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10 ways to bring your greeting cards to life!

As a designer finding inspiration is important and being creative can sometimes be challenging. As a greeting cards designer you can challenge yourself to be creative by exploring different ways of approaching the same subject like for example searching for images that inspire your work that use different artistic mediums such as low key photography, detailed illustrations and acrylic paintings that all reflect the same topic. This helps to inspire you and opens your mind to see the same image or photograph being manipulated in different ways.

To design a greeting card you first need to understand the target audience that you are focusing on, for example middle aged working class men and women or young bright teenagers. You also need to reflect the time of year that you’re in, if it’s Christmas you will design Christmas cards, if it’s your mothers anniversary you will design an anniversary card.

Here are ten ways you can enhance your design for your own greeting card:

Be super creative

You can be creative by uplifting yourself in different ways. Make your greeting card attractive by adding a memorable element that is unique and original. It may even reflect a part of yourself that you have recently discovered like a flower that you like or a gift that you enjoyed receiving. Listening to different types of music can help you to stay creative and be positive. Give your greeting card some variety as well.

Search for inspiration

Look for different ways of inspiring yourself by talking to someone about your unfinished design or sketched idea and making use of their opinion or feedback. Sketch out a series of elements, objects or people that inspire you. Brainstorm different ideas by making a mind map of all the things that reflect you or your target audience. Create a mood board and copy, cut and paste images into a collage to reflect a particular mood that you would like to convey or a certain colour that reflects that mood.

Focus on your target audience

Make sure you target the right audience. First you need to know who your target audience is. Try and reflect your target audience by being creative with your illustration and experiment with your design based on who your target audience is. Establish a connection by understanding your target audience and how they will respond once they view your greeting card and comprehend the relationship between yourself – the designer and your audience – the viewers.

Keep it simple

It is always a pleasure to view a greeting card that is eye-catching, design friendly, captures your attention and suits your personal need to celebrate a special occasion. Try to keep your greeting card design simple and straight forward. Don’t over exaggerate or complicate a design too much by adding too much colour or too many images that don’t relate to each other. Remember the principles of design such as unity, contrast, proximity, repetition, alignment, colour, shape, form and line. Make sure you combine these elements of design to create a design that fits well and is memorable. Simple query designs can be fun and interesting as well. Simple designs are always the best!

Understand the subject

Make sure you choose the right subject and focal point for your design. Experiment with different focal points and position them in different places around the canvas to see how they turn out. Research about the subject and look up other inspirational illustrators and artists that use the same subject in their paintings and illustrations. Use the rule of thirds and make sure the subject is positioned in the right way with a symmetrical structure for the overall image.

Be colour co-ordinated

When choosing colours make sure you balance the colours according to the colour wheel. Also different combinations of primary and secondary colours portray different moods. A light turquoise colour can portray a calm, sad mood or a vibrant crimson red can generate a bright, joyful mood for a Christmas greeting card. Also another good idea is to choose your main colour and focus the illustration on that colour. Complimentary colours are colours that are opposite on the colour wheel like purple and orange. They can complement each other and portray a pleasing mood.

Let your design reflect character

Reflect character in your greeting card design by identifying key design elements and strategies.

Enhance the detail

Make sure your greeting card design is packed with loads of detail. Enhance the detail of your design by adding intricate shapes and thin lines to your illustrations. Use an array of different colours that fit into the shape and outline of the illustration.

Choose your own original style

Develop your own style and try out new illustrative techniques and mediums such as watercolour, pastels, oil, acrylic, Chinese ink, charcoal and gouache. Photoshop CS5 is also great software and a useful tool to use in order to develop your own design.

Challenge yourself and don’t limit your abilities

Experiment with the background and the subject. Challenge yourself a bit and try out new backgrounds and experiment with your focal point and subject.

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