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Dash of Inspiration – What’s In a Verse

May 29, 2012

A Dash of Inspiration, A Cup of Creativity by Doreen

What’s In a Verse?

Ever wonder why people buy greeting cards, sometimes by the handfuls?  What draws you to a purchase and send a card to someone you care about?  If you can remove your designer’s hat and think purely from the standpoint of a consumer, I think you’ll find that for most specific holidays and occasions. consumers choose a card based on what it says… inside and out.  Let’s face it, why else would customers stand in mobs in the card aisles of department stores opening card after card before making their final choice?

As I browsed a couple of card categories last week in search of that perfect combination of verse and imagery, I was actually surprised to run across so many cards which had the same message on the front and on the inside.  Some artists may feel that since customers can change the inside verse what they write doesn’t matter;  I’d guess that logic to be very wrong.  Though it is true customers can change the inside, I’d surmise that 8 out of 10 customers do not change the verse, but rather buy them because of that message.

Saying Merry Christmas on the front of a card and repeating that same Merry Christmas on the inside, frankly lacks imagination… you are better off leaving the inside blank.  For some, the verse is the most difficult part of card design and in all fairness to you, most greeting card publishing companies license artwork separately and hire writers to add the accompanying verse.  If you have cards with tons of clicks but little sales and you know that the imagery is not the problem, I’m betting that your inner verse either doesn’t match the feel of the imagery, or it doesn’t say enough.

Here are some tips and below are a couple of links which offer further explanation to help you start writing inside verses that can bring you sales!

  • Get inspired – When I’ve done a card design specifically for a holiday or occasion, but can’t quite come up with the right inside message I seek inspiration to get my creative juices flowing.  Say you have created a Father’s Day card…  do an internet search for quotes about fathers.  Don’t just use those quotes in your cards, but do use them for inspiration.  I will often grab a couple that have the feel I’m looking for, paste them into a word-processing document and write something completely different, but inspired by the quotes.
  • Match the feeling and imagery of the card!  Much, if not most of the time your imagery has a theme, evokes feelings which can be drawn into the verse you use on the inside.
  • There are four ‘styles’ of greeting card verse –
    1. TRADITIONAL are those using rhymed, metered verse.  The number of lines is generally divisible by four.
    2. CONTEMPORARY PROSE or sometimes call “conversational prose” are those with a soft, gentle and realistic feeling – verses that would actually be spoken out loud if one could find the words to express them.
    3. HUMOROUS reflect current trends, life’s frustrations and shared experiences written in a cutting edge style or pun-filled voice.
    4. ALTERNATE is those cards which use both contemporary prose and humor.  These are very much influenced by the times and events around the world.
  • As all writers will tell you write what comes out – do not stop to go back and fix spelling or grammar, do not stop until the words stop coming . . . then go back over what you wrote and start refining.  Take out words which are not needed to get the message across and make a Thesaurus your best friend!

Technical Writing Skills : How to Write Greeting Card Verse by Laura Turner

Writing Greeting Card Verse by Pamela S Stevens

If you missed it back in June 2011 here is a Nuts & Bolts article about Inside Verse from Corrie

Inside verse: “Though I have probably driven you crazy on more than one occasion, you have always been supportive of the road I travel! When it comes to Dads, you’re a classic! Happy Father’s Day!”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. naquaiya permalink
    May 29, 2012 2:16 pm

    Great article, much food for thought, Thanks again.

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