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Critique Clinic – October 19-21, 2012

October 19, 2012

How does it work? For three days a week (Friday-Sunday midnight), I will open the clinic to any artist who wants an honest peer review and critique of a card which gets plenty of clicks but no sales, so something’s probably not quite right, or you’ve got a new design you want to test drive, or you’re unsure about the marketability of a card. Or perhaps you’re a newbie who isn’t sure if a recently submitted card is up to a marketable standard. Anyone is welcome to participate. In fact, I encourage everyone to at least look at the cards in question and read the critique comments – you may learn something. The purpose of the clinic is to help artists improve the commercial appeal and marketability of their cards.


  • ONE card per artist only.
  • Card must be for sale at Greeting Card Universe.
  • We will take an unlimited number of artists, including those who have submitted recently, HOWEVER I reserve the right to close a clinic for the day if the submissions become overwhelming. If the clinic has been closed, and you submit a card, your comment will be deleted.
  • To submit a card for critique, post a link to the card at GCU in the comments section of this clinic post. Allowances will be made if you’ve had a card declined, or made a new design you’d like advice on. Give us the link where we can see the card, such as your private gallery, Flickr, Tinypic, etc.
  • Any artist is free to comment and/or give a critique of a submitted card. HOWEVER, post-and-run comments like “great card” or “you suck” will not be tolerated, nor will abuse. Criticism should be constructive, not destructive. Play nice or you will be banned.
  • I also won’t tolerate temper tantrums if you decide your “artistic integrity” is being stepped on because you asked for a critique, and someone told you the photo you’re using isn’t in focus. If you can’t take honest criticism, don’t submit. Once gets you a warning; twice and you’re banned from submitting in the future.
  • Artists who critique may do so by giving their opinion, posting an example of another card, or pointing the submitter to a video, on-line article, or other helpful suggestion.
  • Don’t forget that artists who are giving you tips and helpful advice are volunteering their time and trouble. Be nice. A link back to their store on your website or blog is appreciated (but not mandatory).
  • You are free not to take any advice offered. There’s no guarantee any card will be a bestseller, so don’t come into the clinic with unrealistic expectations.
  • Rules may change as we go along and we see how things turn out, okay?

So without any further ado, I declare this week’s Critique Clinic open!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Kati Cheldelin permalink
    October 19, 2012 7:51 pm

    Hi everyone,

    I have been working quite some time on my first christmas ball ornaments and need some help. Here are two cards one general and one with custom text.

    I have so many questions but will start with these three:

    1. On the balls – is the highlight too bright? Will it look washed out when printed?

    2. Background on cards – This is a nebula background that I faded out quite a bit. Did not like the plain black background and wanted something that would not be too fussy. Have tried a million different backgrounds (well maybe that’s stretching it a bit, more like 10 but it seems like a million). Wanted something dark so the text would look glittery.

    3. Custom text – I have had a difficult time trying to make the two lines of custom text look right. Have tried using two different text boxes but ending up using one and did not use capitals on the first line. How do you make your custom text work when there is more than one line?

    I’m looking forward to your input and will appreciate all comments, positive or negative.


    • October 20, 2012 6:36 am

      Hi Kati! To answer your questions in order:

      1) I think the highlight is okay. If you’re not sure how a card will print, I suggest ordering one yourself to check.

      2) To be honest, the background’s so subtle with the faint red on black, I don’t know if that will print well. You might do better with just black – there’s an elegance to a red, black and white color scheme for Christmas.

      3) When you use a very formal font like the one you have for Season’s Greetings, then any subsequent text on the card should be in a less formal font, otherwise the eye becomes confused and it looks too fussy. Be careful when choosing the font for your custom text.Speaking of custom text, is it necessary for your custom field to be two lines?


      • Kati Cheldelin permalink
        October 20, 2012 3:08 pm

        Thanks Corrie,

        You are probably right about the background. I changed it to pure black. I’ve been trying to reach out of my box, which is more warm and fuzzy, and shooting for simple elegance here.

        I do love the Chopin font – it feels like beautiful music to me. I tried the Adobe Garamond font available in the custom font collection for the subsequent text but it seems a bit bold. The only reason for two lines is that I like to have the “to my special” or some kind of lead in to the family name. It’s the warm/fuzzy in me. It always needs more space on the card with longer family name like grandmother and grandfather. Will try just the family names.

        The updated card with black background and Garamond font on one line has not changed in the card page yet. Will let you know when it changes or make a new card. Really appreciate your input here.


      • Kati Cheldelin permalink
        October 20, 2012 3:45 pm


        Just noticed that if you click on enlarge front view, the new card shows up.

        I don’t know how to just get a link to enlarged view. Is it possible?

        Thanks again,

      • October 20, 2012 7:51 pm

        Hi Kati … I’d like to offer a couple more bits (love the ornaments and pure black background change). I find the thin red stroke on the Season’s Greetings to look more like an error than intentional. If your goal is a simple elegant design, then I would remove the stroke or at least make it blend into the text rather than stand out. The other suggestion is on your custom text. I find that using the Adobe Garamond Pro size 11 or 12 and using all caps offers a nice combination with the elegant fonts to balance. I would also suggest you align that custom text better with the Season’s Greetings. Either center it under or right-justify it with the larger text.

        Here’s an example of the text technique I mentioned

      • Kati Cheldelin permalink
        October 20, 2012 10:20 pm

        Thank you Doreen,

        I removed the red from Season’s Greetings text and like it better. I tried the Adobie Garamond Pro font caps on one. Think it looks very formal and would work for the one from “Montgomery Family”. But, was wonder what you thought about using Amazone font for the more personal cards. Somehow it’s a bit softer- less formal, although still a script.

        You need to click on the magnify Front on these to see the updates.

        Appreciate your input and time!


      • October 21, 2012 6:32 am

        Not a great idea to mix script fonts – it almost never comes out looking right. The Garamond Pro is a better option, as Doreen suggested.


      • October 21, 2012 3:38 pm

        I like the latest changes Kati … much better without the red stroke around the Seasons Greetings and the Garamond Pro font looks elegant. Great job and I wish you luck with your new series!

      • Kati Cheldelin permalink
        October 21, 2012 6:28 pm

        Thanks so much Corrie and Doreen … I feel much better about the card. Using the custom tool for a series of cards is so great because there is none of that tedious time it takes to upload each and every card. Do wish there was a little more selection of fonts but I suspect that will come in the future.

        I appreciate the time you take out of your busy schedules to share your expertise. Hip Hip Hooray! It’s a great day!


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