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renowned, and artists from across Europe are bringing a new dimension to the world of greetings cards. Here we focus on some of the new players putting their own brand of va- va-voom into the industry by bringing their products to the UK.

Design va-va-voom E

We all love a bit of European style, so here Tracey Bearton shines the light on some companies bringing it to the greetings card world.

URO is a bit of a dirty word at the moment, with the currency hovering on the brink, but some things European are still good. The continental eye for style and design is rightly very much

New firm explores

Emotional communication Unique designs are the strength of Polish company Ilustris Publishing thanks to artist Andrzej Tylkowski. Having reached a leading position in the sale of cards in Poland and started expanding their exports around the world, Ilustris has been building its own distribution network in the UK market since November last year. Andrzej creates beautiful stories for everyday occasions like an easily-forgotten touch, a look, an almost-elusive momentary fl ash.

Ilustris focuses on the publication and sales of these designs primarily on greeting cards and calendars, and has recently expanded into bookmarks, wrapping paper and mugs.

Full of joyful colours and occasions, their cards have become

extremely successful at Christmas and Valentine’s Day though Ilustris is most renowned for its everyday collection. Marta and Bartek, the couple who brought Ilustris to the UK, said:

“We love these cards, thanks to them we met each other in Poland, and the fabulous calendar accompanies us throughout the year. “Now we want to show these original designs over here and their

specifi c way of emotional communication. We hope the British will love them as much as we do.”

T: 07522 014321

Family firm coordinates design

Founded by Klaus-Dieter Hartung in Germany in 1986, the Hartung company has remained in the family ever since.

It was launched in the UK in June last year and offers a comprehensive portfolio of high-quality photographic greeting cards and postcards, giftwrap and many stationery lines including gift boxes, folders, gift bags, notebooks and pens. Many products are design-coordinated so they offer a total design concept from card to matching wrap, gift boxes, gift bags and stationery. To further enhance the collection they can supply double-sized fl at gift wrap, double-sided gift wrap and many rollwrap designs, plus novelty engineered greeting cards. Premier display units are available along with a professional and friendly back-up service plus a test programme is available to experience the Hartung concept.

T: 07711 941204

Irish niche Having discovered contemporary cards by Irish artists were hard to fi nd, Marion Hancock set up her own company, Art Cards Ireland.

And less than a year since starting – and four months since exhibiting at her fi rst show – she already exports her range to the UK, America and Australia. After that fi rst trade show, Showcase Ireland, in Dublin in January, ACI was listed in a Best Of Ireland shopping guide for America visitors. “We were thrilled by that,” said Marion, who runs the company with husband David after moving from London to Ireland where she took up painting as a hobby. “There was no shortage of cards featuring donkeys, peat fi res and rural scenes of the past,” she added, “but I couldn’t fi nd cards that refl ected what Irish artists are doing today. We decided to have a go at exploring that niche.”

Initially Marion did most of the picture research online, looking for art images she could see working as cards. Now she keeps in touch with galleries and regularly receives art and illustration submissions from artists. Currently ACI publishes 16 artists with varying interests and styles, ranging from Belfast artist Jonathan Aiken’s unusual paintings of cars and bikes to Veronica Wallis’s fashion-inspired cards with an art- historical twist, plus a variety of Irish land and seascapes.

T: 00353 1 235 3118

Fresh colours for spring and

has created a card collection that is contemporary and stylish. Susi Winter is currently looking for a distributor/sales agents for the UK for her cards including her latest fl oral designs with a new colour concept.

The My Private Garden collection has vintage botanic drawings, interpreted in a contemporary way. The Fashion Botanic collection is more playful and comes in subtle colour shades with a contemporary twist fi nished with a silk ribbon. The full range consists of six designs, available as a set in a counter card display. Susi also has an upmarket Jolly Christmas collection of season’s

greetings cards in subtle colours. The slightly-textured premium board is embossed and fi nished with gold so looks and feels unique.

T: 0049 69 5974522 41

summer Frankfurt’s Susi Winter combines premium papers and elaborate print manufacturing with contemporary design and fresh ideas. Inspired by vintage drawings and the season’s vibrant colours, she

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