A Cup of Tea With…Sabah Nazir

This week we handed over the thortful instagram channel to Sabah Designs. Sabah’s promise is that all her cards are designs with love, produced with passion and finished with extreme dexterity, right here in the UK! With a specialist range of Eid cards and the upcoming festivities, we thought we’d find out what makes her tick…over a cup of tea, of course!


Do you find that Eid cards are still relatively niche in the industry?

As Eid has become a stronger and more prominent card sending occasion now than in previous years, we have experienced a sharp rise in high street retailers inquiring and subsequently stocking up our Eid Cards. We have also experienced high sales volumes from online card and gift retailers which indicates that customers have now a wider choice of Eid Cards available to them.

Tell us how you started your career in illustrating.

I started my greeting card company back in 2004 designing and producing hand embroidered greeting cards. Primarily selling through trade shows and agents. However, when we started exporting abroad, and as general demand began to exceed supply, I had to think of ways to manage stock whilst still being innovative. I started combining tiny hand drawn illustrations to my embroidered cards, which gradually took over my portfolio and as they say, the rest is history!

Sabah Designs - Andalucia collection

Sabah Designs – Andalucia collection

What’s your bestselling card?

Since its release in 2013, this bold Arabic Calligraphy card from our ‘Andalucia Collection’ has been one of our bestsellers. It seems to appeal to both male and female customers alike.

How are you planning on spending Eid this year?

Eid celebrations will begin with the family getting dressed up in our finery to attend morning prayers. We will then make our way to visit family and friends where gifts and plenty of food and drink will be exchanged!

Talk us through your creative process when designing a card.

Most of my designs start off as hand drawn sketches, which I then enhance and manipulate in Photoshop or illustrator. I love using modern typography and fonts and am constantly experimenting with new lettering styles.

Who inspires you? 

Hard working people.

Tell us something nobody knows about you.

I have never watched ‘Lord of The Rings’.

If you had to choose one item out of your kit to rescue from a burning fire – what would it be? 

I would have to say my hard drive.

Lastly, can you let us in on what you’re working on next?

As soon as Eid is over, I will sit down with my team and go through this years sales and then start planning and designing our Eid 2017 collection.

(You can never be too organised! )

Discover the full range of Eid cards here

Association of Illustrators announces call for entries – The Prize for Illustration 2017

The Association of Illustrators (AOI), in partnership with London Transport Museum, is delighted to announce that submissions are now open for The Prize for Illustration 2017.


Image: Eliza Southwood

This year’s theme is Sounds of the City – an illustrated interpretation of urban sound.

The aim of The Prize for Illustration 2017 competition is to attract artwork for display in an exhibition at London Transport Museum that is colourful, inspiring and celebrates the sounds heard in the hubbub and quiet spaces of the UK’s vibrant, diverse, multi-layered cities. The deadline is 26 September 2016.

Entrants are invited to visually capture sound heard in our UK cities in a single illustration. We want to see quiet and relaxing through to loud and frenetic city sounds. Inspiration might be from natural or man-made sounds. Where does your ear meet your eye? You may be inspired by the lyrics from a song about a city. You might illustrate sound in a recognisable UK city, or your visualisation might be a soundscape heard in any UK city. You might just illustrate the people, activities or things that produce the sounds – imaginary or real, past or present. Your imagination is the limit.

The roar of traffic. Shrieks of children playing. Honking of car horns. Rattle and hum of music on a radio. Barking of an urban fox. Banging of a door. Rustle of trees in a green city space. Drilling of road works. Ticking of a clock. Song inspired by a city. Calls of a market trader. Thump of drums at a concert. Shouts of people on the streets. Blaring of a police siren. Murmurs of people talking in a meeting. Screech of brakes on a bus. Ringing of bells.

Impress the judges with your illustrated interpretation of the common, the curious, the persistent and the distinctive chorus of sounds we hear around us day and night and be in with a chance of having your work displayed at the famous London Transport Museum and winning the top prize.

Prizes will be awarded in three levels:
First prize: £2,000 and display of the winning image on a London Transport Museum poster to be displayed on the London Underground.
Second prize: £1,000
Third prize: £750

There is also the possibility that shortlisted images will be featured on merchandise sold in London Transport Museum’s shop.

The competition is open to illustrators and students of illustration throughout the world. The top 100 entries selected by a panel of independent judges will be displayed in an exhibition at London Transport Museum that will open in May 2017 and run until September 2017. The winners will be announced at a private award ceremony that will take place in May 2017.

The Prize for Illustration 2017 continues Transport for London’s legacy of design that dates back over 100 years. London Transport Museum’s collection of graphic art is one of the most important in the world and includes over 5,000 posters and artworks by famous artists including Man Ray, Paul Nash and Edward McKnight Kauffer.

To enter visit theaoi.com

10 cards to satisfy all the foodies in your life

Here at thortful we realise that we talk about food A LOT. And we’re sure we’re not the only ones, so we decided to put together our favourite collection of foodie cards for any occasion.

For the talkative foodie

We know what it’s like when you’re meeting a friend after work. You’ve probably skipped lunch and had an apple as a snack as you salivate over your dinner plans. However, these friends just don’t get it. They want to catch up first, order later. A big no, no…therefore we think they deserve the waffler card.


For the foodie that can’t actually eat anything

We’re not sure what these foodies did in the cavemen days, but they’re still on our list nonetheless. They’re the friends that find ordering off a menu virtually impossible, but we love them anyway as most of the time you’re catching up on their sofa with a cuppa…who needs restaurants eh!


For the budget foodie

These guys have perfected the art of producing a meal on a budget. Whatever they make, it smells and tastes delicious, and frankly we’re left wondering how they did it.56558b21e4b025ab258dce57_mediumFor the Sunday bruncher

These guys are uber-chic, usually found living on the East Side and dining in breakfast clubs, whilst instagramming their Eggs Royale. We envy you, food fashionista. Here’s a card celebrating your favourite feast.


For the bread basket addict

They may be a foodie and enjoy fine dining, but when they’re out they beeline for the bread basket before you’ve even said hello. By the time you’ve ordered they’re asking for more butter. No harm, no foul…just tasty carbs…mmmm bread56310150e4b07b51b1b25a58_mediumFor the ones with the sweet tooth.

Most of us are all probably one of these, even if we keep it hidden. These guys scour the menu backwards deciding on dessert and adjusting their starter and main accordingly. We have no issue with that, to be honest, they seem pretty smart to us…crumbs.


For the cheese lovers

These guys deserved a category of their own, as they seem to be everywhere! So here you go…. Picking one card was pretty tricky, but there’s always more…

5726d10ee4b055104e2f2040_mediumFor the savoury sadist

They shun cakes and sweets in search of a healthier lifestyle. However if you’re ever near one of these foodies, you’ll hear a suspicious crunching coming from their corner most of the time. These guys feast on the savoury snacks. Their desk draws are full of packets from supermarkets and health stores, just ready to top them up throughout the day. Nothing gets them more talkative than whole mixed nuts and curly cashews…so declare your love in words they’ll understand.


For the liquid lunch foodie

We didn’t think it was fair to leave out a certain foodie group. These guys prefer liquid lunches to cosy dinners in and takeaways on the sofa, and when the weather gets brighter we tend to find them hanging out in packs, in beer gardens across the land. A rather friendly bunch, these guys can go anywhere on their own and come home with a whole new group of pals. The friendliest of foodies – we salute you!


For the ‘there’s always one…’ foodie.

These guys.


For all other food occasions, we’re sure we’ve got you covered…and if not, well…why not join us as a creator and design your own!

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Give a Grad a gift

Good Luck Card


We’ve all been there – some of us more recently than others – however the pressure is something I’m sure you remember well! Whilst some people breeze through their exams, soaking up endless notes, others find remembering more information than they’ll ever need to know somewhat more challenging. Unfortunately, it’s something all of us have to go through before we embark on the next stages of our career. At some point, all of us have sat in a school hall, willing the clock to slow down as we painstakingly scribble down answers.

Whilst we can give you a list of suggestions to help beat the stress and make this time easier for someone going through ‘the exam period’ – listen to classical music, take a walk, play with puppies etc, thortful also believe that letting them know they’re in your thoughts with a Good Luck keepsake, can’t really go amiss.

Here’s a few of our favourites to get you started…

For the creative writer and the aspiring artist

Untitled design (25)

For the all-round grad student

Untitled design (26)

For the smart ar*se

Smart Arse

..and for everyone else, because we think EVERYONE deserves a massive pat on the back!

Good Luck

That’s it from us, now it’s over to you to send those Good Luck vibes!

5 thortful takeaways to brighten up your mornings!

We all know it can sometimes be hard to get through the week without a little bit of encouragement coming your way. No matter where you get it from, be it friends, colleagues or something you’ve read…thortful wants to give you a little extra boost! Plus, if you are seeking success, you must remember to think successful, inspiring, and motivating thoughts.

Read on to find the words of wisdom that will motivate you in building your business, leading your life and smashing your goals! Our small selection of inspirational greeting cards also make for great desk buddies!


Illustrator: Amalia Lopez

This ‘life is a journey, enjoy the ride‘ has been created by Amalia Lopez. She’s from Oadby, UK a small town in Leicestershire and has loads more fantastic designs that inspire us at thortful HQ on daily basis! If you’re a fan, then we suggest you check out the rest of her collection!


Illustrator: Reba Bangasser

Sometimes the beginning of a new week, can seem like we’re facing an insurmountable challenge. We know the drill: too much to do, too little time to do it; too many people making demands upon your time, all with conflicting agendas. Our thortful tip? Take one step at a time and always keep moving! Breaking tasks down into smaller bitesize pieces, will help you clear your mind and make headway up that mountain. Plus, doesn’t it feel so good when you can take in the fresh air at the top?

This lovely photo with typography overlay has been created by Reba Bangasser, a graphic designer and lettering illustrator from Louisville, Kentucky! If you’re a fan of her work, you can see more of her art here!

Illustrator: Cat Coquillette

Illustrator: Cat Coquillette

Cat Coquillette, from Kansas City, Missouri works mainly with watercolor, ink and gouache. Her thortful collection incorporates bright pops of color and a variety of motifs. Most importantly, her ‘stay curious‘ greeting card seemed apt for motivating us. As Einstein famously said: “The important thing is not to stop questioning… Never lose a holy curiosity.”

We’re sure all you creatives know that curiosity is an important trait of a genius. We challenge you to find an intellectual giant who is not a curious person. Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, they are all curious characters.

This cute and beautifully created design from Coquillette, hangs proudly on our wall and keeps us curious – we hope it does you too!

Illustrator: Jimbo Bernaus

Illustrator: Jimbo Bernaus

Jimbo Bernaus, is a visual artist and letterer straight out of Barcelona, Spain. Plant one of his designs in eye-shot to stay motivated all week! We all know that to achieve even the smallest of goals, and to get through life’s daily duties and responsibilities, you have to have some self-confidence and his art is beautiful reminder of that.

The importance of developing a self-confident attitude allows you to wade through the push and pull of different voices and opinions telling you, “yes, no, maybe, do this, do that” etc. There’s no surefire pattern that will make you 100% confident overnight but having a reminder to keep you focused is sure to help.

Illustrator: Aaron Schwartz

Illustrator: Aaron Schwartz

Aaron Schwartz can be said to create his designs from experience! Originally from Vancouver, he now lives and works in Switzerland as a freelance designer. Travel has long been known as one of the most direct and visceral ways of feeding the soul. Sometimes we can get bogged down by ruts in life and routine, and travel is one thing that can unlock whole new directions for us to funnel our creative energy, more often than not ushering in entire new eras in artistic development. We see that as a win/win!

Check out our travel inspired cards to make sure you keep exploring!

We’re all thinking about Coffee

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We’re all familiar with the feeling. Monday morning rolls around again and the alarm goes off, way too early. Snooze. If you’re one of the 70 million people in the UK that drink coffee every day, you may know that it’s UK Coffee Week.

As big coffee drinkers at thortful, we’re giving you the run down of all the benefits of drinking coffee alongside our favourite caffeine-fuelled greeting cards!

1. Coffee can improve energy levels and make you smarter.

Coffee doesn’t just keep you awake, it may literally make you smarter as well.

The active ingredient in coffee is caffeine, which is a stimulant and the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world.

Image: Mariam Soliman

Image: Mariam Soliman

(Science bit: Caffeine blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, which leads to a stimulant effect. This improves energy levels, mood and various aspects of brain function.)

2. Coffee helps you burn fat

Amen. Do we need more of a reason to enjoy our morning latte?

Image:  Chris Williams

Image: Chris Williams

If you drink coffee, serving it black is your best option for weight loss. Black coffee is calorie-free..it’s the cream and sugar that can pack on the pounds. Plus studies have shown that caffeine might also offer some calorie-burning benefits that help your weight-loss efforts.

3. It makes you happy!

There might be a reason why a cup of coffee can turn a morning frown into a smile.

Image: Sophie Corrigan

Image: Sophie Corrigan

Studies have found that women who drank four or more cups of coffee every day were 20 percent less likely to suffer from depression. One cause is the fact that caffeinated drinks can tap into almost every known reward system for the brain

(Science bit: Coffee boosts dopamine production in the brain.)

4. It protects your heart

Image: Hongyi Hu

Image: Hongyi Hu

A study undertaken in Korea, found people who drink three to five cups of coffee a day are less likely to develop clogged arteries that could lead to heart attacks.

And finally….

5. Coffee is the biggest source of Antioxidants in the Western diet

For people who eat a standard Western diet, coffee may actually be the healthiest aspect of the diet. That’s because coffee contains a massive amount of antioxidants.

Therefore, this makes coffee one of the healthiest beverages on the planet. Period.


Image: Sarah Satrun

If you still haven’t had your caffeine fix, or if you know someone that just can’t get enough then browse our thortful coffee cards and make someone smile!

Can You Name At Least 5 Women Artists For Women’s History Month?

Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, Nickolas Muray Collection, Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin

This March, for Women’s History Month, the National Museum of Women in the Arts are leading a social media campaign to help everyone answer the question, Can you name five women artists?

Join the museum and other institutions, including the National Gallery of Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, and Guggenheim Bilbao, to share stories of women artists using the hashtag #5womenartists on Twitter and Instagram. Find out more about the initiative in this artnet article.

Are you interested in participating? Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Challenge your friends and family to name five women artists.
  2. Tell us who your favourite women artists are and why.
  3. Share a work by a woman artist at a museum or gallery near you.
  4. Explore NMWA’s artist profiles to discover artists you may not know.

To kick off the month, learn more about five women artists from the museum’s collection who broke barriers and influenced future generations:

In 1921, Alma Woodsey Thomas (1891–1978) was the first fine arts student to graduate from Howard University in Washington, D.C. During her 35-year career as a teacher at a D.C. junior high school, she was devoted to her students and organized art clubs, lectures, and student exhibitions.

Rosalba Carriera (1675–1757), a member of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, was responsible for elevating the status of pastel from its use for sketches to a respected medium in its own right. Over the span of its existence, the Academy, which had approximately 450 members in total, only admitted 15 women.

At the age of 52, Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717) and her young daughter embarked on a risky trip to the Dutch colony of Suriname in South America. She recorded indigenous flora and fauna and helped 18th-century scientists understand metamorphosis.

Hester Bateman (1709–1794) inherited her husband’s silver workshop after he died. She made the business profitable and her descendants helped the workshop thrive until the mid-19th century. The key to her success was the integration of modern technology with classical design—a cost-effective way to attract middle-class buyers.

Referenced in her New York Times obituary as the “wife of Diego Rivera, the noted painter,” Frida Kahlo (1907–1954) soared in fame posthumously. She became the first 20th-century Mexican artist to have work acquired by the Louvre. In the 1980s, numerous books were published about her work by feminist art historians and others.

— Stacy Meteer is the communications and marketing associate at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Thank You Card Sayings: Phrases and Messages to Say Thanks

thank you

What to Say in a Thank You Card

Having a tough time writing a thank you card? You’re not alone. It can be difficult to know what to write in a thank you card, and some people neglect writing them altogether because they can’t think of what to write. Don’t fall into this trap!

The list below contains thank you card sayings that you can use to help you get your ideas in a card. This includes:

  • General thank you phrases
  • Thank you messages for gifts
  • Thank you messages for services
  • Things to focus on during your writing process
  • Common words of gratitude to include or inspire

Feel free to use them the way they are or tweak and edit them to your liking so that it fits you and the receiver. Lastly, don’t worry too much about what you write in your thank you card—it’s always better to send a card than to not send one!

General Thank You Phrases

Below are some general thank you phrases if you want to keep things short and sweet. You can also expand on these if you’d like.

  1. Thank you.
  2. Thanks a ton.
  3. I feel so blessed.
  4. I’m so thankful.
  5. Thank you so much.
  6. My sincerest gratitude.
  7. My deepest gratitude.
  8. Many thanks.
  9. You are very generous.
  10. You are so thoughtful.
  11. Thanks for everything.
  12. I really appreciate this.
  13. I can’t thank you enough.
  14. Words can’t describe how thankful I am.
  15. All I can say is, thanks!
  16. Thanks for being there when I needed you.
  17. I appreciate your time.
  18. I appreciate your generosity.
  19. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.
  20. I want to extend my gratitude.

Thank You Card Messages for Gifts

People say thanks for many things, but getting a gift is one of the more common reasons. Below find some sample thank you card messages for a gift:

  1. “Thank you for the generous gift. You didn’t have to, but you’re the kind of person who does, and I really appreciate it.”
  2. “Many thanks and gratitude for your gift. I’m very lucky to know you and feel incredibly blessed.”
  3. “Somehow you knew exactly what I wanted, and I didn’t even know what I wanted. You’re an amazing gift giver. Thanks so much!”
  4. “You nearly shocked me when I opened my gift. I couldn’t believe what you’d given me. You knocked my socks off. I’m so grateful to have a friend like you.”
  5. “I was so touched when I opened your gift—you left me speechless! Thank you so much.”
  6. “I’m very grateful for the gift that you gave me. Please know that it definitely did not go unnoticed and I’m glad to know someone as generous as you. Thank you!”
  7. “Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your gift meant the world to me but not only that, I’m thankful to have a friend like you and hope we get to hang out soon.”
  8. “You mean a lot to me and so did your gift. Thank you so much!”
  9. “I was so touched. I’m very grateful to have you in my life and will put a lot of use into your gift.”
  10. “Giving a gift like that should be illegal. I’m surprised you haven’t been placed under arrest for your excessive generosity. Thank you!”
  11. “I don’t know what you were thinking when you gave me this gift. You must either be crazy or really generous to have done that. Since I know you aren’t crazy, that leaves generous. Thank you so much.”
  12. “You made my day when I opened your gift/card. What a fun/terrific gift. Thank you for making my day.”
  13. “You made me feel so special when I opened your gift. I knew that you spent time, effort, and energy to make sure it was awesome, and it was just that. Thank you.”
  14. “Thank you for the much-needed _________. I was so pleased when I opened your gift and just knew you’d be the kind of thoughtful person to get me something like this. Thanks.”
  15. “Perfect is the word that comes to mind when I try to describe your gift. I don’t think I myself even could have gifted anything better. Thanks for knowing me so well.”
  16. “Your incredible generosity and thoughtfulness shone through in your card. You didn’t have to do that, thank you!”
  17. “Thank you for knowing me so well and for the perfect gift. One of the best presents I’ve ever gotten!”
  18. “You never fail to surprise me. Thank you for such a terrific gift.”

Thank You Card Messages for Services

Performed services or acts are another common reason to thank someone. Whether someone helped you to move, drove you to the airport, or offered you support during a difficult time, it’s always nice to know their time and efforts are appreciated.

  1. “Thank you for your help. Please accept this card as a symbol of my sincere gratitude for everything you’ve done.”
  2. “I’m so blessed to have you in my life. Thank you for volunteering all your time and efforts to help me out. I’m incredibly grateful and won’t forget this.”
  3. “I’m very lucky to have a friend like you. My deepest gratitude for all your help—you’re the best! Thank you.”
  4. “The gift of your help/time/support means more than anything money can buy. I really appreciate all that you’ve done and hope this card provides a small token of my gratitude. Thanks!”
  5. “Thanks so much for all your help when I know you’re already so busy. People like you are rare and I’m very lucky that you’re in my life.”
  6. “You are a rare kind of generous. I’m having a hard time putting my gratitude into words but I hope you know how much I appreciate all your help. Thank you so much.”
  7. “You have given me the gift of encouragement and hope in a difficult time. I am so grateful for your support. Thanks for being there for me.”
  8. “I’m having a hard time putting my gratitude into words. Thank you so much for your support. It means the world to me that you’d do that.”
  9. “I don’t know how to properly show my appreciation, but I hope this message is a start. Thank you for your friendship and your help.”
  10. “Thank you very much for helping me out when I needed it. You helped more than you think you did and I hope you know I’m very grateful. Thank you, again.”
  11. “Thank you for all that you’ve done. If ever you need me to return the favor, know that I’m here. You’re a great friend.”
  12. “I was so touched by all the support you’ve given me. Lunch is on me next time. Thank you!”
  13. “Your generosity did not go unnoticed. I’m very grateful for all your efforts and deeply touched that you’d do something so thoughtful. Thanks so much.”
  14. “Thank you for all that you’ve done. It was a wonderful and touching surprise.”
  15. “It was so nice of you to help me out. I really appreciate all that you’ve done and hope that this card will help me to express all my gratitude. Thank you!”
  16. “Thank you a million times over for your support. You went above and beyond and I’m blown away.”
  17. “Saying thank you seems hardly fair considering all that you’ve done. I’m very touched and happy to have you in my life.”
  18. “Please accept my thanks and this card for all that you’ve done for me. I’m very thankful.”
  19. “You deserve so much more than just a thank you. Your help meant the world to me. So for starters, I want to thank you.”

How to Write a Thank You Card

If you read the previous thank you card sayings, you will notice that most of them talk about thoughts and feelings of the gift or the person who gave the gift. The thank you card saying should express those thoughts and feelings. After all, thankfulness is a thought or a feeling. Here are things you should keep in mind if you’re in the process of writing or going over your thank you message:

Initial reaction. Make sure to mention your initial reaction to the gift or whatever the person did.

Example: “I was really surprised by what you got me for my graduation gift.”

Compliment the recipient. Express your feelings about the gift or the person who helped you.

Example: “You are a great friend who I feel I can depend on.”

Give examples of your appreciation. Tell how much you like what they gave you or did for you.

Example: “I used my new luggage already, and it was great. I love the color, sizes, and features. You knew just what I would like.”

Express your feelings. Let the recipient know how you feel in general, whether you’re grateful or touched, it’s nice for anyone to hear about the impact they made if they went beyond material gain (which it usually does.)

Example: I’m so grateful for your help that I nearly tore up—I won’t forget how generous you were.
Properly close.

Even though the whole point of your message is to say thanks, make sure you close with the proper wording. Close with a “thanks” or “thank you” to emphasize how thankful you really are.

These simple messages will likely get you headed in the right direction if you’re stuck for words on  how to say ‘thank you.’


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