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Nuts and Bolts: Freshen up a Saturated Category

March 10, 2017

Nuts & Bolts – Freshen up a Saturated Category

GCU strongly encourages artists to create cards for categories in need, those with few to no cards.  We discourage adding new cards to a saturated, or heavily populated category. However that is if your submissions are simply “more of the same”.  No matter how populated a category there is sure to be a style, subject matter or sentiment that has gone uncovered.

So if you intend to submit to a heavily populated category here are a few tips.

1. BEFORE designing, review the current offerings in the category to see what is being offered and more importantly what is NOT being offered.

2. If your idea addresses something fresh and new for the category, go ahead and design and submit it.

3. When you submit, add in your Notes to the Reviewer something like “I did my homework and there are currently no Chinese crested dogs offered in the Chinese New Year category. Please consider this a fresh addition to a populated category”.

4. Wait for the results of the review before creating more submissions based on the original design.

In addition to adding variety to a populated category, another excellent reason to do is to offer fresh designs to repeat shoppers. GCU shoppers tend to be return shoppers. But if they return to the same category year after year and don’t see new choices they may bore and go elsewhere.  So although you may have a top selling card in a category, don’t rest on your laurels and assume it will sell year after year after year. Identify new designs you can add to the same category that appeal to repeat shoppers, especially if they are a fan of your work.

TIP: Pssst, Persian New Year could use some new designs, Feel free to submit for FastTrack review.

 

 

The difference is made in the details!

 

Mindy
GCU Community Manager

 

Wanted New Cards: Personal Trainer

March 9, 2017

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Wanted Cards – Personal Trainer

Props are always in order for the person that pumps you up (mentally and physically), trims you down, and motivates you to sweat it out even when you have nothing left to give. Please consider creating cards to give thanks and credit to Personal Trainers on National Personal Trainer Awareness Day (celebrated January 2).

Holidays >> Occupational Awareness Observation >> National Personal Trainer Awareness Day

Also props due to becoming a Certified Personal Trainer.  Category in need of cards also.

Occasions >> Congratulations >> Becoming a Licensed / Certified >> Personal Trainer

 

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!

Nuts and Bolts: Dedicate yourself to the Details

March 6, 2017

Nuts & Bolts – Dedicate yourself to the Details

 

Dedicate yourself to the details.  Reflect on your card designs, being honest with yourself if you can do better.  Have you found a new font that would serve a design even better?  Have you brushed up on a new editing technique to further improve your photographs?

 

Whatever it is, don’t hesitate to turn a critical eye to your existing designs.  You could make a ho-hum, so-so card a real show stopper!

 

Here is a wonderful example of a subtly updated card by Ramelle Richardson of Eloquence by Ramelle who further refined an already top selling card for Doctors’ Day.  This card received the gift of more legible cover font and a couple of extra birds, making it even better than before!  Just what the doctor ordered, Ramelle!

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Tip: Read these good tips on when to edit an existing card vs creating a new one.

 

The difference is made in the details!

 

Mindy
GCU Community Manager

 

Wanted New Cards: Pet Cancer

March 3, 2017

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Wanted Cards – Pet Cancer

 

Cancer is a horrible diagnosis to receive, especially for a loved one or family member. The battle ahead to fight Cancer, no matter the prognosis, and the treatments are usually a long road. Support, understanding and TLC from family and friends is greatly appreciated, not only for the patient but for the caretakers too.

 

Most pet owners consider their pets as family members. Cancer in a family pet, like a dog, is nearly as common as in humans. For the pet owner, this is a heartbreaking and difficult time. Words of encouragement and understanding can mean so much to acknowledge their emotional and difficult journey.

 

Please consider creating cards for the new Occasion >> categories below:

 

Get Well / Feel Better >> For Cancer Patients >> For Pet >> 
>> General
>> Dog
>> Cat
>> Horse
>> Other

 

Encouragement >> For Family & Friends of Cancer Patient >> For Owner of Pet 
>> General
>> Dog
>> Cat
>>Horse
>> Other

 

Congratulations >> Cancer Survivor / Treatment 
>> 1st / First Chemo >> For Pet
>> Cancer Free / Remission >> For Pet
>> End of Chemo / Last Chemo >> For Pet
>> End of Radiation / Last Radiation >> For Pet
>> Port Removed / Mediport Removed >>For Pet
>> Other

 

When creating cards considering designs that reflect different breeds and colors which will add to the personal nature of the cards. Custom front designs allowing the name of the pet to be personalized on the cover is a nice touch too.

 

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!

Dash of Inspiration: March 2017 Design Challenge

March 1, 2017

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March is rolling in and this California artist hopes it brings more sun than rain and snow! Let’s have some fun with our imagination this month …

Theme: Create Your Own Superhero

Requirements:

  • Imagery should be appropriate for the recipients.Superheroes can be any living being from young to old, from feathers to fur, or from alien to monster – just be creative and unique!
  • CAUTION: Do your diligent research to ensure you are not infringing on any copyright version of a superhero such as; Superman, etc.
  • Your superhero must match the overall message, occasion, and recipient.
  • Blank verse will not be considered for entry in this challenge.

NOTE: Please keep in mind that “super hero” in the design or metadata is not permitted as it is a trademark of Marvel and DC Comics.  However separate by a comma is “super, hero”is accepted.

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Entry Deadline: Friday, March 31st

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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.

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Category:

Any category that is well-suited for your superhero message.

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Rules:

  • Submission must meet GCU’s Submission Guidelines and be Approved through the usual Review Cycle– Fast Track your submission with this in the Notes to Reviewer: March 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.
  • Stock Card Creations entries will not 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.

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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.

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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).

    EXCEPTION: Horizontal (landscape) cards may not be featured as DOD due to GCU Home Page space restrictions. In these cases, GCU will choose a different vertically oriented card from your store to feature as DOD. Thank you for your understanding and apologies for this limitation.

  • The winning card will be added to the Greeting Card Universe Design Challenge Winners Pinterest Board – currently GCU’s Pinterest Page followers: 2K!
  • The winning card, should the artist choose, may be referenced in a new series by the winning artist and he/she may Fast Track all cards in the new series (being sure to give the Challenge URL and winning card PID in your Notes to Reviewer for each card in this series).
  • Winning card will be included in a marketing email to over 100,000 customers!
  • NEW starting this month, 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!
  • 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.

2nd Place:

  • Your submission will be Design of the Day the following week of announcing the Challenge winners (within 7-days).

    EXCEPTION: Horizontal (landscape) cards may not be featured as DOD due to GCU Home Page space restrictions. In these cases, GCU will choose a different vertically oriented card from your store to feature as DOD. Thank you for your understanding and apologies for this limitation.

  • 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!

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Tips:

Check out these tips, tricks, freebies, and tutorials from our own GCU Community Blog which might be helpful in this month’s Challenge.

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Be inspired to create and learn something new!

I am the volunteer ‘artist’ for my local wildlife rehabilitation non-profit organization who after designing their new logo a couple of years ago, they requested I create a superhero mascot for them to gain the attention of a ‘younger’ crowd. So, this is Tri County Wildlife Care’s new mascot “T.C.” – this was my inspiration for this challenge. Though not a card, I hope it offers inspiration to create your own superhero and put it to great use!

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©Doreen Erhardt and Tri County Wildlife Care

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Nuts and Bolts: Best of 2016 Feature Page

February 27, 2017

Nuts & Bolts – Best of 2016 Feature Page

 

In January, GCU proudly announced the Best of 2016 Founders’ Choice Award winners!  See all the winners here on their very own landing page which will soon be linked from the site and shared via social media.

 

 

This was GCU’s second annual “Best of” awards as part of the monthly Design Challenge series.  Be sure to check each month’s challenge as it may be a perfect opportunity for you to submit a design that’s been on your mind, or something totally new getting you outside of your comfort zone or overcoming artist’s block.

 

Design Challenges are run each month and announced on both the GCU community blog and GCU forum.  There are a few days left to enter February’s challenge, see details here.

 

Tip: for a design challenge, and any new card for that matter, take a look at what is currently offered in the category and do a little brainstorming to offer something DIFFERENT not just more of the same. This will help your card stand out from the crowd and offer shoppers more choices, and ultimately sales!

 

The difference is made in the details!
Mindy
GCU Community Manager

Wanted New Cards: Preemie Milestones

February 23, 2017

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Wanted Cards – Preemie Milestones

Babies’ milestones are exciting and well worth celebrating! So many firsts – first steps, first words, first tooth and more. Preemies will have these milestones too, all in good time. But having arrived early on the scene there are many earlier milestones to celebrate, especially for the parents of preemies to whom each milestone is a combination of excitement and relief.

Please consider creating cards for these new categories:
Occasions >> Congratulations >> Baby Preemie Milestones / Firsts

>> Feeding Tube Removed
>> From Incubator to Open Crib
>> Off CPAP
>> Opened Eyes
>> Passed Car Seat Car Test
>> Preemie’s 1st / First Bath
>> Preemie’s 1st / First Cry
>> Preemie’s 1st / First Cuddle
>> Preemie’s 1st / First Feeding
>> Preemie’s 1st / First Outfit
>> Preemie’s 1st / First Pacifier
>> Preemie’s 1st / First Weight Gain
>> Preemie’s Due Date
>> Preemie’s Homecoming
>> Release / Graduate from NICU
>> Weaned off Ventilator
>> Other Preemie Milestones

If you’ve had experience with preemies and their unique milestones, please feel free to suggest additional subcategories.


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!

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