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Wanted New Cards: Installation University Office of the President.

March 22, 2018

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Wanted Cards – Installation University Office of the President 


The role of a university President is one of great prestige, visibility and responsibility.  The president has numerous responsibilities likened to a chief executive officer of the university, being the primary liaison between the university and the greater community, and as the public “face” of the institution.


Occasions >> Congratulations >> Installation / Inducted / Induction >> Office of the President / University


Please consider submitting new cards for this category.  Custom front cards may be appealing allowing the shopper to include the name of the institution and / or the name of the president.  Additionally, consider designs that are gender specific (male or female presidents).


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!


Nuts and Bolts: Dedicate Yourself to the Details III

March 16, 2018

Nuts & Bolts – Dedicate Yourself to the Details III
Sometimes the obvious is not so obvious, even after you’ve looked at it for days. Or maybe because you’ve looked at it for days is the exact reason why you do not see the errors or flaws. Especially if you’re working on the umpteenth version of a like image series. A fresh set of eyes, yours or someone else, may spy an obvious misspelling that your brain seems to autocorrect for you.


Here is an excellent example of a typo on a card by GCU artist Stacia Gorge of Good Things by Gorge

Can you spot it?

Ahh, that’s better!  Thank you, Laurie, for the quick edit.  It happens to the best of us!
Here is an interesting read why we don’t catch our own typos. 



The difference is made in the details!


GCU Community Manager

Wanted New Cards: Baby Gender Reveal Party Invitations.

March 15, 2018

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Wanted Cards – Baby Gender Reveal Party Invitations


So many cute themes for a Baby Gender Reveal party.  When the trend came on the scene it was mostly “what will it bee?” themed but now there are so many creative options for moms to be and dads to be to share in the anticipation.

Please consider creating more themed designs for a Baby Gender Reveal Party invitation like …


Lashes or Staches
Guns or Roses
Guns or Glitter
Boots or Bows
Touchdowns or Tutus
Lures or Lace
Cupcake or Stud Muffin
Princess or Prince
Bows or Arrows
Pirate or Mermaid
Wheels or Heels
Witch or Wizard
Rifles or Ruffles
Buck or Doe


… or any other clever & cute combo!


These cards will all go here, at some point GCU may create theme specific subcategories at which time cards will be moved accordingly:
Invitations >> Baby Gender Reveal Party


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!

Rainbow Connection: soft Chalk Paint Colorschemes.

March 13, 2018


Some soft Chalk Paint Colorschemes I found on Pinterest this week:


Nuts and Bolts: Artist Interview Tammy Moody.

March 9, 2018

Nuts & Bolts – Artist Interview Tammy Moody


One of the many perks of being a GCU Design Challenge winner is an interview.  These mini-interviews are fun reads and a peek into the makings of the winning card.

Congratulations to Tammy on her winning card!


Note: Read about the other rewards, in addition to bragging rights, of being a Design Challenge winner.


The difference is made in the details!


GCU Community Manager

Wanted New Cards: Mother’s Day from Heaven

March 8, 2018

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Wanted Cards – Mother’s Day from Heaven
This was requested by a shopper and deserving of an entirely new sub-category of cards.  For moms that have lost a child, Mother’s Day can be a horribly painful reminder of their loss.  However for some grieving moms, no acknowledgement of the day from friends and family can make the day even more unbearable.


Please use great care and sensitivity creating these cards.  The reviewers will be accomodating on verses and not require them to be so literal as long as they speak to the occasion, sentiment and relation accordingly.
Please do some research online about the issues, emotions and desires of bereaved moms on Mother’s Day.  There are many good resources like this article and this one.


Holidays >> Mother’s Day >> Bereaved on Mother’s Day …
>> From Heaven >> General from Heaven
>> From Heaven >> From Baby / Angel Baby
>> From Heaven >> From Daughter
>> From Heaven >> From Son
>> From Heaven >> Other from Heaven 


these related sub-categories are also in need of cards …
>> 1st / First Mother’s Day Bereaved 
>> General Bereaved on Mother’s Day
>> Miscarriage / Stillborn / Angel Baby
>> Mother’s Day without Son
>> Mother’s Day without Daughter
>> Other Bereaved on Mother’s Day


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!

Dash of Inspiration: Typography the “Golden Rules”

March 7, 2018

A Dash of Inspiration, A Cup of Creativity by Doreen

DashInspirationBanner_2015There are some basic rules and important aspects of typography, we’ll refer to them here as the ‘Golden Rules’, which span the written word industries; regardless of whether it’s newspaper, magazine, or greeting cards. As designers working in the written word, it’s important that we are not only familiar with, but become experienced in applying these ‘rules’ to our own greeting card designs.

GCU will not accept cards which are serious offenders of ignoring these basic guidelines, as the result is simply not a professional looking greeting card. Typography is not an ‘after-thought’ that you slap on an image and call it a greeting card. Your text is a critical design element and should look as though it’s addition was well thought out. Follow these ‘Golden Rules’ and not only will your typography have a much better chance at being approved by the GCU Review Team, but you will have significantly improved the marketability of your card.


1- Character Spacing

As designers we can’t shrug our shoulders and say “It’s just the way the font looks” when character spacing is off. Whether it’s between all the letters, only between a letter and a special character like an apostrophe, or it’s only the spacing between words; all of these are critical to achieve professional looking typography, and all of these ‘spacing issues’ are adjustable.

Tracking is about controlling the uniform spacing between all the letters in a piece of text, while kerning refers to the spacing between two specific letters.

Kerning – The definition: The process of adjusting the spacing between individual characters to achieve a pleasing result.

Tracking – The definition: Where kerning adjusts the spacing between two characters, tracking adjusts the letter-spacing uniformly over a range of characters.

Do not worry about making kerning or tracking adjustments until you settle on your font choice for that given design, as each typeface demands its own attention to the adjusting of space between some or all of the characters. Such as the apostrophe in Mother’s Day.


– Sometimes the spacing between characters, may be visually pleasing, BUT the space between words and/or the spacing between letters and special characters need significant improvements.

Adjust kerning in Photoshop (and most Adobe design software) by:

To use a font’s built-in kerning information for selected characters, select Metrics for the Kerning option in the Character panel.

To automatically adjust the spacing between selected characters based on their shapes, select Optical for the Kerning option in the Character panel.

To adjust kerning manually, place an insertion point between two characters, and set the desired value for the Kerning option in the Character panel. (Note that if a range of text is selected, you can’t manually Kern the text. Instead, use tracking.) If you work in a program which does not allow adjustments (all Adobe software and most word processing software allow for kerning), then you must choose a different font which offers more natural spacing between letters.


2- Use Superscript indicators for example:  Fourth = 4th not 4th


3- Connect Script Characters:  Make sure to properly adjust fonts which have extended lines at the end of each letter so that when kerned, the letters connect to flow smoothly from one to the next, tying the word together. When this is ignored, the typography looks almost staccato, and certainly amateurish.


4- Breathing Space:  Allowing ‘breathing space’ for your text within the design is critical to how your overall card will look when printed.

This means leaving a little ‘breathing room’ between the end or beginning of your lines of text and the trim line (yellow safety zone in Print Margin Preview), as well as room to breathe away from the card’s fold line.

This should also be applied to critical elements within the design. Allowing a bit of space between image elements and text not only creates better balance, but can also improve both the legibility of your text and the feel of the message are portraying on the card.


5- Line Spacing: The space between lines of text is also important to the overall look and feel of your typography. Too close and it looks cramped, often becoming illegible. Too far apart – from one line to the next – causes a disconnect and changes the overall feel of your message. Leading is the space between lines of text and is generally measured from baseline to baseline of each sentence. The general rule is to allow a leading that is 2 points above the font’s height. So for example, if you are using a 10pt font then the line space (leading) should be 12pts. This can vary depending on the font – different fonts need different line spacing. For those of you who love math, line spacing should be 120–145% of the point size.


6- Verse Line Breaks: Line breaks in your message, both on the card front text and your inside verse, should break to reflect natural speech patterns. Rarely, does it ever make for a professional sounding greeting card to all the words to auto-wrap inside the card.

For example THIS:
Wishing you a day
that is filled with beauty
and a year
filled with happiness. ——> correct

Wishing you a
day that is filled with
beauty and a
year filled with happiness. ——> incorrect

On card front text, sometimes you may need to recast your phrase (start over) in order to make the text read properly and work well within the design. The example on the far left leaves the viewer hanging on the ‘aaaaaa’ as if we’ve lost our train of thought completely. The middle example breaks as we would speak this phrase, with a short pause before the “a Happy Birthday”. The example on the far right is even better for this design. The message has been recast to change the verbiage and a spot was created for all the text to be housed in the same location which gives the overall card front a balanced and professional look.


7- Choose Recipient-Friendly Fonts: Script (cursive) fonts for example are not appropriate for children under 8-years-old.

Avoid using fonts which are too rough, too ‘shaky hand looking’ in their appearance (such as this example). They are difficult to read and very amateurish – though non-cursive versions are often acceptable on cards for small children.


8- Use Curly Apostrophe/Quotes: Use curly quotes (and apostrophes) which match the font characters better, look professional and are more legible. The straight quotes came from the typewriter days. In digital creation tools of today, you can always get curly quotes.

If you use a program, such as; Photoshop, go to Edit > Preferences > Type > turn Smart Quotes ‘on’ by checking the box. Not all fonts are created to respond to Smart Quotes, but many do. When the font you wish to use does not allow for curly verses straight apostrophe or quotes, then highlight just those characters and change them to a font which does support this improvement. See example above.


So until next week … Learn … Create … Inspire!

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