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Jo Caswell recently moved on from three years as creative manager for Card Factory, and before that she spent almost 14 years at Hallmark UK, rising to Creative Director – who better to explain to artists and creative people how to break into the greetings card industry?

the UK, ranging in size from one-man operations through to multi nationals.

Not all these companies will accept freelance work but a lot do. The industry is creatively driven and the companies at the top of their game are always looking out for new talent. Doing your research in this industry is very important as publishers are generally not seen as brands by the public - Hallmark being an

“The UK’s tastes are eclectic... there’s lots of room for quirky and edgy styles”

exception! Check out the genres and style of cards in local independents and High Street stores, the publishers’ details are on the back of all cards. The UK’s tastes and styles are eclectic, to

say the least so, as well as the more traditional interpretation of scenes and images, there’s lots of room for the more quirky and edgy styles. However, do remember that the big publishers with the big distribution are usually the ones with the big budget for artwork. Research their genres, as catering for a larger audience generally means creating work with a high degree of commercialism, ie cute characters, fl orals, traditional scenes etc.

If you’re a creative writer, I’d recommend targetting the larger companies as there is far more scope for word-driven cards because of the many different sending situations that are covered.

In line with supplying publishers directly, another approach which is becoming increasingly popular with creatives is to be represented by an art agency. This route doesn’t suit all freelancers as many are more than capable of marketing and selling work directly to publishers themselves. However, for a commission (averaging 25-40 per cent) the agency will promote the artist’s work to the relevant publisher, with the added potential of commissioned assignments.

In addition, the work is licensed out to the UK

publisher, therefore enabling the same image to be licensed anywhere in the world, maximising the amount of income received for each artwork. I believe this is a great way of entering the card market and, with the right level of expertise within the agency, new talent can be introduced to the industry that otherwise may have struggled. Like most things, the greetings card industry is constantly changing both on the High Street and online with the huge success of personalised cards through Moonpig and other similar companies.

The one overriding factor that unites all in the industry is the desire for innovative product that stands out from the competitors. This is why creative talent will always be the driver!

Innovative design meets modern tech

THE beauty of simplicity is the key to Stephanie Davies’ artwork and the use of a laser cutter enables her bring her designs to life.

While studying contemporary crafts at University College Falmouth, Stephanie was introduced to laser cutting technology and has incorporated the process into her work ever since.

Now based in South Wales having graduated in 2009, Stephanie designs and fi nishes everything herself in her studio where she turns her artistic talent to both jewellery and greetings cards: “The brilliant aspect of using laser-cutting techniques is the

effect of the cut card with a contrasting insert.”

Most materials can be cut, such as paper, card, fabric, wood, plastics and acrylic, and Stephanie, who also engraves harder materials like metal and glass, puts her skills to good use

If you’re an artist or illustrator who’d like to be considered for inclusion in Artists’ Quarter please email 49

creating universal designs that appeal to a wide audience as a different type of art from the traditional drawing and painting. She added: “There’s an ever-expanding collection of products available but greetings cards showcase the versatility of the cutting technique – I never create anything I wouldn’t buy myself. “Inspiration can come from anywhere, a wildlife documentary, wandering about the local area. Something strikes a chord and becomes the basis for a design.” At the beginning of the year Stephanie, who also did a lot of drawing on a trip to San Francisco, was part of the Spotted

section at Top Drawer Spring.

“It was a brilliant experience,” she said, “I went with little expectation as there were large companies with lavish displays and I had a one-metre plinth to grab the attention of buyers. It was very positive and nice to know I’m doing something right. A leap into the unknown that really paid off. “It’s given me the confi dence to push my designs further and I’m developing a range of concertina cards using specially- made duplex card.” T: 07742 323904

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