The marketplace. The shopping centre. The airport. Tiny boutiques. Large retailers. Restaurants. Hotels. Train stations. Even on the Internet.
They’re greeting cards and for every one that includes a caption, a creative writer was needed.
Exciting, isn’t it?Truly, greeting cards are an often overlooked creative writing outlet. That’s a shame, because these diminutive canvases offer huge amounts of innovation possibilities. Best of all, you don’t have to sell your poetry, prose, or sayings to a large greeting card manufacturer to enjoy the process of creating these mini works of art. With a little patience, you can make your own to send out to friends and family members… or perhaps eventually sell via a website or local shops.
However, it’s critical to know that greeting cards aren’t just paper with text and pictures slapped onto them. To really make yours shine with originality, you’ll need to put some thought behind its construction. Here, we’ll look at some considerations for the aspiring greeting card writer.
FormatGreeting cards come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Many are square, most are rectangular, but there are no hard and fast rules. However, if you intended to use them with envelopes, you’ll need to make certain that whatever type of card you develop will fit into a commercially available envelope size; otherwise, you’ll have to create a new envelope to fit your design.
StyleAre you a sentimental person? Or do you lean toward the humorous? For your first “go rounds” developing greeting cards, stick with your preferred tone(s), whatever that may be. But don’t limit yourself in terms of uniqueness. Think of card “angles” that are out of the ordinary – a silly, but sweet, card from the dog to the new baby; a thank you card to your accountant at tax time; an apology card from one young sibling to another for not sharing.
MessageOnce you’ve determined the tone with which you feel most comfortable, it’s time to write some text. If you’re stumped as to what to say to best fit the style of your card, allow yourself the freedom of random word association or free-form writing. Do whatever you need to in order to get your creative juices flowing, and don’t allow convention to get in your way. If you want prose on the outside of the card and a poem on the inside, that’s fine. Mix it up any way that appeals to you.
GraphicsObviously, one of the aspects of greeting cards that first attracts people’s attentions is the graphic associated with the text. If you’re not a visual artist, you may have to look elsewhere to find help in this arena. For instance, does your sister take amazing digital photos? Perhaps she’d be willing to contribute to a greeting card cover. Maybe your son has a Jackson Pollack style of painting that has won a number of awards during his secondary school years. Minimised versions of his works could be the perfect additions to your greeting cards. You can even purchase photos online or in “packages” at office supply shops if you’re stumped for graphics.
CopyrightFinally, don’t forget that even the simplest greeting card needs to be copyrighted. Fortunately, you don’t have to specifically submit to the government for that copyright, as you can do it yourself by adding some text to the back of the card. A simple “copyright Jane Doe 2007” is fine and will protect you. (Don’t forget to add copyright information if the graphics or pictures were developed by another person!)
At this point, you can try to sell your works or just give them away. Regardless of how you use your greeting cards, be assured that the person who opens your works of written art will be touched by the time you took to make each card a personalised experience.