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Nuts and Bolts: Artist Interview Julia Bryant

June 22, 2018


Nuts & Bolts – Artist Interview Julia Bryant
One of the many perks of being a GCU Design Challenge winner is an interview on our Occasionally Thoughtful blog.  These mini-interviews are fun reads and a peek into the makings of the winning card.


Congratulations to Julia on her winning card and fun interview!
Note: Read about the other rewards, in addition to bragging rights, of being a Design Challenge winner.  And June’s Design Challenge, Music Themed Thank You



The difference is made in the details!


GCU Community Manager



Wanted New Cards: Birthday for Adult Grandchildren

June 21, 2018

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Wanted Cards – Birthday for Adult Grandchildren


When we think of grandchildren, images of adorable, cherub cheeked darlings come to mind.  Unless you have grandchildren of your own who are no longer little ones, maybe they are teens or already grown adults, you may fall victim to this Peter Pan illusion that grandchildren never grow up. Granddaughters and grandsons do grow up and become adult grandchildren requiring more mature designs. The very same can be said for nieces, nephews, cousins, godson, goddaughter, sisters, brothers, etc.


When you are creating cards for a specific relationship be sure to take a moment and consider designing for different age ranges of that relationship.


Currently in need of cards for adult grandsons and granddaughters here:


TIP: all cards for a given relationship typically reside in the same category it is wise to include an age range term in your card meta-data.  This will help searching shoppers narrow down their choices. For example: infant, baby, kids, youth, teen, tween, adult, as appropriate to your design. See this related post Fortifying Meta-data – Age Range


We’d like you to create at least one card for these categories using the Stock Cards function (Bigstock) or your own graphic designs.

Remember, when you’re submitting your new card, add a little note about the intended category in your Notes to Reviewers. Be inventive,  be clever, be creative. Go for it!

Freebie Wednesday: Birthday Monsters Graphic

June 20, 2018

Freebie Wednesday:


Prettygrafic Design Inc has some very cute Birthday Monsters for you for free but you have to hurry because the deal is only for 3 more days!


What you will receive:

– Graphic elements
– 1 EPS vector file
– Each graphic saved separately in 6?x6? 300 dpi, PNG files (transparent background)
– Each graphic saved separately in 6?x6? 300 dpi, JPEG files (white background)



All freebies come with a Commercial License.



Rainbow Connection: Inspirational Palettes

June 19, 2018


Here are some Inspirational Color Palettes I found on the internet this week:


Nuts and Bolts: Custom Card Requests: Tips to Seal the Deal.

June 15, 2018

NUTS & BOLTS – Custom Card Requests: Tips to Seal the Deal

We are pleased to bring you a guest post by GCU artists Jay and Susan of Shoaff Ballanger Studios:

Wishing a Happy June to all of the fabulous GCU artists out there in greeting card land. We are always surprised and always enjoy receiving custom requests and look forward to customizing cards for our customers’ specific needs.  Your customer has taken the time to find your card, select it, and contact you for customization. Feel proud of that fact! We wanted to share some tips and tricks, which have helped us seal the deal and increase sales.

After you have received a custom request email from GCU, try to respond to your custom requestor as quickly as possible. Communication needs to occur within the Custom Card Requests section on GCU. Also make sure to check the Custom Card Request section when you are signed into your account every so often. To find it sign in to your account, click on Manage Store > Images & Cards > Manage Custom Requests. On occasion some artists have experienced a delay or non-delivery of a Custom Request email, but in our experience this has not occurred.

Keep copies of original files with layers so you can customize your cards easily. Don’t forget you can also download images of your cards from GCU. Helpful if you need to just change the color of something or add an element requested by the shopper. Perhaps if you have a blank card with that image on GCU you can download and add text or elements requested by the shopper.  Also, check and make sure you don’t already have the card requested in your line. This has happened to us a couple of times so we just sent the customer the link to the card, which was already in our gallery.

Creating variations for a custom request card has also been beneficial to our sales and customer support.  We received a Custom Request email from GCU from a customer who stated she wanted to purchase 20 copies of a custom created Thank You in Japanese card. Here is an example the Thank You greeting card written in Japanese the customer wished to change.

The customer requested the text to be in Japanese and vertical on the card. We created two variations of the card. The original image was vertical but the customer ended up purchasing the horizontal version we had created.


We thought the customer might like it and it was a simple fix. We contacted the customer and sent links to both of the cards (which we placed in our Private Gallery for quick access) to the customer. Note from GCU: for customer requested cards you can submit via FastTrack, Private or Private-Waive Review. For FastTrack and Private be sure to add a Note to Reviewer about why you need an expedient review (customer request) and if the design is based on a previously approved card list that card’s pid#. If you choose Private-Waive Review, be sure to double check your work as you will be responsible for returned cards due to artist error.

Within your Manage Custom Card Requests section on GCU send a link to the card by copying the text link after selecting the Sell this Card $ icon. This can be found under the card you have created for your shopper in your Private Gallery or when it’s live in the GCU marketplace.

If your custom request shopper is a new customer to GCU, you can earn an extra $.50 for each card sold through this link, which also includes any other cards the new customer might purchase along with the custom requested card you have designed. Another hint is to also mention to your custom requestor any GCU sales or promotions currently taking place. This has often yielded quicker and more sales for us.  Seal the deal!

Don’t worry if your custom request card is not purchased right away. We have had many instances where the card was not purchased immediately and sometimes not until a couple of weeks later.  Wait a couple of days and if you haven’t seen any card clicks/activity on the custom card, then send a reminder email. Here are a couple of links to previous posts about Custom Card Requests.  Check out this original post by Corrie on handling customer requests.

Happy sales to all!

Jay and Susan

Shoaff Ballanger Studios


The difference is made in the details!


GCU Community Manager

Wanted New Cards: Veganniversary / Going Vegan

June 14, 2018

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Wanted Cards – Veganniversary / Going Vegan

Health minded eating trends are on the rise! Low carb, no carb, high protein, gluten free, paleo … you name it. One eating practice that has been popular for a long time is following a vegan, animal product free, diet and lifestyle.

Following any eating plan, diet or change in lifestyle takes daily dedication and mindfulness. Hitting an annual landmark is worth celebrating!

Please consider creating cards for the following new category:
Occasions >> Anniversary – Veganniversary / Going Vegan


We’d like you to create at least one card for these categories using the Stock Cards function (Bigstock) or your own graphic designs.

Remember, when you’re submitting your new card, add a little note about the intended category in your Notes to Reviewers. Be inventive,  be clever, be creative. Go for it!

Freebie Wednesday: Slashback Font

June 13, 2018

Freebie Wednesday:


Slashback Font by Arterfak Projects is a cool brush font, ideal for use in a wide range of relaxed and casual project types. This font comes complete with swashes so you can create hand-lettered looking projects for use in both digital and print applications. Slashback Font is only free for a limited time (just 5 days!)



All freebies come with a Commercial License.



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