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.

5 ways to make more sales

No time? No problem! We’ve come up with five quick tips to help you boost those sales!

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Have occasion cards

We’ve found that customers buy thortful cards for specific, card-sending occasions. From Birthday to Get Well to Anniversary, make sure your cards fit these. This can be as simple as adding a ‘Happy Birthday’ caption to a design, or even better, creating a design with a specific occasion in mind. Try to make sure you’ve got at least one design for each of the occasion categories we have on the site, ready for a customer to come and choose your design next time they need one!

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Upload seasonal cards early

Occasions with specific dates can rush up on you, so it’s important to stay ahead of the game and upload early, in order to make the most sales possible. Ideally, you should be uploading around three months in advance of a big occasion, whether it’s Valentine’s Day or Christmas. This ensures that there is enough of a window for your cards to be moderated and added to the category in time for even the early buyers.

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Tap into trends

Trends can provide inspiration for designs, and help you tap into a specific audience of customers. Whether it’s Game of Thrones, yoga, or – dare we say it? – Donald Trump, cards which are ‘of the moment’ can really catch a customer’s eye. If people are talking about it then chances are they’ll be keen to send a card which references it, especially if it’s poking fun at the idea!

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Check in every month

Check your thortful account every month, to get a feel for which of your designs are selling. Have a clear-out and get rid of any which haven’t sold after six months of being live, to make more space for more popular designs. ‘Smell what sells’ as Alan Sugar puts it, and see what is selling well for you: this can give you the inspiration to adapt designs for different occasions, and upload new designs which are along the same lines and are therefore likely to be popular.

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Shout about it!

Make sure to let your social followers know that they can buy your designs on thortful. People who are interested enough to follow you on social are immediately more likely to want to buy your cards, so you’ll be preaching to the converted. Make sure to highlight the different card options too, like Chocolate cards or Notebook cards, as this can help you to stand out and offer customers something that little bit different. And the good news? You can even use our handy sharing images or badges to make life easy 🙂

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Extra badges to help promote your thortful cards!

By now you’ve probably seen (if not used!) our handy sharing images, created especially so that you can pop your own card designs in and post on social media to promote them. But just in case you want to snap some images of your own to promote your cards, we’ve now created some little badges for you to add to posts, giving your followers the info they need to buy your cards.

Simply download, then use the design/editing programme of your choice to add them to your images. Happy sharing!

Right-click or Cntrl + click to save.

 

A simple badge to pop across your photo:

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A more compact badge for narrower spaces:

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A corner badge to pop over the bottom right of your image, with a white banner:

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Card Sharing Images

Sharing your designs can really help to let your followers know that they can send your cards with thortful! We’ve created some handy, non-occasion based sharing images to help make it easy. 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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Happy sharing!

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Redback Cards: why it’s worth being on Thortful (even if you’re already a pro!)

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So… you’ve spent years establishing your card business through blood, sweat, tears, fears, small steps, big wins, hell yeah’s, oh no’s, epic emails, microscopic lunch breaks, Pantone crises and a LOT of coffee (plus a couple of G n T’s!). Why bother with thortful?

Well, because it’s a no brainer.

Here’s why:

  • It’s an attractive, intuitive, contemporary website platform that screams ‘We’re a quality company who are going to send you a quality product’ and without any fuss to boot. That’s exactly the kind of thing we want for our customers!
  • We can easily be responsive with our designs and modify them according to sales. Also we can test the market with our cards and see what new designs prove popular before we publish them.
  • It’s a valid (and very fair) revenue stream. We’re a business after all.
  • No hassle. As an established company we are regularly producing designs for print anyway. Being able to upload new designs in a few minutes makes you think…’Why on earth not?’
  • The greetings card market is huge. Millions of cards are sold every year and we don’t feel selling our cards on thortful detracts from other aspects of our business, instead it helps us to further engage with customers.
  • They do all the work for you. Marketing, tick. Advertising, tick. Online presence, tick. Customer service, tick. Fancy website, tick. Printing and posting, tick. That sounds like pretty good value to me!
  • They’re super nice people. This goes a long way in our book!

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Redback Cards create fun and contemporary cards for all occasions. Find their cards here.

Chocolate Card Sharing Images

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Share your designs and let your followers know that they can now send a luxury bar of chocolate along with your cards! Simply use the programme of your choice to slot your own designs into the blank space, and share away 🙂

Here are some ideas on how to caption them:

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 available as Chocolate Cards.

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

Be top of the friend/son/daughter list and stand out from the crowd with my cheeky design, now available from @thortful as a Chocolate 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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Happy sharing!

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Nine signs of mental health issues in friends or loved ones

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Mental health is complex, often it’s not a single change but a combination. The following nine signs are not to help you diagnose a mental health issue in a friend or loved one, but instead to reassure you that there might be good reason to seek more information about your concerns.

1. Feeling anxious or worried

We all get worried or stressed from time to time. But anxiety could be the sign of a mental health issue if it’s constant and interferes all the time. Other symptoms of anxiety may include heart palpitationsshortness of breath, a headache, restlessness, diarrhoea or a racing mind.

2. Feeling depressed or unhappy

Have you noticed that your friend has lost interest in a hobby you used to share? If they’ve also seemed sad or irritable for the last few weeks or more, lacking in motivation and energy or are teary all the time, these could be signs of depression.

3. Emotional outbursts

Everyone has different moods, but sudden and dramatic changes in mood, such as extreme distress or anger, can be a symptom of mental illness.

4. Sleep problems

Generally, we need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Persisting changes to a person’s sleep patterns could be a symptom of a mental illness. For example insomnia could be a sign of anxiety or substance abuse. Sleeping too much or too little could indicate depression.

5. Weight or appetite changes

Many of us want to lose a few kilos, but for some people fluctuating weight or rapid weight loss could be one of the warning signs of a mental illness, such as depression or an eating disorder. Other mental health issues can impact appetite and weight too.

6. Being quiet or withdrawn

We all need quiet time occasionally, but withdrawing from life, especially if this is a major change, could indicate a mental health issue. If a friend or loved one is regularly isolating themselves, they may have depression, bipolar, a psychotic disorder, or another mental health issue. Refusing to join in social activities may be a sign they need help.

7. Substance abuse

Are you worried a loved one is drinking too much? Using substances, such as alcohol or drugs, to cope can be a sign of, and a contributor to, mental health issues.

8. Feeling guilty or worthless

Thoughts like ‘I’m a failure’, ‘It’s my fault’ or ‘I’m worthless’ are all possible signs of a mental health issue, such as depression. Your friend or loved one may need help if they’re frequently criticising or blaming themselves. When severe, a person may express a feeling to hurt or kill themselves. This feeling could mean the person is suicidal and urgent help is needed. Call Triple zero (000) for an ambulance immediately.

9. Changes in behaviour or feelings

A mental illness may start out as subtle changes to a person’s feelings, thinking and behaviour. Ongoing and significant changes could be a sign that they have or are developing a mental health issue. If something doesn’t seem ‘quite right’, it’s important to start the conversation about getting help.

Chasing the Stigma is a mental health charity which aims to normalise and humanise mental illness, offering real solutions for anyone who might be struggling. They are working with thortful and designer Gary James McQueen to create greater communication for people suffering with mental health issues. Send one of Gary’s exclusively-designed cards to a friend to let them know you’re thinking of them.

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!

FREE Father’s Day Sharing Images

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We’ve created some sharing images to help you promote your Father’s Day cards on thortful, and drive your followers to buy your cards. Right-click or ctrl + click to download them, then use the design/editing programme of your choice to slot your own designs in. Make sure to link through to your profile when you share, and hashtag or tag us too!

If you’re stuck on how to caption them then check out our suggestions below:

Make sure your dad knows how much you appreciate him with one of my Father’s Day designs from @thortful

If you can’t find the right words to tell Dad you love him this Father’s Day then let me help – find my cards on @thortful

Who needs a superhero when you have a dad? Send Dad some love with my card, exclusively available on @thortful

Father’s Day is coming soon! Make sure Dad isn’t disappointed: get this design @thortful

A father is a man who puts photos in his wallet where his money used to be… Show yours some appreciation for all those times he helped you out with this card from my @thortful profile

 

Just right-click or cmd + click to save!

 

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Want to post your own image of your thortful cards? Here’s a handy image of the text we’ve used on ours – make sure to pop it on to tell customers where to get their hands on them!

Buy my cards at thortful

Happy sharing! 🙂

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