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What women want

GT explores greeting cards with femininity - tracking the spectrum of designs from flower power to girl power. The results are mixed but the objective is constant – these cards are designed to be bought by women for women, or indeed for the men in their lives.


o try and defi ne something that appeals to ‘females’ as a homogenous category is virtually impossible but

attempt it we must. Its common knowledge that women keep the world of greeting cards spinning as they account for more than 8 out of 10 of every card sale.

The modern woman is an enigma, each with her own unique code to decipher. She is a truly inscrutable thing, her traits and characteristics are without doubt individual, enigmatic and exclusively her own. She combines a special blend of virtues and idiosyncrasies. A woman can be discerned though her attitude, her style, her sense of humour, her emotion, her intelligence – it is in all of these things and much, much more. In our study of cards for women, as the following pages attest, the female of the species is utterly unique.

Designing for women Two different takes on designing cards with female appeal: Art Beat cards

Angie Thomas is a full time professional artist working for Art Beat, the greeting card arm of Art Marketing. She specialises in creating female cards with a touch of humour. The cards are designed to be bought by women for their female friends as well as for the men in their lives. It’s a good tactic given that three-quarters of the UK’s greeting cards are bought by women – a fact that’s not lost on Angie. She says: “Women tend to by cards for all our friends but men might just buy one card for their wife.”

The captions on the cards are also written by Angie and the main objective is to appeal to women’s sense of humour. She said: “The way I approach it is that it comes from my own feelings, it has to, because otherwise it wouldn’t ring true. The humour is about the weaknesses in men, as perceived by a woman. “That’s the skill in designing cards for men – it’s not necessarily about what the man is doing. A picture of a car or set of golf clubs or pint of beer doesn’t really mean anything. It’s got to appeal to the heart. So the captions on our cards are amusing but not unkind and not cruel. It’s a kind of polite leg- pulling and men appreciate that kind of humour.” Coming up with the next female best seller is not all plain sailing though. “Sometimes you do get stuck and you need something to get you going again,” said Angie who has developed some new characters to her ‘Angie’s ladies’ range among others to keep the ideas fresh and alive. “Mavis is the business for 2012. And ‘dotty girl’ is another new character – she’s young, carefree and a bit, how should we say, ‘Barbie’. She’s also based on a real person”. Then there is ‘purple lady’ a character that is almost self- biographical for Angie who was inspired by the famous poem by Jenny Joesph – when I’m old I shall wear purple. “Purple lady has spent her whole life as a mother and as a respectable, responsible person. Her children have long since left home and she fi nds that she is free to be herself again and she can go a bit mad if she wants. Her philosophy is ‘its never too late for a happy childhood!” said Angie who sees a lot of this person in herself. “While my friends were going on cruises, my husband


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