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Dash of Inspiration – September 19, 2011

September 19, 2011

A Dash of Inspiration, A Cup of Creativity by Doreen

Better Designs = More Approvals = More Sales

This past week I was doing some serious browsing through the huge collection of cards at GCU for both the purpose of making some favorites for personal purchases of my own coming up, and for new choices to promote on my many sites.

This browsing effort was a real eye-opener for me into what GCU is talking about with marketability.  The hat I was wearing at the time was very much that of a consumer’s perspective and I was actually surprised by the HUGE amount of cards on the site that give an amateur impression because of the basic design principle flaws.

Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of fantastic cards, but I began to really understand where GCU is coming from when I saw hundreds of the following design mistakes on cards:

  1. Poor compositional layout of elements such as: a) Cards with un-even borders, b) Chaotic placement of elements, and c) Lack of balance.
  2. Excessive use of effects; including excessive beveling on elements, borders, photographs and text.
  3. Poor use of color such as; a) Bright colors surrounding an image where the background color does not coordinate/blend with the image or occasion, b) Color clashing when colors are used together do not present any visual appeal, and c) Chaotic color combinations which may be artistic, but have to direct correlation to the occasion or overall message on the card.
  4.  Illegible text including; a) Excessive beveling, b) Shadow effects, c) Color and colored text on colored background, d) Angle and placement of text, and e) Font choice.

You may wonder why I consider this a topic for my Dash of Inspiration column – here’s why; I want to inspire you to learn how to avoid making these design mistakes and if any of your cards are sitting on the site as current victims of these tragic design errors, I want to inspire you to fix them.

I found some helpful and interesting links to guide you to a better understanding of basic design principles and though in some cases these articles may have been written for designing a website; good design, balance, legibility, color use and above all; Consumer Appeal and Marketability are the same, regardless of the product.

Elements and Principles of Design

Want to know how to design? Learn the Basics

The Modern, No-Nonsense Guide to the Principles of Design

Five Principles for Choosing and Using Typefaces

Bonus Tips:

When designing your greeting cards identify WHO THE AUDIENCE IS!  When creating cards where the recipient is likely to be a senior citizen, cater the design to them.  Same is true if your recipient is likely to be a child. Don’t just use the same design, typography and verse if the category you are designing for has a non-generic audience.

Typography: Designing For Seniors

Typography for Children





17 Comments leave one →
  1. September 19, 2011 10:55 am

    I have such little knowledge of design and have for so long needed to learn more, that your advice has been a godsend, truly. Thank you! I have bookmarked all your links and am going to go through them carefully and hopefully emerge a better designer … I know how important it is to my art as well as the greeting card ‘look’ they end up on. Wonderful article!

  2. September 19, 2011 2:02 pm

    Convenient and succinct! Love how you covered so much useful advice in one accommodating post. Thank you, Doreen! 🙂


  3. September 19, 2011 4:02 pm

    for me…font is definately a mystifying process, some of the reads are fun to read … THANKS

  4. September 19, 2011 6:03 pm

    You are all welcome! Glad to hear some of you find this helpful!

  5. Gail Pepin permalink
    September 19, 2011 6:45 pm

    I totally agree with you, Doreen. The review team needs to do more weeding out. I was afraid to say something before, but I’m glad you brought it up. We do want only the best represented at GCU. If some of the cards they weed out are mine, so be it.

  6. September 20, 2011 6:45 am

    Doreen, Thank you for the wonderful advice and the links. I am still weeding and fixing my own cards as well.

    • September 20, 2011 2:17 pm

      You’re welcome Janet . . . me too. I try and find time each week to get to more of those cards at the back of my creation line and perk up those old cards with better design features. Kind of fun isn’t it? Good Luck!

  7. naquaiya permalink
    September 20, 2011 5:31 pm

    I love this post and your references are superb as is the norm for you. This information is really hard to find in a pinch and I want you to know that you are appreciated for supplying it. Right now, I’m in the middle of building a house and my art business gives me little time. As soon as things lighten up and I have time to design cards, I will put these concepts to practice with your links. Thanks so much, you are a doll!

    • September 20, 2011 5:49 pm

      Thank you Naquaiya! I love to help others and it’s always nice to be appreciated! Good luck on your new home . . . how exciting for you!

  8. Lj Maxx permalink
    September 20, 2011 11:59 pm

    I enjoy reading your very informative and helpful articles posted here and other places you have posted Doreen. I too
    appreciate your time and efforts to provide this useful and super thoughtful give~ Lj maxx

  9. September 22, 2011 7:20 pm

    This is a really helpful post! I need help with color and typography so the links are GREATLY appreciated 🙂 Also, typography for seniors and children . . .of course! Never occurred to me. thanks!

  10. Oma - Caribbean Ink permalink
    September 23, 2011 9:57 am

    You’re doing such a great job encouraging and advising so many artists. Thank you for contributing your time to us Doreen.


  11. September 23, 2011 3:26 pm

    Sharon & Oma, you are both very welcome!

  12. March 29, 2013 5:01 pm

    Please note: It seems the Typography for Children link has been moved to:

    Sorry for the inconvenience.

  13. April 15, 2013 6:17 pm

    Your advice is always helpful, thanks for all the time you give us. Rosie Cards

  14. April 15, 2013 6:18 pm

    Thanks for all the time you give us and all the advice. Rosie Cards

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