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Dash of Inspiration: Designer’s Schedule

January 7, 2013

A Dash of Inspiration, A Cup of Creativity by Doreen

Designer’s Schedule

There’s been a lot of discussion this past week on the lengthy review times at GCU. The Card Review Team offered some great tips on what would make the process quicker on their end, but as professional greeting card designers we should be working to the industry standard when planning our designs. If you’ve ever submitted to greeting card publishing houses, you know they only accept holiday specific designs certain times of year – usually anywhere from six-months to nine-months in advance of the occasion.

As a professional greeting card designer at GCU, you can not only reduce your own stress and frustration by designing well in advance of the holiday, but you need to understand lead-time and take that into consideration when you are planning your designs.  I will be the first to admit it’s difficult to get into the spirit of Christmas in July, but if you wish to call yourself a professional designer … that’s exactly what you have to do.

Kate Harper once said this; “ You know you are a greeting card designer when you draw Easter eggs on Father’s Day.”  That’s how far in advance that published greeting card artists work.

There is nothing wrong with creating Christmas designs while you are in the spirit of the Holiday Season, I do it all the time, but … you have very unrealistic expectations if you are creating them for that season’s market.  Cards approved and in your store less than three-months before the buying season begins should be considered creations which will bring you sales the following year.  Keep in mind the ‘buying season” for Christmas is not December, it’s September through November.  You will certainly sell cards in December, but the season begins as early as August for bulk sales.

In addition to holidays, remember there are occasions that are time-sensitive.  Wedding Season and Graduation Season, though they happen all-year-long, have peak seasons where the majority of the sales will come in.

Peak Wedding Season           in much of the United States anyway, is May through July.  Now add six-months lead-time to that for the bride to plan and make wedding purchases … that means you need to have new seasonal wedding cards / invitations uploaded, approved and in your store by November the previous year.

Peak Graduation Season is May through the end of June.  You need to have your cards / invitations uploaded, approved and in your store by May 1st.  So get your 2013 Graduation designs uploaded by the middle-end of March 2013.

The New Year is all about making changes for a better life, so do yourselves a favor and stop stressing over long review times and start planning ahead.  I’ve created a brief (only a few major holidays) chart you can use to get started.  This shows that your cards for these Holidays should be IN THE REVIEW CYCLE four-months ahead of the actual holiday … and keep in mind that is a MINIMUM time-frame.

Any artist is free to download and print this chart if they wish.

Any artist is free to download and print this chart if they wish.

Now I’m off to make Father’s Day cards … see you next week!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. January 7, 2013 1:06 pm

    Great post, Doreen!

  2. January 7, 2013 10:44 pm

    Thanks Doreen for Holiday uploading dates..It is always a good idea to upload a design months before the Holiday. I sometimes forget you just have to be ahead of everything. It makes so much since. ( Did I use the word since right ?)

    Donna Collins

    • January 7, 2013 11:06 pm

      You’re welcome Donna and yes it does make good sense, since it saves you frustration and gains potential sales.

  3. January 8, 2013 3:05 am

    I’m very grateful to have this. Thanks!

  4. Penny permalink
    January 9, 2013 4:15 am

    Hi, Doreen,

    I wanted to mention that Nurses Day shouldn’t have an apostrophe. (Not that this makes any difference for the purpose of the chart, but just in case someone is following it letter for letter, so to speak.)


    Penny 🙂

  5. January 19, 2013 9:09 pm

    Thank you Doreen! Great Design Schedule. I was able to post the graphic straight to my Microsoft Office OneNote. 🙂

  6. floatinglemons permalink
    January 21, 2013 2:02 pm

    Thank you so much, this is extremely useful! I usually claim that I’m working a year in advance LOL

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