Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Christmas 2012.

It's that time of year again. My Christmas sales have been up dramatically this year compared with last, due to the fact that I had a much more developed product to sell and a wider audience to buy. Exhibiting at trade shows, four in just over a year, and sending out catalogues throughout the year has certainly helped to attract more customers. There was also that unexpected email from Paperchase last year, and a new relationship built with my overseas distributor in New Zealand so things are definitely moving forward.

The greetings world is much like fashion in that we design months in advance for the seasons ahead. So this may seem strange to some readers, but I have designed my Christmas cards for 2012 already, and here they are.

My Christmas singles have been a real hit this year, I have seen a huge demand for my Snowman, Rudolph and Puppy, so I have built up my Christmas Crackers collection to meet further demand. These cards are 10.5 x 14.8cm and are printed on to a glistening high quality FSC board. They come individually wrapped in a biodegradable bag with a matching festive envelope. They are all blank inside for your own message.

I have also introduced a new range called 'Christmas Elegance' (inspired by my everyday 'Elegance' range) in a larger square format (14.5 x 14.5cm) that are designed specially for close relatives. For the new range I have kept the colour palette to black, white and red, so that they have a strong presence on the shelves and spinners and are completely different to my existing range.

These designs will be printed on to a high quality FSC board. I have opted for a special embossed finish to give extra surface texture, and I am now choosing a specially made envelope to match with the same embossed finish and hopefully a red colour to compliment the card. The retail price will reflect the quality of the product, and I cannot wait to see these in print. I hope you will like these just as much as my Christmas Crackers range. They are huge step away from my other Christmas range and will appeal to a completely different audience, so I hope they are well received. I will be adding more relations in when I can.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Product Launch 2012 'Sweet Treats'.

Alongside my new 'Milestones' range launching in the New Year will sit 'Sweet Treats' a summery card collection, inspired by cocktails, cakes, icecreams and lollies. This vibrant range will be in the same 14.5 cm square format as 'Milestones' and will also be printed and foiled on to carefully selected FSC board. Each card is blank inside and comes individually wrapped in a biodegradable bag with a matching envelope. Perfect for everyday Birthday cards.
Here is the 8 card range, I hope you like them too.

Celebrate with a Pina Colada!
Enjoy a slice of cake and strawberries. 

Indulge in a glorious treat.
Splash out with a Birthday cocktail.
For the sweet-toothed.
Spoil yourself with the ten scoop cone.
Here comes the icecream man!

Feast your eyes on these retro lollies.

Product Launch 2012 'Milestones'.

You may remember back in September I was working on a new range of cards designed specifically for special Birthdays.

I decided that this range was going to be extra special and of an especially high quality due to the fact that when we celebrate momentous milestones, the things we receive are often keepsakes for many years to come.

With this in mind, I spent weeks creating the designs and thinking through how they were going to be made. I finally decided on two special boards of superb quality and I took days to put together files which would go towards making the dies for foiling. The dies are made by a specialist company who produce a foiling block which is then used to add foil during the printing process.

Foil blocking machine.

As this was a first for my products, the whole project has been enormous, and I had to get my head around many new functions on the computer software when preparing the files for print. It was no easy task to get things just right.

I am still waiting for the foil samples to be returned, and then I will make my final decision on the board I think is right before going ahead with a large print run. The whole process is very expensive, one of the biggest commitments and investments I have made for the business since starting up. But hopefully it will be a step worth taking, and I hope they will achieve the sales I have in mind for them when they are launched.

Although I don't have the final products with me to photograph, I can however show you the final colour outcomes of my designs. The cards will be 14.5 x 14.5 cm and come wrapped in a biodegradable bag with a complimenting envelope. So here are a few tasters for you of my new 'Milestones' range.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


For a while now I have wanted to take a look at my branding and logo, but like most enormous tasks they get put to the bottom of the pile of things to do. Just recently though I have had time to sit back and think about lots of new products and designs, along with the release of my first ever foiled ranges of greeting cards that are being launched in the New Year.

I don't confess to being a graphic designer and so coming up with a logo for my own company has taken weeks of thought, research, planning, development and design. I wanted a logo that says everything about my work ethos, that being designed by hand, personal, and products that consider the environment. I received some good advice from a graphic designer friend who gave me lots of pointers. My initial ideas all got thrown out quickly from the early sketches, until I came up with an idea to illustrate a pencil (the hand-drawn element) which would bend right round in a circle (to emphasise the biodegradable material used and my plee to the customer to recycle afterwards). The personal part comes with hand-drawn letters and I have cleverly incorporated my name into the end and tip of pencil.

Take a closer look at the logo and you will see F A Y in the design. I think I have spent too long on the Nintendo DS playing Professor Layton, as with so many puzzles, it made me think about how I could hide my name in the design.

I now have a logo to add to all of my products, website, blog (eventually), business stationery (another cost to consider) which I hope says more about who I am and what I do, and this hopefully won't date.

Let me know what you think about it.