Laura Boswell ARE – Printmaker

Greetings Cards - Here’s how I make them work for me

Greetings cards really work well for me and I wouldn’t be without them. Here are some hints and tips. Many I am sure everyone knows, but I’ve put it all down just in case.

Here’s how I go about choosing, producing and storing them:

I start with a very good high-resolution photograph (done by Mr B who happens to be a photographer - marry someone useful I say!) and am not afraid to tweak it to improve the chances of the image working at a small size. Photos for cards can be manipulated in a way that photographs selling the original work cannot. I don’t crop work as a rule, but a small detail of a piece might make a fantastic card for someone else so is worth thinking about. The really important thing is to start with a good scan or high-resolution photo. People will spot anything out of focus or pixelated.

I print out the images I have in mind at card size to get an idea of how they will work; often the ones I thought would don’t and unexpected ones do, so I try everything. Also, I always use Facebook feedback as a guide - a fabulous free resource for consumer testing every time I post an image and it is surprisingly accurate. If you guys don’t like it, I don’t use it!

We lay out cards in-house and then use a commercial printer (my brother-in-law is a graphic designer - again marry well...), but there are printers who offer templates for laying out cards. I always put my website and a bit about me on the back, I’ve sold several prints to people because they’ve been sent a card and used it to check out my website, or have bought the card and later wanted the original and needed to reach me.

I use a printer who will do short runs (I do 200 per card usually), so I can chop and change designs, and I shop around. Always check if there’s a price break for ordering more designs in a batch - I generally wait until I can order a few together and maybe a reprint or two. I always buy in envelopes and bags rather than using a ’complete’ card service that packs them. The more I do myself the cheaper it is, but that said, I don’t skimp on the quality of envelopes and bags as it looks naff and people will remember.

I always get printed proofs before I commit - this costs a bit more, but is really important. I’ve often had to reject a proof and make alterations. Nobody will buy a substandard card - especially if it is murky or dull.

Storage - you can see from my ’Wonderwall of cards’ that I’ve made a virtue of necessity and used a wall in our spare room as storage. Stored like this the cards are easy to get to and I can keep an eye on stock without grovelling in piles of cardboard boxes.

Card rack - we have a home made one (Mr B again) and I find people at fairs like homemade racks - they’ll favour a wooden rack/wicker basket/vintage suitcase over a commercial wire or plastic rack any day. It’s all part of that seductive ’buying from the artist’ experience.

Selling on line - I sell through an on-line shop at my website ( and there’s a steady trickle of trade. I won’t get rich that way, but it does all add up and it is a nice resource to offer if you can. I also have a portable box-full that goes to every talk and class - people love a souvenir and I also use cards as a teaching aid occasionally.

I supply my local museum and some shops and most of the galleries who represent me on trade price terms (that’s usually 50% of retail) - they buy the cards outright.

Lastly I use them as gifts - I’ll maybe throw some in if I have a card of the print someone’s buying and they are a handy little ’sorry’ gift if there’s a glitch with a delivery or some issue with a delivery.

Ps. My favourite greetings card related comment: ‘I’m buying your card, it’s quite nice, but when I get it home I’m going to draw some birds in the sky because you got that wrong’