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Nuts and Bolts: The Right Image

April 3, 2014

The Right Image for the Right Greeting Card

You’re an accomplished photographer. You’ve taken the time to not only learn the skills you need to take great photographs, you’ve studied graphics editing techniques. You’ve taken note of how to create great greeting card images and verses. You know that photograph of a tiger you took at the zoo is a modern classic. It ought to sell like hotcakes, but instead it just sits in your store getting clicks, but no sales.

Why? Has the whole world gone blind?

Nope, you’ve just used the right image for the wrong card.

Let me explain. Certain images are timeless, such as beautiful landscapes, flowers, butterflies, waterfalls, rainbows…you know exactly what I’m talking about. As blank notecards, they’ll sell (although in this digital age, at GCU and other PODs you’ll have a LOT of competition). However, if you’re making cards for a purpose, you have to match the photograph to the occasion. Get it right and you’ll create a greeting card that attracts shoppers and prompts them to buy. Get it wrong, and you’ve wasted all that time and effort.

Sometimes it’s a question of appropriateness. Is a picture of your cat yawning appropriate for a sympathy card? Is a picture of a spider’s web with raindrops on it appropriate for a child’s birthday party invitation? Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because you took a beautiful picture, it will sell if you slap it on anything and everything. Sure, you’ll quickly fill up your store with cards, but you won’t be filling up your pockets with cash.

Before you decide on the purpose of the card you want to create, sit down and have a really good think about whether the image is appropriate for the category you want to put it in. Is it the right fit? Does it send the right message? Does it match the sentiment you want to express? What does the photograph say to you? Think like a shopper, not an artist.

Let’s take the spider photograph I mentioned. If you try to sell that as a child’s party invitation, you’ll be wasting your time. What use can you make of it? Here’s where the right verse comes into play.

Using the right verse can turn a dud into a winner. You could make the spider card into an encouragement card, for example, by putting “I know you feel you’re trapped in a web right now…” and on the inside, “…but you know I’m there for you when you need me.”

Do you see how that works? Let’s take another example:  the tiger I first mentioned. Putting “happy birthday” on it is nice, but that doesn’t really do much, does it? How about, “Happy 2nd Birthday, Tiger!” – with front text like that, you could use it for every age up to about 14 or so + a “Happy Birthday, Husband – You’re a Real Tiger!” or even an additional series of cards for male relatives. That’s a lot of potential sales opportunities!

Creating marketable greeting cards (by that I mean, cards that are commercially appealing, that shoppers will actually put down their hard earned money to buy) is about much more than just taking a photo and sticking it on a 5×7 background. Even if you know all the tricks, you still have to give great weight to how best you can use that photo to your advantage.

Don’t think that any decent photograph can be used for any purpose under the sun. It can’t. If you try, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Match the photograph to the occasion and use front text and verse to tie the two together – use the right image for the right card, and you’ll have the perfect package to entice shoppers to buy, buy, buy!

Don’t believe me? Take a look at Doreen Erhardt’s most recent Dash of Inspiration – Cup of Creativity on Monday. The image is absolutely perfect for a retirement card, and the front text she uses ties things up beautifully. Brava! A big winner in my book, and a fine example of right image – right card.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 3, 2014 4:43 pm

    Thank you for using my retirement card as an example Corrie! For those of you inspired by Corrie’s “The Right Image” post, here is another post from August 2012 on the same subject with more examples and tips.


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