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Dash of Inspiration: Sign of the Times

March 4, 2013

A Dash of Inspiration, A Cup of Creativity by Doreen

Sign of the Times

As some of you know, I do a far amount of promoting other artist’s cards on my fan page and various other sites, and in doing so I’ve noticed a couple things I thought worth mentioning.

When you put your copyright on your image front, here are some things to consider:

Never spell out copyright, not only is this unnecessary, it’s adding a lot of text to the front of your card that stands out and is rather unappealing to the consumer … I mention this because there are some of you who do this, in rather large text.  For those who don’t know how to make the © symbol, here’s how:

PC Users:  ALT+0169 (hold the ALT key down, leave it down and type in numeric 0169)

Mac Users: Simply enter Option + G

When you are adding your © to the front of a greeting card image, please consider that though creating greeting cards certainly is an art form, it is not nor is it expected to be by the consumer, a work of art.  Painters and illustrators know how to add a whimsical signature to their artwork and this certainly is expected, however when was the last time you saw an obvious artist’s signature and copyright on a greeting card you purchased from one of the large greeting card publishing companies?  Greeting cards for specific occasions and relations are different than fine art cards, they appeal to a different audience and quite frankly most customers don’t care who created it.

I know … you are adding it to protect your copyright, however you are much better off adding your © statement somewhere more difficult to see and more difficult to remove. From personal experience I had my obnoxious copyright statement on some old cards and I can tell you GCU is including these issues in their weeding efforts. Cards will most likely be returned to you for improvement … so I’m passing on the lesson learned.

When you put a signature on your greeting card fronts, I’m suggesting you take some things into consideration.

Your signature should be very small and hidden within the design whenever possible.  If it sticks out like a sore thumb, you are likely limiting the card’s marketability and sales potential. Find a place where it will blend in and become part of the design. I’ve found there are some designs where it just isn’t possible to have it ‘blend in’, and those are the cases where I either don’t ‘sign’ the card front at all or if it’s an original painting or photograph of mine, I’ll add it to the lower corner fading it into the background.

Many of us start out adding a large proud signature to our card fronts, but on my older works (now being updated) I’ve had customers ask if they could get the card without the large copyright statement, or with it reduced due to it being such an ugly distraction. After all our Image By and store is on the back of the card.  Trust me, those who feel impelled to steal your design, will do so regardless of your precautions.  These people are like con artists, they know how to remove the ©, no matter how big and obnoxious it is.  If you keep your original file that created the card, it has a date of creation and that goes a very long way to protecting you should there ever be a need.  But … this is about marketability.

My other suggestions have to do with how you enter your Image By credits that not only show up under the thumbnail image, but also on the back of the card.

Many of you are not even bothering to use proper capitalization when entering your name or store name. You really should if you want to offer a professional appearance.

Some of you add your store URL rather than your business name and/or own name.  Problem with that is it’s too long, gets truncated under the thumbnail and can mess with the alignment on the back of the card when it prints.  Again, your storefront URL is on the back of the card and the link under each thumbnail takes the customer to your storefront, so there really isn’t any reason to do this.

I know that some of you will yell and scream at this advise, that’s okay. I’m only offering suggestions based on my own customer’s feedback from a few years ago and my own experience when browsing cards for promoting or purchasing … in other words … take it or leave it.  Those who chose to take the advise, may very likely sell more cards at GCU.

Here’s an example of blending the © into the image. Hint: it’s in the tail.

See you next week for more inspiration!  Now get to work on updating those old cards with better © statements!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 4, 2013 10:28 am

    Thank you, Doreen – very interesting and makes sense. I actually don’t worry too much about copyright of my card designs – I would take it as flattery if someone liked them enough to copy them.

    But I think that your point about the date on the file is a really good one. I’ve read a lot about protecting our work on the surface pattern course I’ve been doing and nobody has mentioned that. It seems like an easy way to get some measure of protection without too much distraction on the design itself. Thanks 🙂

    • March 4, 2013 4:21 pm

      You’re welcome Judy! Those of us who create solely using digital cameras and digital processing, have no other tangible proof we created the piece, so it’ becoming a recognizable ‘proof of ownership’ in this digital era.


  2. March 4, 2013 7:24 pm

    As always, your advice and guidance is appreciated. Love the bit about the copyright © … I’ve been using a drop down character viewer … this is much simpler. Again, thanks!!!

    • March 4, 2013 7:30 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Lois! You’re right, I forgot about that option, but it certainly works too!


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