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Rainbow Connection: Gorgeous Color Combos II

August 7, 2018


Here are some more gorgeous color combos I found on the internet this week:




Nuts and Bolts: Photoshop Action Tip

August 3, 2018

Nuts & Bolts – Photoshop Action Tip
We are pleased to bring you a guest post by GCU artist Betsy Bush of Dragonfire Graphics and Birthday Cards Cafe:


Good day, fellow GCU artists,
I hope everyone is having a great summer so far! It goes so fast!


I made this Photoshop action to make designing one step faster and thought if it helps me so much, why not share with you! It is an action that with one click adds vertical and horizontal guides at 25%, 50%, and 75% to your design. We all know how tedious it is to add them one at a time. I know, it doesn’t really take that long, but hey, I am all for time-saving! I use it in conjunction with the GCU templates to police my margin allowances



Landscape orientation with guides and template:

Portrait orientation with guides and template:

Just click on the link provided below and it will take you to Dropbox where you can download the zip file:
I hope you find this useful to create balanced compositions and centering graphics and text.
Take care,
P.S. Here is a link to a tutorial on installing and using actions if you aren’t familiar with the process.  I love Aaron Nance’s tutorials at PHLEARN by the way!


The difference is made in the details!


GCU Community Manager

Wanted New Cards: Estranged Family Birthdays

August 2, 2018

wanted new cards head

Wanted Cards – Estranged Family Birthdays
Not all relationships are picture perfect. Life is a journey that follows a road with twists and turns that may result in strained relationships with family members; times of limited or no contact, incommunicado, and belabored relations laden with friction.  A birthday can be a good time to extend the olive branch to an estranged family member. Maybe open a door that’s long been closed, possible reconciliation or just wishes for their special day with no expectations.
Please consider creating cards for Birthdays >> For Family Relationship Specific
>> For Estranged Dad / Father
>> For Estranged Mom / Mother
>> For Estranged Son
>> For Estranged Daughter
>> For Estranged Sister
>> For Estranged Brother
Use care in your messaging and please DO NOT simply write “happy birthday to our estranged son”.  The label does not and should not be so literal but the image and message together should address the nature of the relationship.


We’d like you to create at least one card for these categories using the Stock Cards function (Bigstock) or your own graphic designs.

Remember, when you’re submitting your new card, add a little note about the intended category in your Notes to Reviewers. Be inventive,  be clever, be creative. Go for it!

Freebie Wednesday: I Love London Graphic

August 1, 2018

Freebie Wednesday:

I Love London Graphic by Pretty Graphic Design Inc. is a set of cute set of London Themed elements (including 300 dpi JPEG files, 300 dpi PNG files, 1 EPS vector file). You better hurry because this free deal (brought to you by Creative Fabrica) is only available for another 2,5 days!








All freebies come with a Commercial License.



Dash of Inspiration: Big Stock ONLY Design Challenge August 2018

August 1, 2018


My how time does fly by! It’s August already – yet for savvy designers, it’s the perfect time to be creating holiday greetings to get them picked up by search engines for seasonal shoppers. Here we go …


Theme: Sports Specific


  • ONLY Big Stock cards will be accepted in this challenge.
  • SPORTS is the focus of this challenge and it’s category specific: Holidays > Christmas Cards > Sports Specific
  • Write your own verse, be creative with a message that ties the image you choose, the recipient and the category together  – this will be extremely important in this challenge.
  • The judges will be looking for professional quality text layout, typography placement and font combinations in addition to a unique and captivating message that tells the story of the stock image you choose. Your added value needs to wow the judges!


Entry Deadline: Friday, August 31st


How to Enter: Post the PID (card number) and the URL (public storefront link – please WAIT for the card to be available in the public marketplace, please DO NOT post a link to your Manage Cards area) as a post in the challenge blog. We’ll forward your entry to the jury.

NOTE: Submissions will appear immediately in your Private gallery as they await review.  If approved, the reviewer will move them to the public gallery – they will then become ‘live’ in the marketplace within 24-hours or so just like regular submissions. Be patient and wait.


Holidays > Christmas Cards > Sports Specific

Note: Utilize the Notes to Reviewer field to include any helpful notes to the reviewer AND to indicate your intended category since you cannot select a category during submission.

Tip: Choose and work with an image that you feel a) fits with your vision and b) will meet GCU’s Submission Guidelines and c) is as good as or better than what’s being offered in the category of submission.



  • Submission must meet GCU’s Submission Guidelines and be Approved through the usual Review Cycle. Big Stock creations are automatically identified as Fast Track – please add in the Notes to Reviewer: August Design Challenge Submission here is the link to the blog post: (include THIS blog post URL)
  • Only ONE card per artist per challenge.
  • Submissions must be NEW, no existing designs.
  • Your entry must meet the Challenge Requirements and Theme or it will not be included in the challenge.
  • Big Stock Card Creations ONLY will be accepted.
  • Your designs should differ from those already offered in the categories above to offer shoppers a variety of choices, not more of the same.
  • No BLANK cards will be accepted.


BLIND Judging: We hope each of you enters every month! Entries are submitted anonymously for judging by the GCU Challenge Jury which means that before and during the challenge, judges do not have any way of knowing what artist is behind each entry. This eliminates any and all concerns with ‘favoritism’. Results will post on the Community Blog. The jury will judge the entries on the following criteria:

  • How well the card meets the Challenge Requirements and Theme.
  • How well the card speaks to the Category the artist chooses for the card submission.
  • Creativity, Execution and Marketability. Your overall ‘added value’ determines this.


Winners: 1st Place:

  • The winning designer’s card and store will be featured on the GCU Public Blog – the blog which customers view and follow.
  • As well as featured on the GCU Public Facebook Page – nearly 46,000 followers, now THAT’S exposure!
  • The winning card will be Design of the Day following the announcement of the winners (within 48-hours).
  • The winning card will be added to the Greeting Card Universe Design Challenge Winners Pinterest Board – currently GCU’s Pinterest Page followers: 2K!
  • Winning card will be included in a marketing email to over 100,000 customers!
  • GCU will create a Meet the Team board for the winning artist under the Pinterest GCU account where the winning artist will be able to pin and promote her own storefront and all that makes them a unique card designer and one of GCU’s artistic community team member.
  • Winning card will be posted on GCU’s Instagram with 2,000 followers and counting!

2nd Place:

  • Your submission will be Design of the Day the following week of announcing the Challenge winners (within 7-days).
  • Your card will be added to the Greeting Card Universe Design Challenge Winners Pinterest Board.
  • Winning card will be included in a marketing email to over 100,000 customers!
  • Winning card will be posted on GCU’s Instagram with 2,000 followers and counting!



To make sure your music lover card is found by customers, make sure you include the type music and/or instruments in your meta-tag data.

Visit all the available tips, tricks and guidelines offered on the Big Stock Creation blog page!

Rainbow Connection: Gorgeous Color Combos

July 31, 2018


Here are some gorgeous color combos I found on the internet this week:


Nuts and Bolts: Artist Interview Liz Van Steenburgh

July 27, 2018


Nuts & Bolts – Artist Interview Liz Van Steenburgh
One of the many perks of being a GCU Design Challenge winner is an interview on our Occasionally Thoughtful blog.  These mini-interviews are fun reads and a peek into the makings of the winning card.


Congratulations to Liz of Starstock Greetings on her winning card and fun interview!


Note: Read about the other rewards, in addition to bragging rights, of being a Design Challenge winner.  And July’s Design Challenge, Red, White, and Blue




The difference is made in the details!


GCU Community Manager


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