In emoji era, cards for all seasons


The new breed of greeting cards is more cheeky than ordinary ones.

In vibrant type, on card stock sometimes thick enough to hold up to teeth marks, are printed the types of things usually reserved for text messages: “I can’t wait to sob uncontrollably at your wedding!!!!!!!!!!” “You’re so gangsta.”

“Only a few more shopping days left until your loved ones find out how little you understand them.”

Whatever happened to a simple “Season’s Greetings”?

Over the last few years, as “happy birthday” wishes have funnelled through Facebook and the kissy-face emoji has smacked across smartphone screens, a new breed of greeting cards has emerged, more cheeky than anything with a Hallmark stamp.

According to the Greeting Card Association, which tracks the sale of cards in the U.S., approximately 60 per cent of millennials have bought a greeting card in the last year.

The prints coming from upstarts like Offensive & Delightful, Emily McDowell Studio, Sapling Press and others seem to be directly addressing this younger generation — or, at least, the Internet-irreverent, uninterested in boilerplate sentiments expressed in shiny script.

“Ninety per cent of all the cards are, ‘I love you, sunshine, sparkle, sparkle, unicorn’,” said Olga Krigman, a Los Angeles graphic designer who started Offensive & Delightful in 2005.

True to her brand’s name, many of Krigman’s cards include profanity, which means that some stores stock them in a box behind the register. But Offensive & Delightful relies more on mixing the nostalgic with the here-and-now — Norman Rockwell-esque girls praising the holy trinity of “booze, boys and bffs” — than shock value.

“It’s a little bit of the old with a little bit of the subversive,” Ms. Krigman said.

Others subvert the notion of making a card for an occasion, printing non sequiturs and one-liners sourced from social media.

Lisa Krowinski, founder of the five-year-old Pittsburgh company Sapling Press, favours a witty aside on the front and no message inside — as she put it, “a card to give someone for no reason other than to make them chuckle.”

Scrolling through Twitter and Instagram for inspiration sometimes leads to collaborations with people on those platforms, like comedian Josh Hara, who along with Krowinski came up with cards that read: “Middle age is mostly getting super excited about different flavours of hummus” and “'You know who wants to hear your opinion about everything? EVERYONE.’ — Alcohol.”

Many cards try to acknowledge the inexpressible, like relationships that defy standard definitions. Krowinski, of Sapling Press, said that the products are a way to preserve the very human sentiments that otherwise might get lost in the mists of pixels..” — New York Times News Service

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 11:06:59 AM |

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