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GCU Community Newsletter #19 – October 20, 2011

October 20, 2011

Halloween is getting closer by the day. What special thing do you have planned?

Doreen Erhardt’s Dash of Inspiration – Cup of Creativity gave us wonderful articles on Creative Blocks, and using HTML in Squidoo lenses. Our special Design Spotlight in honor of National Breast Cancer Month continued with Tammy Moody and Sandra Hess. Our Blog Carnival V: THE BIG C ended with a bunch of wonderful blog posts.  Doreen also shared with us a fabulous photography tutorial on Focusing Techniques that ALL photographers will find uber-helpful. And finally, we announced Lightning Round: THE GREAT PUMPKIN – this time, it’s about Halloween, so check out the post to get all the details.

Until next time, don’t forget to pass the love around!



One thing I try to do as a greeting card designer is stay on top of popular trends, as well as popular color schemes. Why? Sometimes I hit the mark, sometimes I don’t – it’s a crap shoot, but I keep plugging away because when it works, when I hit the bulls-eye on a design, that card becomes a regular seller.

Identifying trends in greeting card design is a learning process requiring actively researching and searching for what’s hot. This isn’t something you can do whenever it suits you. If you’re the kind of person who likes to be well organized, set aside at least two days a month to do your research.

Where do you go looking? A site like Pinterest is a good place to start. People “pin” pictures they like, and you get to see them. While you may not see many actual greeting cards, you will see craft projects, cakes, fashion, fabrics – this gives you insight into what colors, graphics, and design trends the “man on the street’ likes to buy.

In addition, cruise by scrapbooking and stamping sites. Stamp companies – both the major players and the smaller, indie, artist run companies – are trendsetters. They have to be. If customers don’t buy their products, they’ll go out of business. Some of them have blogs that run handmade greeting card contests for their readers – it’s a great way to pick up on design trends, and get ideas for your own art. Try Paper Smooches and Embellish Magazine’s blog for a start.

You can also try Stationery Trends magazine (they’re on-line). Look for their Fresh Picks. Granted, they talk about all kinds of products including cards, but you can get an idea about the freshest designs and colors. Seek out other sources, too.

So what are some of the hot design trends for 2011? I’ll let you in on a few:

  • Cupcakes
  • Food in general, though this is still trending
  • Coffee
  • Owls (yes, owls are still popular)
  • Everything French, particularly French themed wedding products
  • Butterflies
  • Bunting
  • Buttons
  • Vintage look – 1930’s and 1940’s
  • Personalized cards in general
  • For kids: monsters and dinosaurs
  • For teens: Cutting edge snarky humor

So now you’re armed with idea, what are you waiting for? Do your research, then get to work designing cards that will, with any luck, sell like hotcakes!



The deadline is approaching!

October 27th ends our current Lightning Round: THE GREAT PUMPKIN. See above for a link to the post with all the details. Basically, we’re talking Halloween, and I suspect all our guys and ghouls will have a fang-tastic time! Enter and you could win a prize worth $25!


The Critique Clinic is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday to all GCU artists seeking peer review, advice and tips. Any artist may submit or leave a critique. All artists are encouraged to check the comment threads – you’ll learn something that may help you with your own marketability. Not sure if your inside verse is funny, makes sense, or is good enough? Not sure if your new design works? We’ll help you with that, too.

There is a GCU artists’ group on Facebook. We encourage you to join, post cards for your fellow artists to admire, share news, and have fun!

The Salon of Art Facebook fan page (by Doreen Erhardt) is a great place to go to find links to all kinds of helpful resources like tutorials, brushes, news about competitions and contests, marketing tips and a lot more. Check it out!

GCU Artist Cindy Johns is keeping a blog archive of the Design of the Day. The link to the Archive is on the right side of the page. Check it out!

DID YOU KNOW you can “like” this newsletter or any post on the GCU Community blog, or include them in your social bookmarks? Or Google +1 them! Just click the title of the post, which takes you to the permanent link page. At the bottom of the page you’ll see buttons for social sites like Facebook, Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc.

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