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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A Cup of Tea With…Hoppy Bunnies

If you caught some of our excellent Instagram takeover by Lucy Player from Hoppy Bunnies over the weekend, you’ll have been treated to a glimpse of those cute little critters she illustrates! We sat down for a cup of tea with Lucy and asked her for the lowdown on where the idea for bunnies came from, her creative inspo and the design process…

Lucy Player: the genius behind those cute little Hoppy Bunnies!

Lucy Player: the genius behind those cute little Hoppy Bunnies!

Your cards are based solely around cute bunnies – what was the inspiration behind this?

It all came about from a project I worked on at university… We’re talking 8 years ago now, which is a little scary! As part of my graphic design degree we had to do a typographic piece, creating our own fonts. Out out this came the Bunny Rabbit Alphabet, which started my whole little obsession for drawing bunnies! 

What comes first with your designs – the pun or illustration?

It can vary – sometimes a bunny pun will hop (sorry, I can’t help myself) into my head and that dictates the illustration. But now I’m focusing much more on the greeting card market, I tend to think more in terms of occasions, and how to tailor a bunny character to it… to be fair, replace ‘Happy’ with ‘Hoppy’ for most occasions and you’re on to a winner!

Where do you seek inspiration?

The internet is a wonderful thing, let’s face it. Having so much creative work at the click of a mouse – be that on Pinterest, blogs, Twitter, Instagram, or sites like thorful, Folksy and Not On The High Street, it’s so valuable to see what other designers and makers are up to, and what new trends are emerging. 

What do you do if you find yourself stuck in a creative rut?

Look on the sites mentioned above, generally! But sometimes you just need to get out the house with a notebook and a pencil, and scribble away without caring about the outcome. A good brainstorm or a chat with a friend can always help get ideas flowing. 

Lucy's bestselling Wedding design!

Lucy’s bestselling Wedding design!

What’s your best-selling card?

The Hoppy Couple wedding card tends to go down quite well, and I’ve recently worked up designs for same-sex marriages, too.

Can you give us a sneak description of what you’re working on next?

I’ve always got a little list of card design ideas on the go that I’m gradually working my way through, but I’m also looking to expand out of cards and in to more prints and gifting… watch this space!

Whose work do you admire?

I’m a big fan of The Old English Co – just really simple typographic pieces that have a lovely tone of voice. And Alison Hardcastle has such a good way with colour, simple shapes and wonky lines. And finally, Crispin Finn have an amazing range of 2-colour designs which just ooze cool.

What’s your favourite social media platform to showcase your designs?

I’m a bit obsessed with Instagram – I have accounts for my personal life, the Hoppy Bunnies, and my graphic design business – each has their own purpose and their own following. It’s just a great visual platform, both to be seen, and to see others’ work.

Tell us a good joke…

What’s the first sign of Madness? Suggs walking up your driveway… (sorry, such a ‘dad joke’, and probably goes over the heads of anyone born post-1990!)

Lastly, what exciting work plans do you have on the horizon?

I did my first trade show this year at Progressive Greetings Live, and it went so well that I’ve booked in again for June 2017!

Discover the full range of Hoppy Bunnies cards here!

Our Very First #thortfulillustrates Design Brief!

Psssst… In case you didn’t know, one of our original thortful creators Jon Higham teaches illustration to the rather lucky students of Sussex Coast College, Hastings! In aid of givingsomething back, a little while ago, thortful decided to team up with Jon and his students to give them a shiny new project: to design some AWESOME greeting cards!

Students brief

Eager-faced and pencils in hand, ten budding illustration students all arrived at the thortful office to receive a live briefing this week, and we want to share some insider info on what we told them! 

The brief was to design three cards, for three of the top-selling occasion categories across the industry: Birthday, Thank You and New Home. With this in mind, we gave them some top tips on how to create fantastic (and most importantly!) commercial cards. Check out this informative guide we created:

7 Tips for creating amazing greeting cards

Psssst… In case you didn’t know, one of our original thortful creators Jon Higham teaches illustration to the rather lucky students of Sussex Coast College, Hastings! In aid of giving a little something back, a little while ago, thortful decided to team up with Jon and his students to give them a shiny new project: to design some AWESOME greeting cards! Eager-faced and pencils in hand, ten budding illustration students all arrived at the thortful office to receive a live briefing this week, and we want to share some insider info on what we told them :) The brief was to design three cards, for three of the top-selling occasion categories across the industry: Birthday, Thank You and New Home. With this in mind, we gave them some top tips on how to create fantastic - and most importantly commercial - cards! Check out this informative guide we created: Biscuits were eaten, cards were studied and assessed, and ideas were mulled over, but to see the finished results you’ll have to wait until October! Hopefully the project will offer students some valuable work experience so that they develop the skills and confidence to work professionally, not to mention help them to get on board as thortful creators and conquer the greeting card market… Stay tuned to our social accounts for some behind the scenes shots of our students working on their designs in the build up to the submission date!

Biscuits were eaten, cards were studied and assessed, and ideas were mulled over, but to see the finished results you’ll have to wait until October! Hopefully the project will offer the students some valuable work experience, so that they gain some insight into the skills and confidence needed to work professionally, not to mention help them to get on board as thortful creators and conquer the greeting card market…

Stay tuned to all thortful news with our social accounts for some behind-the-scenes shots of our students working on their designs in the build up to the submission date!

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The Power of an Image

henry vii

Illustration by Richard Thompson.

By Claudia McInerney

An image, whether it be a sketch, a painting or a photograph, has always been said to “say a thousand words”.

It would be impossible to go a day without seeing an image. We see them everywhere: on Piccadilly Circus’ billboards, on our Instagram feed, in newspapers and most importantly, on greeting cards.

Images serve several purposes.

They are a projection of a snapshot in time. Paintings of King Henry VIII standing tall and proud highlight the importance that monarchs in the sixteenth century placed on appearing all-powerful. Painters were advised to pay close attention to the King’s red and gold clothing in order to evoke messages about his wealth, pride and political strength.

They reveal something about the nature of the object.

For example, the faint and careful lines which creatives use to sketch ballerinas capture and reflect the precision with which they move. The gracefulness of their movements do not need to be described by words: the image itself does the talking.

They show traditional messages and create timeless memories.

Wedding Day Photographs are a prime example of this type of image. Photographs of the bride and groom capture the typical mutual love and affection between the two. What’s more, these images can be passed on through generations, meaning that children and grandchildren can detect the passion between the two, even decades later. The power of photography, therefore, means that moments, which were thought to be irreversible, can be kept alive forever.

At thortful, we believe in the power of an image. A card contains an image that can summarise a feeling, a talking point, a private joke or just evoke that lovely warm feeling that shows someone is thinking of you. We will help people send a relevant card, one that the card recipient will love. We also enable the recipient to unlock sentiments behind the image and decipher the message for themselves. Images are powerful. They make us human. Here’s to images and their talented creators.

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