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Nuts and Bolts: New Printing Partner on Board

June 23, 2017

Nuts & Bolts – New Printing Partner on Board

 

GCU is always looking for ways to improve our products and services. High quality, unique greeting cards that are affordable, easy and quick.  Most recently we have been working on an element of the “quick” part of that proposition.

 

Currently GCU has two printing & mailing partners – one in Northern California and one in the UK. In an effort to improve delivery times to the East Coast, GCU is excited to announce a third printing & mailing partner.  After over a year of programming and testing, our East Coast printing partner is ready. This means card orders will get to East Coast destinations faster!  Instead of the 4 – 9 business days from ship date typically coming from the West to the East they will now enjoy a 2 – 4 business days from ship date delivery window.

 

For shoppers who do not plan ahead and prefer not to use the in-store pickup option or pay for expedited shipping, this makes the difference between getting the card in time or not.

 

We have worked closely with the new partner and scrutinized every element forwards and backwards, inside and out. There are a few very minor differences in the final product (packaging, card finish, etc.) of which only GCU staff can probably discriminate. We are confident that they are committed to deliver to the same level of quality and shopper & artist satisfaction as GCU.

 

This is a staged rollout with GCU switching over East Coast states one at a time.  As of 6/23/17 switched over states are:
– Connecticut
– Massachusetts
– New Jersey
– New York
– Pennsylvania
– Rhode Island
 

What do artists need to do?  Nothing!  However, if you are on the East Coast and notice any significant differences worth sharing please let us know!

 

The difference is made in the details!

 

Mindy
GCU Community Manager

 

Wanted New Cards: Summer Job

June 22, 2017

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Wanted Cards – Summer Job

 

GCU has congratulations cards for getting a new job, and even for a first job. As we speak many out of school kids are looking for that perfect summer job.

 

Think of all the typical summer jobs and maybe even reminisce with the memories of your own favorite (or not so favorite) summer job.
Please consider making cards for this new category:

 

Also consider leveraging designs for this related category and >> 1st Job.

 

Read about benefits and tips on leveraging designs

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: Handy Color Charts

June 21, 2017
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Here are some Handy Color Charts I found on the internet this week:

 

 

Traditional Japanese color chart:

 

Blue – Green Color Chart:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nuts and Bolts: Leveraging Designs

June 16, 2017

Nuts & Bolts – Leveraging Designs

 

Artists put so much work into perfecting a special design that it’s a shame (and kind of a waste) if it only gets used on one card submission. GCU allows and even encourages artists to leverage their designs in a few different ways:

 

1. Image Reuse Guidelines 3x – GCU allows artists to use the identical image up to 3 times as long as a) the inside verse is different and b) they reside in different categories. Within this GCU also has allowances for color, orientation and wording variations.

 

Here is a link to a helpful post on Image Reuse Guidelines.

 

2. Like Image Collection – this is more commonly known as a like image series or collection; same image with one difference – usually age, year, name, relationship, occupation, etc.  This is unlimited as long as each card speaks to a different age, year, name, relationship, occupation or other identifier in the cover design.

 

Here is a link to a helpful post on Leveraging Card Designs.

 

3. Add a Twist – with a little creativity and potentially one little change, this can completely change the design to speak to a different occasion and / or audience. This can take a little bit of thinking outside of the box and a little research on other possible fitting categories.

 

Here is a great example by GCU artist Laughing Hippo Studio. With one little change these cards now speak to different occupations / industries.

Re-using designs is a smart way to leverage the talent and time of artists’ creative works. This is good for artists (increased exposure and a breadth & depth of offerings), good for GCU (more offerings) and ultimately good for shoppers (more choices!).

 

TIP: when creating works leveraging an existing design please be sure to leave a Note to Reviewers the pid# of the design it is based on.  This speeds up reviews.  Also, if it’s a like image series / collection be sure to follow the Series Pre-approval Process with the key being to only design the FIRST concept card and wait for approval before designing any follow on designs.

 

The difference is made in the details!

 

Mindy
GCU Community Manager

 

Wanted New Cards: Wedding Congrats for Greats & Grands

June 15, 2017

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Wanted Cards – Wedding Congrats for Greats & Grands

 

The following new subcategories are in need of cards:

 

>> For Great Granddaughter
>> For Great Granddaughter & Husband
>> For Great Grandson
>> For Great Grandson & Wife
>> For Grandniece / Great Niece
>> For Grandniece / Great Niece & Husband
>> For Grandnephew / Great Nephew
>> For Grandnephew / Great Nephew & Wife

 

Remember, if you are creating a card(s) based on a prior approved design be sure to add a note in the Notes to Reviewers something like “this card is for the Wanted Cards post on the blog and is based on prior approved card pid#12345”.

 

 

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!

Custom Corner: Business Logos

June 7, 2017

Custom Corner – Business Logos

 

Branding is very important for businesses. Not only does it help customers and clients identify a company by their brand (recognition) but also differentiates their goods & services from their competitors. Every time a brand is mentioned or seen, represented by a logo, the brand is reinforced in people’s minds.

 

Offering custom products for businesses is important. The more tailored the product is to their line of work or industry and incorporating their logo, the more attractive the product.

 

Popular greeting cards for businesses outside of Christmas, New Year’s and Chinese New Year’s are Thank You for your Business cards, Happy Birthday Cards, and surprisingly, patriotic holiday cards like Memorial Day and Independence Day cards.

 

Here is a recent custom request to incorporate a business logo for GCU artist PamJArts.
Shopper request:
I would like to add our logo to the front of the truck above the windshield or on the door or both

Truckloads of kudos to Pamela on a job well done!  Thank you for delighting the shopper and differentiating GCU from other online card companies.
Here is a related read with some good tips: Nuts & Bolts – Design for Business Logos

 

A few additional tips:
1. be sure to watch your Manage Custom Requests and reply promptly
2. when submitting a variation on an approved card add a Note to Reviewer with the approved card’s product id number (“custom request based on pid#12345”)
3. if you have incorporated the shopper’s logo or company name in the design be sure to submit the card to your Private Gallery

 

 

The difference is made in the details!

 

Mindy
GCU Community Manager

 

Dash of Inspiration: June 2017 Design Challenge

June 2, 2017
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The judging is in-process for last month’s first Big Stock Challenge and hope you had fun with that twist. We plan on having more of those interspersed throughout the year. This month we have a ‘mountain of fun’ planned – where everything goes if you can speak to the theme …

Theme: Mountain(s)

Requirements:

  • Mountain must be clear in your imagery/verse combination. For example: A large pile of incoming or outgoing mail would not be accepted without a matching verse to tie in, such as; “a mountain of mail”. Mountain lions, mountain climbers, mountain bikes, etc. are all acceptable as long as it’s a strong tie verse, occasion, and recipient.  We want you to “make a mountain out of a molehill” by creating something unique and marketable!
  • Blank verse will not be considered for entry in this challenge.

For inspiration and examples to get your creativity flowing look for Public Domain quotes, scripture and of course there are always idioms. Remember GCU will only accept biblical quotes from bibles clearly stated to be in the public domain. Place this information in the Notes to Reviewer. For your assistance: The King James Bible and the World English Bible are both in the public domain but you are not limited to these two versions. You may use other bible versions as long as the url link clearly shows that they are in the public domain.

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Entry Deadline: Friday, June 30th

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How to Enter: Post the PID (card number) and the URL (public storefront link – please WAIT for the card to be available in the public marketplace, please DO NOT post a link to your Manage Cards area) as a post in the challenge blog. We’ll forward your entry to the jury.

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Category:

Any category that is well-suited for mountain themed card.

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Rules:

  • Submission must meet GCU’s Submission Guidelines and be Approved through the usual Review Cycle– Fast Track your submission with this in the Notes to Reviewer: June Design Challenge Submission here is the link to the blog post: (include THIS blog post URL)
  • Only ONE card per artist per challenge.
  • Submissions must be NEW, no existing designs.
  • Your entry must meet the Challenge Requirements and Theme or it will not be included in the challenge.
  • Stock Card Creations entries will not be accepted.
  • Your designs should differ from those already offered in the category of your choice to offer shoppers a variety of choices, not more of the same.

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BLIND Judging: We hope each of you enters every month. Entries are submitted anonymously for judging by the GCU Challenge Jury which means that before and during the challenge, judges do not have any way of knowing what artist is behind each entry. This eliminates any and all concerns with ‘favoritism’. Results will post on the Community Blog. The jury will judge the entries on the following criteria:

  • How well the card meets the Challenge Requirements and Theme.
  • How well the card speaks to the Category the artist chooses for the card submission.
  • Creativity, Execution and Marketability.

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Winners: 1st Place:

  • The winning designer’s card and store will be featured on the GCU Public Blog the blog which customers view and follow.
  • As well as featured on the GCU Public Facebook Page nearly 46,000 followers, now THAT’S exposure!
  • The winning card will be Design of the Day following the announcement of the winners (within 48-hours).

    EXCEPTION: Horizontal (landscape) cards may not be featured as DOD due to GCU Home Page space restrictions. In these cases, GCU will choose a different vertically oriented card from your store to feature as DOD. Thank you for your understanding and apologies for this limitation.

  • The winning card will be added to the Greeting Card Universe Design Challenge Winners Pinterest Board – currently GCU’s Pinterest Page followers: 2K!
  • The winning card, should the artist choose, may be referenced in a new series by the winning artist and he/she may Fast Track all cards in the new series (being sure to give the Challenge URL and winning card PID in your Notes to Reviewer for each card in this series).
  • Winning card will be included in a marketing email to over 100,000 customers!
  • NEW starting this month, GCU will create a Meet the Team board for the winning artist under the Pinterest GCU account where the winning artist will be able to pin and promote her own storefront and all that makes them a unique card designer and one of GCU’s artistic community team member.
  • Winning card will be posted on GCU’s Instagram with 2,000 followers and counting!
  • GCU will create a Meet the Team board for the winning artist under the Pinterest GCU account where the winning artist will be able to pin and promote her own storefront and all that makes them a unique card designer and one of GCU’s artistic community team member.

2nd Place:

  • Your submission will be Design of the Day the following week of announcing the Challenge winners (within 7-days).

    EXCEPTION: Horizontal (landscape) cards may not be featured as DOD due to GCU Home Page space restrictions. In these cases, GCU will choose a different vertically oriented card from your store to feature as DOD. Thank you for your understanding and apologies for this limitation.

  • Your card will be added to the Greeting Card Universe Design Challenge Winners Pinterest Board.
  • Winning card will be included in a marketing email to over 100,000 customers!
  • Winning card will be posted on GCU’s Instagram with 2,000 followers and counting!

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Tips:

Check out these tips, tricks, freebies, and tutorials from our own GCU Community Blog which might be helpful in this month’s Challenge.

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Be inspired to create and learn something new!1478972_3d

Greeting by Doreen Erhardt©

 

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