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Dash of Inspiration: Choosing Categories

December 10, 2012

A Dash of Inspiration, A Cup of Creativity by Doreen

Choosing Categories

I think one of the most difficult areas to master when submitting cards at GCU is Categories; at least it was for me and I still second guess myself from time to time.  The best advice regarding category choices that I received when I began my journey at GCU was from Corrie. She said; “A card can only be categorized by what it is, NOT what it could be”. This is a common mistake we make, stuffing cards into categories because it COULD be a good fit.   Here are some things I’ve learned along the way about working with categories:

Design for the Category

It’s always easier to get a card approved for a given category if you design for the category, rather than make a design and then try to find categories to stuff it into.

Modify Images for Each Category

There is no doubt that sometimes we are inspired to just create rather than design for a specific category.  I’ve found that when this happens, I just create then I go back and use the categories which COULD work for the image as my guideline to make a unique fit for that category.  Add elements unique to the category, change colors and message to suit each category. Here’s an example.  I lost sleep one night with this ‘from the pack’ idea for a Christmas card where I wanted to create an image with a pack of dogs. Once I had created my pack of dogs, I started working with elements and colors to suit each category I felt fit the ‘from the pack’ theme would work.  Here is that series so you have a visual.

Two categories are allowed

BUT not necessary and not always appropriate. For example, this card has two possibilities as a ‘non-personalized’, ‘generic relationship’ card:

Holidays > Christmas Cards > Animals / Pets > Dogs AND Holidays > Christmas Cards > Humor


Holidays > Christmas Cards > General Christmas  AND Collections > Animals / Pets Cards > Dogs

Though this card COULD BE for the Veterinarian, pet sitter or pet groomer – it CAN’T be approved for those categories because it does not speak directly to those people.  Though it COULD BE for the From the Pet category, again, it does not speak to the pet parent directly.

When in Doubt

When you are not sure of a perfect fit for two categories, then do one of two things. Either make two cards, one specifically for each category OR choose the 2nd category you are unsure of and in your Notes to the Reviewer let them know you were not 100% sure of your category choice and you’d appreciate their help.

Blank Cards

Blank cards can not be added to Occasion Categories just because they are a nice image.  There must be something specific and directly related in the art/text on the card front.  If there is not, these cards must go into the Collections categories.

There is a lot of great info out there, so I’m not going to go into more detail.  I just wanted to inspire everyone who is still struggling, and all the newbies a place where we’ve pulled together all the great tips on learning how to categorize your cards.  So go explore and hopefully you’ll have that ‘light bulb’ moment as I did many years ago!

GCU Wiki:  This page has a fair amount of detailed into about card categories. This offers very detailed rules/guidelines you should be frequently reviewing when you have doubts.

GCU University:  There is a great video on Categorization:

Nuts and Bolts: Categories from May, 2011

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 10, 2012 4:15 pm

    Great information, Thank you!

  2. December 10, 2012 9:23 pm

    Thank you Doreen, great info. and adorable cards!

  3. December 11, 2012 7:13 pm

    Really needed this help and the GCU reviewers passed me this link so thanks to you and them xxx

  4. August 6, 2014 6:25 am

    I have a hard time with this also-the information much appreciated! The review team also sent this link my way so thanks all around 🙂

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