New Themes for Father’s Day 2018

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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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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

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.

Zoe Brennan: How to Design a Bestseller

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At Zoe Brennan we know the benefit of having a best-selling design. Here’s how you can too.

Let’s start with an analogy. Picture a football team. You have your defenders, midfielders…okay, we’ve exhausted my football knowledge but you get the point: there’s loads of different players. Now let’s focus on who’s up front- the striker. Without them there’s no goals, no glory. They’re the one that gets lifted in the air, their name chanted as the final minutes tick down. They turn a team that can hold their own into a winning team.

Enough with the football analogy: what I’m saying is it’s okay to have a decent line up of designs that can go the distance but everyone really needs a few big hitters that will catapult them to the next level.

Every design can’t be an out right winner. (I wish they could be. Believe me) There will always be those who out perform the others, it’s just the law of averages. So, how do you go about creating a bestseller?

 

Think Seasonally– big card buying occasions like Christmas, Valentine’s Day etc. are going to be your rocket fuel. Our Financial Burden card out sold our other designs by over 6000%. (Yeah, I know, mental.)

 

Be On Trend– there’s always a focus for comedy. Sometimes it’s meme-led, other times it’s purely topical (be that political, celebrity focused or lifestyle-led for example). Try following a few humorous pages on Facebook and Twitter. You’ll soon spot what the big thing is right now. How can you put your own spin on it?

The same idea goes for what’s in aesthetically- follow blogs, grab some books, and get researching what’s coming into fashion.

 

Be Relatable– when designing for specific occasions think about what really gets you, what grinds your gears or floats your boat. You’ll soon find others feel exactly the same way and when a design speaks to someone directly they’ll snap it up in a heartbeat. Design the card you want to buy.

 

Plan in Advance– Christmas doesn’t start when the tinsel comes out; ideally, you should have seasonal designs done about six months in advance. I know it feels wrong to be finishing festive designs when you’re still wearing shorts but it’s the best way to get maximum exposure. You’re more likely to stand out if you’re ahead of the game.

 

Take Chances– be different. You might think your idea is too niche to work but that’s exactly what customers are looking for. Follow your heart and think outside the box. No one likes to see the same thing again and again.

 

If you’re thinking of starting to design cards but feel overwhelmed, don’t worry about having hundreds of awesome designs. It’s perfectly feasible to have just a handful of carefully crafted designs and still reap the benefits. Get it right and that might be all you need.  

Find Zoe Brennan cards here.

cardshit Swear Profanities Will Liven Up Your Designs

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Hearts and flowers are not for everyone, we know that here at cardshit. The noughties and the twenty-tens (as we are apparently supposed to be calling them) are all about being rude, crude and bold about your feelings. So why should the greetings cards we send be any different to the banter we have with our mates?

No one can dispute the desire in the market place for sloppy, soppy birthday cards with rhyming couplets and fluffy messages, extolling sentiments that you would never even be caught dead actually thinking, never mind saying out loud. Nowadays though, there’s a trend towards being honest with each other: people are getting a bit of confidence and shouting their feelings from the rooftops, no matter how crude and unrefined those feelings are! This means it’s high time to consider expanding your range beyond the greetings cards your granny would send, and embracing the potty-mouthed greetings cards of the future.

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We all enjoy a bit of banter every now and again, and it’s been well documented that taking the mickey out of each other in a harmless, playful way actually strengthens friendships and can be a sign of endearment if done in the right way. At cardshit, gone are the days of minding your P’s and Q’s, as we know that feeling comfortable enough with someone to trade insults with them often just means that you really feel at ease in their presence and count them as a true friend. 

In fact, using insults and being crude to one another as a way to show affection goes way back to Shakespeare’s time, and his most famous works are positively littered with enough hilariously rude nicknames and banter to rival any school classroom. (Watch this space for our next design, ‘Happy Birthday you elvish-mark’d, abortive, rooting hog’.)

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Speaking of the classroom, a 2015 study by the Language Sciences Journal in America actually found that people who use swear words tend to have a higher level of intelligence than those who don’t. According to US-based psychologists Kristin and Timothy Jay, using swear words is not a sign of the “poverty of vocabulary” (the assumption that swear words are being used in place of more intellectually acceptable words), but rather people who have a wide vocabulary of profanities also have a wide vocabulary in general.

Aside from showing high levels of intelligence, swearing, being rude and insulting one another has also been proven to have a painkilling effect; a recent study from Keele University in England found that letting go and shouting out the worst expletive you can think of generally does have a numbing or painkilling effect, which explains why we are often heard shouting four lettered words when we stub a toe, or hammer our thumb by accident. It is believed that this pain-killing effect comes from our innate ‘fight or flight’ response being triggered by the audacity of the swear-word, which increases our heart rate and in turn, helps to numb the pain. So the next time your designer ignores your brief, relieve said pain by turning the air blue and let loose with your finest four letter tirade.

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When it comes down to it, being a bit uncouth can be a whole lot of fun, and sending your mate a rude greeting card sparks a reaction that you just don’t get with any other card. In this modern age of smartphones, the internet and instant gratification, we all crave something a bit unique, something a bit extra, and something that genuinely piques our interest.

So it seems being crude is the new being nice. Why not embrace it and consider how your new ranges might get a little ruder, or if that’s definitely not your cup of tea, try sending your mate a rude birthday card this year instead. If they don’t ex-communicate you, you’ll know that you’re BFF’s.

Article by Lee Thomas, founder of cardshit. Find cardshit cards here!

A thortful Success Story

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As one of thortful’s biggest success stories over the last 6 months, Kasia has had quite the journey with us! From a few odd sales here and there to one of our top selling creators for Valentine’s this year, she’s grown her thortful sales and become almost an overnight success. But how did she do it? Below, she shares her story and gives you some of her top tips for raking in those royalties!

My journey with thortful started off as an experiment, and I must admit I didn’t have any particular idea what I was doing at the beginning! I simply created my profile, uploaded a few designs with funny little monsters and that was about it! I didn’t really worry about making my cards suitable for any specific occasions, or about drawing them in any particular style. If I’m honest, looking at it now, I think that my approach was a bit soulless and mechanical. Without giving the whole process much thought, I just took the path of least resistance, and as a result, saw very few sales.

It all changed in December last year. As huge movie geeks, my friends and I often spend time discussing films, TV series, and documentaries. During one of these conversations an idea came to my mind: what about drawing something I’m really, truly, passionate about?

This was how my Star Wars themed card series came to life! The whole creation process was great fun. It seemed so natural and easy to draw my favourite movie characters, to make them speak their funny language and to play with their unique features.

Kasia xmas card for blog

 

I quickly found that tapping into particular trends is a key step that will take you further on your way to becoming a successful thortful designer. Finding a new trend and predicting the next big thing is never a simple task, but keeping your finger on the pulse will make it easier.

Read popular design magazines, sign up to art newsletters, follow famous art bloggers, pay attention to the issues your friends and colleagues are buzzing about, observe which are the most popular topics on social media. What are people interested in? What is getting them talking and capturing the collective imagination? These are the questions that you should be asking. Paying attention on what’s going on around you will give you a broader picture of what people want and what trends are hot!

I also decided that this time round my cards should target specific, card-sending occasions, and as Christmas was coming up I took this as my inspiration. Playing a bit with the characters, I adapted them specifically around this theme, and managed to secure a good few more sales than usual!

This just goes to show that when designing your cards, it’s important to remember what occasion they are for. Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, a Wedding Anniversary or Birthday, creating your designs to target specific events will always help you to produce a more customer-orientated product, and as a result it will drive more sales.

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As my Christmas collection did well, I decided to stick with the movie theme. I extended my collection of characters but this time they were equipped with Cupid’s arrows and heart-melting declarations of love, just in time for Valentine’s Day. The whole collection was an instant hit! 

I soon learned that once you’ve established a design which is popular, you can always create new versions to fit other occasions by changing captions or references, which will give you more opportunities to sell your cards. And if you need some ideas of different events and occasions? Just head to the thortful website!

Once you find your niche, remember your bestsellers and grow your collection around them. Making what you know consumers want yields far more sales than making whatever you feel like and hoping there’s a market for it! It is much smarter to find where your passions and skills intersect with what customers seek.

I discovered that humour was key for me, too. I use it all the time in my cards: it is basically at the centre of every design I do, and the simpler the joke the better. By making my cards funny, I found that I was giving customers more reason to choose my designs, and my sales reflected this.

If it fits with your design then why not try implementing some humour in your cards? From a humorous caption to a clever pun, anything you can do to give a little laugh can help your designs stand out. It will make them feel good, and most importantly it will really help customers to remember your cards: a perfect recipe for a success!

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It’s been quite a journey we’ve been on together with thortful for the last few months, and I couldn’t ask for a better team to work with. They’ve watched me grow and been very supportive along the way, patiently replying to all my questions, and solving any arising issues at the speed of light! They’ve advised me on my designs, suggested ideas that worked really well and have been even kind enough to let me takeover their Instagram account for a weekend! You can be sure when starting your thortful profile that you’ve got a whole brilliant team behind you, who will always be there for you to answer any questions you might have.

It took some time for me to realise which ways to take and which paths to avoid in order to succeed, but today I get lots of joy of being able to do what I love and to share it with others. Hopefully my story will inspire you to pursue your own thortful adventure! 

Thanks for reading,
May the force be with you !

Kasia

 

 

Find Kasia’s thortful profile here.