?

2014 holiday cards

Hello, everyone!  Happy November!  I hope that all of you who celebrated had a very happy Halloween and that those of you in the northeast didn’t let Saturday’s weather bum you out too much (so blech and cold and rainy, right?).

Can you believe that November is here already?  Can you believe that it’s only 3 weeks until Thanksgiving?  And once we get there, we’re pretty much just rolling straight through until the holidays.  Maybe now’s the right time to buy some holiday cards for your friends and family before things get crazy?  You can take a look at these new holiday cards that just got released in the shop this weekend while you think about it –

Chrystina Noel 2015 Snowflake Card Chrystina Noel Believe Card Chrystina Noel Merry Holiday Card Chrystina Noel Ugly Sweater Card Chrystina Noel You're My Favorite Holiday Card

In other news, I’m thinking about applying to be in a local craft fair, which is approximately the scariest idea I’ve come up with in a long time. Between the logistics of setting up a booth, designing signage, and finding display cases/boxes for all of my products and the nervousness about talking to people in person about my product and blog for an entire day I’m not sure which one makes me more nervous. (Let’s be honest, the first one does, I could talk all day, but I don’t own a table or a car.) I remember hearing recently that the things that scare you the most are the things that you should jump into head first, which is making me think that even if everything fails horribly miserably that the $65 for the booth could be a good learning experience. Do any of you have any experience in a local craft show? I’ll take whatever tips you’ve got.

WITCH HatAlso, I have confirmed that Alison has won WITCH.  Thank you to everybody for playing, and stay tuned for CUPID again in February.

 

6 Hand Lettering Tips for Creating Your Own Greeting Cards

Today’s post is brought to you by my friend Jenn.  Jenn lives in Philly and blogs at not only one, but two blogs – Hello Brio (about productivity, design inspiration, and the creative process) and Jnnfrcyl (about funky cute illustrations and lettering).  Not only that, but she went to a concert with me the first night she met me, so that makes her pretty gosh darn awesome.

I asked her if she would like to do a post about lettering on cards.  I’ve been making cards for a while now, but you’ll find that I don’t write too much on the front of the cards – I look for an embellishment, pretty paper, or sticker to take over the center piece, but hopefully after this tutorial you’ll start to see more lettering happen – because it’s really frickin pretty.  Take it away, Jenn –

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When working on any hand lettering project, it’s important to follow a few basic rules when it comes to laying out your letters and phrases. Whether you’re creating individual cards for friends or designing cards for your online shop, follow these quick typography and layout tips to help you achieve a beautiful end product.

0-card

Work on your layout on scrap paper

If you have a long or complex quote or phrase that you’d like to put on your card, you’ll want to write it out a few times on a separate piece of scrap paper. This will allow you to find aesthetic balance, size your words appropriately, and choose which words will have the most emphasis.

Start by writing it out in plain handwriting, then rearranging it again and again placing emphasis on different words. Keep working on it and develop it further until you have a sketch that you like the best.

1-layout

Make conscious margin decisions

Lettering looks awesome if it has a lot of room to breathe, or if it’s bleeding to the edge of the page. But anywhere too close to the edge and it can look like a mistake or an afterthought. When you’re laying out your phrase or quote, decide if you want the words to stay within a strict boundary or if you’re going to want one or more words to look like they’re falling off the edge of the card.

2-margins

Keep lettering styles to a minimum

In your own artistic repertoire, you may have several lettering styles under your belt. If you have 5, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should use all five. In my experience, a lettering design can translate to a more successful, cohesive design if it’s restricted to one or two distinct styles.

3-lettering-styles

Choose lettering styles that mirror the emotion

So while it’s a good idea to choose lettering styles that are different in style (sans serif, serif, blocky, script, calligraphy, etc), it will work best if your lettering pairs have a similar feel. These choices will work best to capture the mood of the greeting card if they mirror the overall emotion of the card.

This may go without saying, but fun, whimsical lettering works best with cheery messages, and more strict lettering works best with serious messages.

However, there are always ways to use more strict lettering in a fun way, by constraining it to a fun shape or making the letters fit within each other in a new way.

Keep it legible

No matter what, when you’re hand lettering a greeting card or any message, the main goal is still to communicate a message. Keep your lettering legible and work to develop your design within the constraints of typography. Letter forms are flexible, but only to a point. You don’t want your good intent to be skewed by the recipient trying to decipher your beautifully lettered greeting card.

4-legible

Keep the coloring simple

Much like you want to keep the lettering styles to a minimum, you will also want to stay within one color palette. Not sure where to start? Drop your favorite color hex code into this Color Calculator and pull a few recommended colors from there.

5-colors

Bonus tip: Limit yourself and be more creative

A fun exercise is limiting yourself in order to come up with more creative designs. Try using one pen. One lettering style. One color, etc. It’s interesting what you can create with such limitations put on yourself, and often the result can be very elegant.

 

Jenn CoyleJennifer Coyle is a letterer, illustrator, designer and blogger. You can usually find her posting silly hand lettered phrases on Instagram, running, or playing the ukulele. Or, she’s on the hunt for the best burrito in Philadelphia. For more tips, follow her lettering blog.

 

 

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WITCH HatToday’s WITCH number is 17.

quick thank you notes

I admit it, I didn’t make this card, nor is it really a card.  I actually received this card – yay for thoughtful friends.

I let my friend borrow one of my outfits for an evening of Indian dancing fun and when sh returned it there was a beautifully decorated notecard on the top of it.  I love how simple it is, I love that it involves twine, and I love that there are little details on it (like the gold dots) that make it pop.  Oh, I also love that there’s a giftcard for gelato inside of it.  What a cute way to deliver a giftcard, right?  I’m going to have to remember this next time I want to gift somebody a quick thank you.

a quick thank you card a quick thank you card2

What are some ways you’ve received a thank you note that you were excited about?  Was there anything special about it?


WITCH HatToday’s WITCH number is 44.