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Dash of Inspiration – Facelifts for Old Cards

May 21, 2012

A Dash of Inspiration, A Cup of Creativity by Doreen

Facelifts for Old Cards
(Note: Doreen is hosting an annual motorcycle event in her area, so this week we bring you a classic Dash of Inspiration from December 12, 2011 – enjoy!)

When I joined GCU in April of 2009, I came with no experience for Greeting Card creation; certainly not the All Occasion type that are big sellers at GCU.  As most artists who’ve spent time in the gallery and art show environments, I sold my work on Fine Art Greeting Cards; those blank cards with the same art which was offered as Open Edition or Limited Edition prints, but had never attempted cards for specific relations and occasions. So my time at GCU has been a huge learning experience.

The cards that I create today are far superior in the quality of design layout and typography to those cards in my first year with GCU.  This does not mean that some of those cards never sold, in fact many did, but that doesn’t mean I don’t cringe when I see them in my store today.  I have always been my worse critic and as I’ve grown in all areas of my art and photography over the years, I often look back at work I once was proud of and am embarrassed to have it sitting next to my current creations.  Knowing that the ‘weeding process’ was in full swing, I began giving my old cards a facelift.

This week, I thought I would share my own redesign efforts to offer examples of what was considered, even if only by me during my own weeding efforts, designs with an unprofessional look along side the same card with it’s new facelift.  Perhaps this will inspire more of you to take another look at cards you created a year or two ago.  You should all see a significant change and improvement in your style of layout, use of text and overall design qualities.   Every time we create a new card we should be learning something new which we can apply to future designs and to these much needed redesigns.

Each of these examples has a link below it which can be clicked on, and you will be taken to a nice large view in Flickr so you can see the difference between old and new.

Image 1:


The reviewers beat me to this series of cards and many of these cards had sold (as is) both at GCU and elsewhere, but  the reviewers were right.  The photograph with the carpet and baby feet was not professional and not appealing.  Since these were returned to me to improve the image, I was able to swap the image out for the whole series with a much more professional looking photograph. While I was at it, improve the text and even the color . . . what was I thinking when I made these?  Surely you will all agree that what the reviewer saw made perfect sense and in returning it to me I was able to redesign the entire series with a much improved design.

Image 2:


This patriotic card series had unprofessional text effects; the unsightly ‘glow’ to get the text lifted off the background I now understand to be a technique which professional designers do not use excessively like I did.  Also the overall tonal values of this card and the denim background are flat and just not appealing.  My redesign of this series improved the saturation, but also used professional techniques for text layout.  The result is a much more professional looking design.

Image 3:


YUCK!  Again, why people are buying these cards is beyond me!  The sepia tone looks for like jaundice and the text is not only TOO BIG as if I’m yelling at the recipient, but once again I used that awful beveling technique which on text is rarely professional looking.  Wedding and anniversary cards either need to be very elegant or fun, anything in between is usually ignored by the consumers.  I now understand that text choice, color combinations and visual harmony are critical to standing strong against the competition for these categories and my redesign reflects what I’ve learned.

Image 4:


Oh, I cringe at this card and yet again it sold many times for male relations most likely because of the wording rather than the image and layout.  This image was from those days (well in the past now) that I played too much with Photoshop filters, in this case Posterization; a filter I never go near anymore unless I’m making a poster for a play or event.  About four years ago I stepped foot into art licensing world for getting my art on products and  learned the lesson about digital manipulation using these types of filters.  Professional agencies, such as Art Licensing & Publishing Companies see this as an immediate red flag that the artist is an amateur.  Unfortunately when I created this card, I didn’t remember that lesson!  The redesign has the imaged changed for a painting I’d done, but I wished to keep the nautical theme because the message was the key for this card and a MUCH improved text choice and layout.

Image 5:


This card series has also been quite popular.  I’ve sold about 250 cards on GCU alone between custom sales and original versions, but when I look at this series, once again I don’t see professional designs, whether they sold or not.  The overall design is cluttered with all the borders and the text on the background.  The typography is also unprofessional, both because of the beveling and because of the layout.  Again I realize that the main selling point of this series is the message, but this series is in-process as I write this with a facelift that softens the design, reduces the clutter and makes for a more elegant card that will stand proudly against the competition.

As I continue to weed my own designs and improve them with all that I’ve learned over the past couple of years, I hope that by offering these examples of my own embarrassments I might help some of you see your own cards with new eyes; or inspire those of you who haven’t found the time yet to dig in and see what treasures you can create with a few tweaks on those old designs!

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Donna Lorello/Sunshine's Creative Endeavors permalink
    May 21, 2012 10:41 am

    I’ve been assessing all that I have in my meager collection and trying to figure out what to do to either update or scrap them altogether. My question is – if I redesign the image, does it need to go through the review process again and I’m REALLY leery (won’t say why here) – especially if I try to update cards that did sell reasonably well for me.

  2. May 21, 2012 10:49 am

    You can change the image on the front of the card without – as far as I know – the card requiring another review. Upload the new card. Go to Manage Store – Images & Cards – Manage Cards, find the old card, and click the Change Image link.


    • Donna Lorello/Sunshine's Creative Endeavors permalink
      May 21, 2012 9:26 pm

      thank you, Corrie. I don’t want to break the rules if there is a proper procedure with such updates – especially if they are drastic ones. To clarify, if the image is scraped completely, it goes through the process again – however if it is changed/updated, even if fairly drastic, then it does not need to go through again. Sorry if I seem dense – lots going on here.

  3. May 21, 2012 2:29 pm

    I love seeing before and after pictures. I fixed several of my cards when the new standards started, but I need to go over them again as I’ve learned more since then. Is it okay to change the orientation from landscape to portrait when you are giving your cards a facelift?

  4. May 21, 2012 3:02 pm

    I don’t see why not, Tracie, if the new design works better.


  5. May 21, 2012 3:47 pm

    Great ideas here, Doreen. I need to update many of my cards.


  6. May 21, 2012 10:15 pm

    Thank you Doreen, beautiful facelifts indeed!
    Since the new standards, I’ve continued to delete the un-fixable, added to artists notes, fixed titles, applied facelifts, replace/placement/colors of fonts, …bla bla bla, but with over 6,000 cards in my store Ive had to come up with a method of where to start?
    So along with *random/category re-vamping *revamping holiday cards a month before that particular holiday. When a card sells…I also take a good look at it and decide how I can make it more appealing so it sells again.
    I’ve learned so much reading posts here and applying what Ive learned, that even tho I spend a lot of time revamping and cutting down on adding newer cards I have still seen a rise in my sales! Woo Hoo!
    So Thank You Doreen, Corrie, and All Who Contribute!
    Janet Lee

  7. May 21, 2012 11:47 pm

    Thanks Doreen, you have made a great point and even though I have reviewed a lot of my cards I know I need to do more. Your re-designs look great. Rosalie Rosie Cards

  8. May 22, 2012 5:01 am

    @Donna: As far as I know, if you’ve improved the design of an old card – it serves the same purpose, fits into the same category, has the same keywords, etc., just the image has been tweaked – then you can simply change the image without requiring re-approval. If your image is wholly new (for example, you had a hippo with a birthday hat and now it’s a photo of your cat), or now serves a different purpose, then it’s a new card and needs to be treated as such.


    • May 24, 2012 8:33 pm

      Correct. And when in doubt or if you want an extra set of eyes submit it as a new card.

  9. May 23, 2012 4:45 pm

    Thank you Doreen, this is really inspiring. I am less scared now, to look at my old designs. 😉 Gerda

  10. May 24, 2012 8:41 pm

    Love, love, love this post for many reasons. I picture is worth a thousand words and we all love a good before & after makeover story! Thank you for sharing, again. Maybe we can coax Doreen into sharing her before image and editing thoughts of this recently revised card:


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