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Industry Design Trends for 2018

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We’re always on the lookout for what is trending in the design world and across the card industry. There are lots of crossovers from homewares and stationery trends, and when it comes to cards sometimes it’s more of a subtle feel or accent rather than a specific use of a design trend.

We’ve rounded up the trends which are taking hold this year so you can use this for inspo in your new designs. Bear in mind that the best way to use trends is to make them your own, so this will only help with elements of your designs, and tapping into a trend alone won’t make a bestseller!

Remember also that it’s best to focus on trends which fit into your brand aesthetic – don’t experiment with a trend which doesn’t suit your style just for the sake of it, especially if your designs already sell well.

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Cosmological

Space-age, astronomical touches, from moon-like textures to starry skies. Get starry eyed!

See the Pinterest board here.

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Botanical brilliance

Botanical prints, with a luxe edge.

See the Pinterest board here.

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Travel opulence

Another luxe trend, evoking exotic travels. Decorative touches, and deep greens and reds with flashes of exotic brights.

See the Pinterest board here.

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Colour pops

Mixing colours which accent each other, from pastels to saturated hues. Get that ‘pop’ and catch people’s attention.

See the Pinterest board here.

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Monochrome

Black and white doesn’t have to be boring: patterns and accents are where it’s at. Mix with metallics or touches of grey to give a modern feel.

See the Pinterest board here.

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Pantone Purple

Pantone’s colour of the year is Ultra Violet. Find out how to incorporate it into your designs with their handy selection of colour palettes based around this year’s of-the-moment colour.

See the Pinterest board here.

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Clashing patterns

Often with a folky feel, contrasting patterns are set alongside each other to give a bold feel. Textile finishes and techniques play into this trend too, from Shibori to florals.

See the Pinterest board here.

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Wanderlust

Think globes and maps, with a retro feel. Positive, sun-seeking, holiday-esque vibes also play into this trend to give it a more modern feel.

See the Pinterest board here.

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Geometrics

Still on trend for 2018, geometric patterns and shapes are an easy trend to play into, and work particularly well with the colour pop trend.

See the Pinterest board here.

Want more? Check out this video from Top Drawer which focusses on trends in the world of paper goods, and how (and when) to incorporate them into your work.

 

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Mother’s Day Sharing Images 2018

We’ve got some more images to help you promote your thortful cards!

Just use the design programme of your choice to slot your card designs into the blank spaces. Add a caption, then link to your profile or the card itself, and share away!

Right-click or Ctrl + click and save:

Mother's Day Sharing Image 1

Mother's Day Sharing Image 2

Mother's Day Sharing Image 3

Happy Sharing!

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Valentine’s Sharing Images 2018

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It’s that time again! Get sharing your thortful cards with your followers in order to drive those Valentine’s purchases. Simply download some of our handy sharing images and pop your card design into the blank space.

Remember to add a catchy caption to the image, then link to your profile or the card itself, and share away!

Right-click or Ctrl + click and save:

Valentines Day 2018 Landscape 1

Valentines Day 2018 Landscape 2

Valentines Day 2018 Portrait 1

Valentines Day 2018 Portrait 2

Valentines Day 2018 portrait 3

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How to get the best out of thortful: limits and removing designs

Update or delete

A lot of you have been reviewing your collections and removing designs recently, but I know that the limits can be a little confusing and creators tend to think that thortful works just like other platforms such as Etsy. However, the way you upload to thortful needs to be treated a little differently if you want to optimise your account!

I’ve laid out a few golden rules for making sure you’re being smart with your design slots and optimising your account to get the best result for you and your sales!

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Golden rule number 1:

Upload a variety of designs for different occasions when starting out.

When you’re first starting out, don’t upload 10 designs for one single card-sending occasion! Even if there is a big occasion coming up, there’s no need to dedicate more than 2-3 slots to this occasion; stick to uploading for general, everyday occasions for the rest, with one or two extras for Birthday. This way, you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket, and you’ll be able to kick-start your sales and then get some more slots, rather than having to remove them all and start again!

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Golden rule number 2:

Don’t remove designs if they sell well for you, or if you plan to sell them on thortful in future!

By removing a design, you are also removing all of its sales data. This means that if you re-upload, your card will have lost its place in the algorithm, and will be treated as a new design. What might be a bestseller originally, when removed and then re-uploaded, becomes just another card, and will have to slowly build up its sales again in order to become popular. Re-uploading also means that the team have to go through the whole process of moderating the design all over again, and as this is done on an individual basis, we cannot guarantee that it will be moderated exactly the same as the original! 

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Golden rule number 3:

Non-sellers are ok to remove (as long as you no longer want to sell them on thortful – even in the future!).

If a design has been on thortful for 3-6 months and hasn’t made any sales, then it probably isn’t right for the platform. As long as you don’t want to sell it again on thortful at a later date, it’s totally fine to remove non-sellers and replace with designs which will hopefully be more popular for you! Make sure to take note of which designs sell and which don’t, and use this information to inform your next uploads: how can you adapt a bestselling design for another occasion, or upload a different design with a similar theme/design to your bestsellers? Equally, if a design has not proved popular then remember not to upload anything too similar as it will be very unlikely to sell!

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Golden rule number 4:

Understand the how design limits work on thortful.

Did you know that your account has two different upload limits? Our Creator FAQ’s give a full breakdown of how the limits work on thortful, so please give them a thorough read to ensure you’re up to speed. We have these in place because every single image that is uploaded to thortful has to be stored on our servers, so we don’t want to overload them with designs which have been uploaded multiple times! Remember not to remove designs if you want to make changes. Instead, make use of the Update button if you’re looking to make tweaks to the artwork of your design – this means that it will not need to go through the moderation process again, and won’t add on to your overall limit. If you need to add or change tags on a design, then instead of removing and re-uploading, please drop us an email and we can sort this for you.

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How to use thortful to promote other projects

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Michelle Hird has brought us greeting card designs for over 18 months now with her HELLO LGBT brand. However, over the past year she has been working hard to introduce Binx the Jinx into the world. Binx the Jinx is a new children’s book, written and illustrated by Michelle Hird, and released in August; it’s core message is one of love and respect for others. To promote her book further she has illustrated a collection of Christmas themed greeting cards to share on thortful.

Why using your card designs to promote other projects is a good idea?

After all the fuss of promoting my book once it was released and things died down, I wanted to keep the same spirit I had when it was all so fresh. Binx the Jinx is one of my biggest accomplishments and inspires me everyday. Using the character Binx throughout my artwork keeps me motivated and encourages me to keep things alive. I love finding new and different ways of expressing my character and using Binx for my new Cat Christmas Card Collection is a great outlet for that.

More Christmas cards are sent each year than every other holiday combined, so it made sense to me to use this as the perfect opportunity to promote my book, gain exposure for my character and (through thortful!) earn some extra pocket money in the process! The fact that my main character is a cat is another bonus; according to the Telegraph, ‘we are obsessed, sharing more than 3.8 million cat pictures and videos every day. That is more than twice the number of selfies – 1.4 million.*’ Although my audience may be quite specific – there is clearly a huge market out there.

How fellow creatives can do this

According to a feature from Writers And Artists; the UK population spends more than £1.3 billion a year on greeting cards** – so we already know there is a massive market to sell our cards, to people with all kinds of different design preferences. Do your research, take a look what already exists, what is trending and what works. What kind of cards do you buy for others or do your family/friends buy? As a starting point; I spend an hour or two scrolling through the online card shops (thortful included!) or going out into independent art shops for my own market research. Using this method helps my idea process and helps me determine what designs will be strong enough to sell. However, I do think it is important when creating new cards for thortful, to use whatever subject you are instinctively drawn to. Whether that be humour, beautiful fonts, cute animals, photography – this will automatically make you excited to start inventing new ideas. Once you understand who your target audience is and have found your niche – you are one step closer to creating, strong, sellable cards!

Why it can be effective

Since August, Binx the Jinx is now recognisable to my friends and family, my social media outlets, bookstores where I have given readings and he has also been advertised across posters on London’s Baker Street. I am slowly starting to gain an audience for Binx, which is another strong selling factor and so it makes commercial sense to expose him through such a popular holiday. 

Like me, once you get your burning ambition for your new collection, there will be no stoping you! Naturally you will be thinking of what your character/characters can be doing next. The same goes for typography, or any other art form you chose –  ask yourself, what story will you tell next?

How useful thortful is in this process

thortful have been incredible at listening to my ideas, and even though they can be quite vague, they have helped me find solutions. I have only had my Cat Christmas Card Collection up for 24 hours and I have sold 10+ cards already!

Through the help of my publishers, who have constructed a social media marketing plan to target their own/mine and thortful’s social media audience at key times, using the promotional imagery I have supplied to them. I try to get involved in the promotion process as much as possible by liking, sharing posts that are made and interacting with people who start up a conversation. Capturing my existing audience whom have already purchased the book and hoping to buy greeting cards to match or simply to support me as an artist. Through the use of social media and features such as this, I am hoping to gain new cat loving customers. 

I hope this helps inspire you if you’re either procrastinating or in a bit of a creative slump! Having done your market research, believing in yourself and your ideas will certainly help you build the strongest, most cohesive, sellable line you can. 

Merry Christmas,

Michelle

Sources:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/pets/essentials/why-cool-cats-rule-the-internet

**https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/artists/advice/179/preparing-your-portfolio/identifying-your-audience/the-greeting-card-industry

Christmas Card Sharing Images

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Sharing can help you to boost your sales, especially around one of the biggest card-buying seasons of the year! We’ve created some Christmas-themed images to help you let your followers know that your cards are available on thortful. Simply use the programme of your choice to slot your own designs into the blank space, and share away 🙂

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Just right-click or cmd + click to save, and remember to link through to your profile or the card itself when you share!

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Christmas Card Gift sharing images

New advent asset

 

Share your designs and let your followers know that they can now send some snazzy Christmas socks or a beautifully crafted Advent calendar along with your cards! Simply use the programme of your choice to slot your own designs into the blank space, and share 🙂

Why not use one of our captions to make it EVEN easier to share?

My @thortful cards are now available to send with an amazing choccy gift! Get them here > [Link]

Need a pressie AND a card? The folks over @thortful have got you sorted with my designs now available as Christmas Sock Cards.

A card and a gift in one: Advent Cards are new @thortful. 

Be top of the Good List this Christmas and stand out from the crowd with my cheeky design, now available from @thortful as a Sock Card!

Just right-click or cmd + click to save, and remember to link through to your profile or the card itself when you share!

 

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Xmas socks 2017-1

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Your guide to making Christmas a thortful success!

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With the Christmas season already upon us, make sure you’re promoting your thortful cards in order to make the most of the seasonal sales. We’ve got five great tips to help you fly through the festive period and get your cards selling.

1.Plan plan plan!

The key to getting your Christmas merchandising right is planning when to post. Make a schedule, plan some nice posts around your cards and then stick to it. You can even do some research on the best hashtags to use, then pop them onto all of your posts!

2. Time is of the essence

Try to post around once a week, to keep the momentum going, and check what the best timings are to post so as to catch as many followers as possible. Start early, and target those early-bird buyers who are keen to get their hands on your designs, then progress to posts emphasising that ‘the time is now’, and of course close to the time you can make your posts appeal to last-minute buyers and quote the final posting days.

3. Targeted posts

Make sure that your posts are aimed at a specific group or narrowed down from being generally festive in some way. Generic Christmas themes won’t help you to stand out, so try to think about specific niches. Whether this takes the form of cards for a specific relation or family member, cards around a popular theme (think gin or Star Wars!) or simply funny cards which appeal to a particular sense of humour.

4. Hashtag #thortfulchristmas

Get your tags and hashtags right! First of all remember to tag us @thortful and use our Christmas hashtag #thortfulchristmas to let people know where to get your cards. Use as many hashtags as you can on platforms like Instagram – do your research ahead of time and make a list of relevant hashtags to use on every card post, then add individual hashtags which are highly relevant to your design.

5. Fit your posts to our marketing

We’ll be focussing on the following themes for our marketing, so aligning your own posts with ours will help to optimise.

  • Unique cards – it’s much easier for us to promote cards which are a little bit different or unusual
  • Funny cards – humour sells!
  • Rude cards – obviously this ties in with humour, so rude for the sake of it won’t cut it, but cards that use rude humour can work really well.
  • Specific trends and niches: gin, prosecco and booze, cats, dogs, and movie themes (think Star Wars, Elf and Home Alone).

How to use trends to inspire your card designs

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Hi, my name’s Nicole and I’m the owner and designer at Native 21! I’ve teamed up with thortful to give you a few handy hints and tips on following trends to inspire card designs…

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Keep your ear to the ground

Is your Twitter timeline filled with Great British Bake Off puns? Facebook flooded with witty and relatable memes? Don’t just endlessly scroll, take inspiration! Social media isn’t compulsory, but it’s a huge bonus. Be sure to follow and like the popular news and media pages and get a feel for the latest trends. What are your friends sharing, what content are the media pages posting, or are you seeing posts about ‘great episodes’ of ‘that TV show’ over and over?

Personally, I’ve only ever seen 2 episodes of Game Of Thrones (I know, I know) but we’re all pretty aware that it’s probably the most popular TV show ever. It’s because of this I see Game Of Thrones cards doing so well as it has such a large audience and fanbase, even if I have to research who ‘Jon Snow’ is and when winter is actually coming!

Find the niche

Don’t be scared to experiment with creating a design that might be a little niche or ‘out there’: that’s exactly what customers are looking for! How many times have you wished for something really unique, only to find no such thing exists? Be your own Dragon’s Den success story by creating something new and exciting. Controversial, slightly rude and even explicit cards also work wonders as you definitely wouldn’t find those on the high street, but they will be sure to put a massive smile on the recipient’s face (or more likely, an awkward laugh when they open it in front of the entire family). Celebrity figures adored by the millions and Hollywood heartthrobs also make for brilliant designs, but have you ever seen that certain someone on the front of a birthday card? If not, what are you waiting for!

Your own (funny!) take on it

The best trend-led designs are those that bring a new (humorous) perspective to a character or theme. What is the character known for, or what do they typically do or say? Think about how you can spoof this in your design, or poke a little harmless fun at the character, whilst still relating it to a card-sending occasion where possible. Puns work really well here, but you can also use illustrations to the same effect.

Blast from the past

Just because it’s not all over your timeline, doesn’t mean it’s not still relevant. Think back to that TV show you watched as a teenager, that cult classic that still tops everyone’s favourite movie list, or something that screams ‘throwback’. Don’t just wish a Happy Birthday, give the gift of good ol’ nostalgia.

Hashtag #RELEVANT

Be proud of your creations and share with your Instagram followers! Using relevant hashtags – whether this be trending celebrities or memes – will allow new people to find your designs and head straight to Thortful. Tag that celebrity or news outlet because you never know who is scrolling through.

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Don’t let your cards just be plonked on the mantlepiece with the other plain obligatory greetings cards – stand out! In essence – eat, sleep, meme, repeat – and you’ll do just fine!

Find Nicole’s cards here.

How to tag your cards

Tag it right

 

We know that the science of tagging can be more complex than nuclear physics, so we’ve written a simple guide to give you some key tips on how to tag for optimum results on thortful. Remember that if you miss one or two then you needn’t worry as we edit and optimise them when moderating, but if you can get them right first time then this will speed up the moderation process and get your cards into the catalogue quicker!

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

First of all, decide what gender the card is for:

Male    Female    

Then decide what age group the design is for. If it’s a birthday design for a specific milestone, then add the age specific age instead of the age group:

Child    Teen    Adult    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10    11    12    13    14    15    16    17    18    21    30    40    50   60    70    80    90    100

 

RECIPIENTS

Where applicable, if your card is designed for a specific relation then please add the relevant tag(s):

Dad    Brother    Sister    Daughter    Son    Cousin    Aunt    Uncle    Grandmother   Grandfather    Grandson    Granddaughter    Godmother    Godfather    Godson    Goddaughter    Stepsister    Stepbrother    Stepdad    Stepmum    Niece    Nephew    Fiance    Fiancee    Boyfriend    Girlfriend    Wife    Husband    Partner    Brother-in-Law    Sister-in-Law    Father-in-Law    Mother-in-law    Son-in-Law    Daughter-in-Law    Twin    Newlyweds    Couple    Gay couple    Teacher    Colleague    Friend

(Please note if you add a recipient tag which is not relevant or your design is not specific enough for this recipient then we will have to remove it!)

 

STYLE

Next add tags that apply to the style of the card. Please only add the tags which are relevant to the features of your design – erroneous ones will be removed:

Cute    Funny    Photographic    Modern    Trendy    Arty    Pretty    Pun    Traditional    Spoof    Typographic    Retro/Vintage    Typography    Contemporary    Humour    Illustration    Rude    Cheeky    Animal    Love    Quotes    Inspirational    Booze    Alcohol    Pet    Cat    Dog

 

POPULAR SEARCHES

Add any of the tags which are relevant for popular searches.

Prosecco    Gin    Wine    Beer    Cycling    Cat    Dog    Avocado    Cheese    Cake    Unicorn

 

SPECIFIC TO YOUR DESIGN

Finally, make sure to add any tags which are specific to your design. For example, this might mean adding the words of the caption, or the illustration featured.

Sometimes this involves being more specific about the style tags (i.e. if it’s got an animal on it, what animal is it?) or perhaps it has a specific person or character on it (who is it?), or if it has a floral pattern then add ‘floral’ and ‘flowers’.

 

WHAT NOT TO ADD

There are some tags which can mess with our search system, which we ask you to avoid:

  • Don’t add a singular and plural of a word (i.e. ‘flower’ and ‘flowers’ or ‘pony’ and ‘ponies’)
  • Don’t add the occasions themselves (cards are automatically returned in searches under the occasion category they are entered into, so there’s no need to add a it as a tag as well)
  • Don’t add duplicate words (i.e. ‘dog’ and ‘cute dog’)
  • Don’t add compound word tags (i.e. ‘funny cat’ ‘funny-cat’ or ‘funnycat’)
  • Don’t add the word ‘card’ (we are a card website so this tag is not necessary and will be removed!)