Beautiful Greeting Cards Truly Stand Out in Today’s World

They are a counterbalance to digital noise and poor quality

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12/17/2021

Christine Dunne

 

I was recently pretty disappointed to receive my order of holiday cards for friends and family—not once but twice. The print quality of the first batch was poor and grainy (nothing like the proof), while the complementary replacement order was not much better.

 

This got me thinking.

 

High-Quality Greeting Cards Are Something Special

There’s something truly special about receiving a high-quality card in the mail. In an era of non-stop digital communication as well as sub-standard-quality holiday photo cards (I hate to be so negative, but many of the ones we’ve received so far have been blurry and/or pixelated), a beautiful card can truly stand out from the crowd.

 

I have some examples. I’m one of those people that when traveling or going downtown loves stopping at gift or stationary shops to view the cute and unique cards designed by local artists and often printed by small letterpress printers. And I usually make a purchase.

 

Examples of Beautiful Greeting Cards I’ve Purchased Online and In-Store

Here are some cards I recently ordered online from an illustrator I love (Ginny Hsu). I actually ordered the bottom two packs (titled “Gathering” and “Persimmons”), and she threw in the winter scene card on top for free.

 

Cards Featuring Printed Illustrations from Ginny Hsu

 

In my opinion, the quality of these cards is excellent, including a smooth finish that heightens the experience of holding them. The back of the cards only indicates they were printed in the US, while the website states they were printed on FSC credited paper stock.

 

I reached out to Hsu to find out who printed them but, as of the time of this post’s publication, hadn’t heard back. I have a sense they may be digitally printed using inkjet given that her art prints are made this way.

 

Here are two examples of cards I purchased at Mary Ballou Design, a brick-and-mortar shop in downtown Lake Placid, New York. I wish I had saved the others, but they have since been mailed out!

 

Cards Purchased from Mary Ballou Design in Lake Placid, New York

 

Both cards are printed illustrations: The one on the left from Amy Heitman and the one on the right from Jane Newland for Studio Eleven Papers. While the one thing I could find out about Amy Heitsman’s card it is was made in the US, I do know that Jane Newland’s was made in the States and printed locally in Seattle, Washington on premium, FSC-certified and recycled papers.

 

Some other cards lingering in my big box of cards came from Laura Corbiani, an artist in Grand Rapids, Michigan who produces a wide range of custom prints and art, including artful memoirs/books to preserve one’s story or the story of someone they care for. Her “whimsical contemplative drawings” are certainly different than anything I’ve ever seen.

 

Cards Featuring Printed Illustrations from Laura Corbiani

 

Corbiani informed me she uses Minnesota-based White House Custom Colour for all her card printing needs (as well as to print large-scale drawings on metal, acrylic, and archival paper), largely because of their great options for sustainable paper (such as bamboo), top-notch customer service, and competitive prices.

 

I reached out to the company, who said cards are printed on one of 10 digital printing presses—including the HP Indigo 6000, 7000, and 7500. The HP Indigo presses use liquid ink and produce an offset look that feels comparable to photo quality. White House Custom Colour also offers many different paper types to enhance images and allow for different looks/aesthetics.

 

Similar to the other cards discussed in this post, it is a pleasant experience to view Corbiani’s cards and hold them in your hands. The messages inside—“I’m glad we’re friends” and “Thinking of you”—are also sweet and to the point, allowing much room for writing a special note.

 

So, just because I like attractive greeting cards doesn’t mean everyone else is the same. Plus, I am guilty of occasionally buying inexpensive boxes of simple greeting cards from Amazon to affordably thank people in my life.

 

Forecasts Show Some Growth in Greeting Card Digital Print Volume, Depending on Region

When looking at our digital printing forecasts, greeting cards are seeing some growth in print volume in the US (a 2% CAGR during the forecast period); while growth is higher in Western Europe, this is related to that market being smaller. For instance, the US market will still be over 40% larger for digitally printed greeting cards by 2025.

 

Regardless of the forecasts, I wish more people would recognize the benefit of beautiful greeting cards, support local authors and printers, and send nice old-fashioned notes when they have something important to say to someone.

 

For more about our most recent forecast information or survey data exploring the status of greeting cards, please contact your Keypoint Intelligence account representative or send an email to sales@keypointintelligence.com.

 

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