Designing a Christmas card range (in 6 simple steps)

Birmingham's creative quarter

Designing a Christmas card range (in 6 simple steps)

Posted by Andy Parker on November 10, 2017

Xmas cards are about to be written in households up and down the UK as we get closer to the behemoth of all annual palavers, Christmas. ‘Tis the season to be jolly! Tra la la la la, la la la la.

Therefore as the topic of festive greeting cards is set to be at the tip of everyone’s tongues (quite literally in the case of the stamps) in the run-up to Christmas, we have asked Sara Burford, the director of card company Cinnamon Aitch, to explain the 6 simple steps the creative talent in their office go through when designing their stunning cards.

Here are Sara’s 6 simple steps for designing a Christmas card range:

1. Getting into the Christmassy mood

So that all those wonderful festive ideas can flood in we need to get in the mood (not as easy as you would think in October). This usually involves digging out the Christmas CD to a certain amount of groaning in the studio. Either you love ‘A Wombling Merry Christmas’ or you really don’t! A little tinsel and a string or two of Christmas lights are hung, and someone pops out for some mince pies… we’re currently designing for Christmas 2018.

2. Inspiration

With Christmas cards there is such a distinct design language (trees, snow, reindeer and robins, green, red and gold) so the challenge is to be creative and try to introduce new colourways and imagery, whilst still clearly expressing a familiar Christmas sentiment. Looking back at which parts of last year’s range were most successful and bring in new ideas and trends to make sure the designs are really fresh and interesting.

Christmas Card

3. Experimentation

Coming from a textile design background then using yarns, fabric and stitch is a good starting point. For this year’s Christmas range, A Winter’s Tail, these little-embroidered swatches (see below) were a great inspiration that allowed for the introduction of texture, pattern and a fresh new colour palette.

embroidery for Christmas card

4. Design development

For 2017 we developed two sets of ideas for two very different Christmas ranges, Snowflake and A Winter’s Tail. The latter is full of illustrative and quirky Christmas scenes and animals, and the embroidered swatches were scanned and used to make festive scarves, hats and patterns that were incorporated into the designs.

Hare Christmas cards

5. Finalising

Design ideas make a rather interesting game of ‘Which would you rather?’! There can be multiple versions of a design, with many small tweaks before reaching the final version. For example, this little deer (below) went through quite a few versions. Then as both of our Christmas ranges are hand finished, specially printed finishes and embosses must be finalised, and gems and buttons chosen, to add the beautiful finishing touches.

Deer Christmas cards

6. Naming

Phew…the range is finished! Now what shall we call it? This usually gets thrown open to the studio, and after a multitude of funny, silly suggestions, something perfect usually falls into place.

In a nutshell, that’s the creative process for designing Christmas cards. A big thank you to Cinnamon Aitch for sharing their insights and expertise! Here are examples of some finished cards…

A Winter's Tale Christmas cards

Check out their full range of Christmas 2017 greeting cards here: http://www.cinnamonaitch.co.uk/occasions/christmas-2017