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The latest from thortful HQ

THE THORTFUL BLOG

So many social media platforms, but which is best for me?

With such a variety of social media platforms out there nowadays, how do you know which is right for you? Here, we’ve listed the four that we think are the most important, and given you a run-down of their strengths to help you decide where to focus your attention.

Blog title - Insta

Instagram is widely regarded to be one of the best platforms for creatives as it’s so visual, in addition to the fact that there is a large creative community on Instagram. One of the strengths of Instagram is that it allows you to easily target interested audiences (without having to pay for it!) through hashtags. Users who have a particular interest, from #brushlettering to #cutedogs, tend to check these hashtags regularly to see what new posts have been created, and Instagram now gives the option to ‘follow’ a hashtag like you would an account, so that you can see them when scrolling through your own your feed. If you can target these hashtags with relevant posts, then this means more exposure for you!

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“Instagram is widely regarded to be one of the best platforms for creatives as it’s so visual”

There are lots of options for posting on Instagram too – from the original concept of your grid, to things like Stories and Instagram Live. Think of your grid as a showcase of your cards and your brand – like a portfolio of everything you embody. Your images should look aesthetically pleasing and well put-together, as they will be there permanently representing you.

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Stories allow you to have a bit more fun with your content

On the other hand, Stories allow you to share snippets (either photos or videos) of the behind the scenes of your brand, or timely updates, and have a bit more fun with your content. You can also add links and hashtags to these, so can use them to easily advertise your cards too.

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Blog title - Twitter

For some people, Twitter might not seem like it’s worth it, but it can arguably be easier to get heard – if you target your posts in the right way. One thing which is key for Twitter is press features. Under the hashtag #journorequest, journalists will outreach particular topics which they are looking for case studies on, and if you find one that is relevant to your brand and/or cards then you could be in with a chance of a feature. Particularly useful are gift lists – roundups of gifts (and cards!) themed around occasions (Christmas, Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day etc) which are then featured in the run-up to the occasion, so look out for these.

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“Journalists will outreach particular topics under the hashtag #journorequest”

In addition, Twitter can be a good place to attract influencers to your cards, who might be able to help promote them. Having a presence can be key, so that people can tag you! Make sure your bio info is all set up as this helps to make your brand look well-rounded, and most importantly, ensure it contains a link to your cards so that people can easily click through to buy!

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“Twitter can be a good place to attract influencers to your cards”

Twitter can also allow you to tap into wider conversations and have a voice there too. These of course need to be relevant to your brand (keep conversations on your local council or the price of milk to your personal accounts!). Think about which topics are relevant to your cards and your business, as well as the general creative community, and use hashtags to ensure your tweets are seen.

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Blog title - Fb

One of the key benefits of Facebook is that it gives you the option to post longer copy – both Instagram and Twitter are limited. It is also an easy way to have a professional presence on social media: creating a business page gives you the opportunity to create a professional looking page with lots of links to your cards, and will also give you insights into how your posts are performing with the Facebook Analytics tool.

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“Creating a business page will give you insights into how your posts are performing”

It can also allow you to link to your cards much more easily than Instagram, by simply pasting a link into your post. Facebook can also be useful for reaching a wide audience of various demographics, although it isn’t as widely used by millennials and teens. Bear in mind also that Facebook owns Instagram, so certain tools on Instagram require you to have a linked Facebook account in order to use them – tagging products for example – and this could mean that you’re more inclined to have a page.

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Blog title - Pinterest

Pinterest is becoming really key for customers. It’s now less like a social media platform and more like a visual search engine, and you can link back to your cards to generate sales. Tailor your posts to current trends and people will be more likely to pin them, and use these also to tap into trends to inspire your own designs.

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“Pinterest is now less like a social media platform and more like a visual search engine”

One of the key benefits to having Pinterest is that it doesn’t need super-regular updates. Once you’ve got a set of posts/boards you can simply monitor and update them, perhaps once a month or even once a quarter, depending on how much you want to utilise the tool. For this reason, it’s also key to remember that very timely posts won’t be relevant here, so stay away from posting anything about what you’re up to – think of it less as a timeline and more as a portfolio.

Envelope images for social sharing

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Want to tell your followers about a new card? Use these handy thortful envelopes to create a mock-up! thortful envelopes are a smart slate grey, with an embossed logo on the back.

All files are PNG’s, so have transparent backgrounds, meaning you can easily slot them into whichever image you like.

 

Right-click, or ctrl + click to save.

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envelope-card-landscape

HOW TO SPOT A TREND

Hero

If you’ve seen any Pack a Punch Designs on thortful then you’ll know that they are all based around current trends and themes, from the dangers of auto-correct, to the collective female obsession with Tom Hardy.

But how do you spot these trends? Sophie, the brains behind the brand, gives us the lowdown on identifying all things ‘of the moment’.

WATCH TV

It sounds obvious, but take time to catch the latest drama or the next big boxset on Netflix, so you’re ahead of the game. Alternatively, TV shows that have been around for a few years (think Peaky Blinders / Game of Thrones / Stranger Things / The Walking Dead) will have already formed a dedicated fan base and could no doubt be big sellers. Then you have cult classics, such as The Office, Friends and Absolutely Fabulous, that will forever be cemented in the hearts of their avid followers, despite the fact they have not aired on the big screen for a long time. TV is such a big part of our lives now, and unites us around common interests. I’m not ashamed to admit that my current conversation ‘icebreaker’ is “are you watching Love Island?”! I love the feeling when I receive a card that is based on a TV show which I invested my time in: it re-ignites my love for the programme and also shows that the sender put a lot of thought into their choice.

GET DOWN WITH THE KIDS

Slay. Lit. Bae. Squad. On fleek. Hashtag *insert noun here* goals. Yes, I’m talking about modern-day lingo. Despite the rise in social media and us millennials being constantly glued to our phones, writing ‘Happy Birthday’ on someone’s Facebook wall just doesn’t cut it, especially if you see them on a regular basis. It’s time to bring the phrases that originated on social media to the world of greetings. In order to appeal to the younger generation, you need to resonate with them, and what better way than with the art of language?

WHAT’S GOING ON?

Pay attention to the news and let your creativity run wild. The world is forever changing and somebody’s 5 minutes of fame could be your next big selling design! Who can forget yodelling boy? He sang in Walmart and the next thing you know he’s on the Ellen Show and launching his first album. We all love a ‘regular person turned famous’ story.

Also, politically themed cards are yuge (sorry!) at the moment. Trump cards are EVERYWHERE and they’re selling like hotcakes, regardless of whether you like him or despise him. Then you have the issues of feminism and LGBT rights. With International Women’s Day and ‘Coming Out’ parties on the rise, the occasions and people you can cater to are endless!

EXPLORE HUMOUR

The rise in popularity of rude cards simply cannot be ignored, and although they’re not to everyone’s taste, a shared sense of humour is essential in strengthening friendships and relationships. If you feel comfortable enough to unleash your crude side then do it! Even if it’s erring more on the side of ‘cheeky’ rather than ‘f*ck-sh*t-w*nk-b*llocks’. Is there any better feeling than knowing you’re helping people make their loved ones laugh out loud by purchasing one of your designs?

MODERN-DAY SENSATIONS

You can’t go wrong with a card based around modern-day phenomena, right? Vegans, social media, memes, and Love Island, to name just a few. These subjects were unheard of years ago but have now skyrocketed into our lives making them the perfect basis for relatable greetings cards. People want cards that they know the recipient will identify with and want to keep as a memento, and you have the power to create them!

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Find Pack a Punch Designs here.

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Father’s Day Sharing Images 2018

Hero blog

 

Now is the perfect time to boost your sales by sharing your thortful cards – from social media to your customer newsletter.

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:

thortful Father's Day Card Sharing Image 1

thortful Father's Day Card Sharing Image 2

thortful Father's Day Card Sharing Image 3

thortful Father's Day Card Sharing Image 4

thortful Father's Day Card Sharing Image 5

thortful Father's Day Card Sharing Image 6

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Happy sharing!

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New Themes for Father’s Day 2018

F Day themes blog

Here at thortful HQ we’ve been brainstorming some particularly Dad-related topics to inspire your Father’s Day designs! From classic ‘Dad’ TV shows, to current trends to adapt for the occasion, read our hotlist to get inspired:

 

Sports and Hobbies:

Football – think specific teams rather than football in general: Dads can be very loyal to their particular team and often pass this onto their kids!

Other Sports: rugby, cricket and golf.

Fishing (this is supposedly the most popular hobby in the UK!).

Hobbies you participated in with Dad when growing up: Airfix, Scalextric, Trains, Lego.

Pets:

From the dog

From the cat

Cat/dog themed

TV and Film:

Think about characters and quotes or catchphrases which might tie in well!

Blackadder

Fawlty Towers

Only Fools and Horses

Dad’s Army

Alan Partridge (I’m Alan Partridge)

Top Gear

Bottom

Victor Meldrew (One Foot in the Grave)

James Bond

Peter Kay

Current trending topics:

Politics (or political figures) – think Trump, Corbyn etc.

Peaky Blinders

Game of Thrones

Memes

We want our Father’s Day 2018 collection to stand out from the crowd, and for you guys to make lots of sales on your designs, so we hope these ideas help you to feel inspired!

Remember to search the site before designing and uploading, in order to make sure your design is offering something unique and is unlike anything we already have on thortful.

Get your Father’s Day designs uploaded to the site by Monday 7th May to ensure they get considered for this year’s collection!

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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

Hero blog

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 2.0

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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