Thursday 8 October 2009

Type Greetings...

I have started looking at existing designs for greetings cards and gift wraps that utilise type as their main component of communication. Initially I didn't think that I would find an awful lot of stuff out there, but contrary to this there is an abundance of typographic greetings available for almost every consumer.

The images shown here are from a primary research excursion, which involved stealthily taking photos of products without the people in the shop getting angry (which they didn't!). I visited Clintons, Marks and Spencer, WH Smiths and Paperchase...

WH Smith tends to cater for a range of consumers. They have products that are at the higher end of the market, and some toward the lower end. There is a definite feel to the type of cards WH Smith sells, most are not particularly exciting, and some badly designed (see 'Mary had a little lamb...' above). Those that are more exciting, and have a better level of design are usually those designed by other companies (see Scrawl montage, and the Emma Bridgewater cream and black gift wrap). Overall WH Smith seems to be following the trend rather than setting it.

Paperchase is a higher end high-street brand. Their products are known for being interesting, fashionable and having well thought out designs. Their greetings cards make up a large proportion of the products they sell which is understandable when they are eclectic and artistic. The selection of type based cards was very good, they have some designed by outside printers and some designed by their own in-house paperchase designers, which provides a good mix of lower and higher priced cards. I feel that Paperchase really sets the bar when it comes to fashionable stationary, a definite trend setter.

Marks and Spencer is an unlikely place to think about buying gift wrap and cards, unless you purchase items like food and homewares as well, rather than just clothing. M&S have been expanding their brand for some years now and incorporating cards into their range has been a good investment. Their designs sit on several levels of the price ladder, with some coming in around the £1.50 mark, whilst other more elaborate or embellished cards are around £3-4. Their designs are interesting, some similar to Paperchase, and others more suited to the older person buying for a younger audience. They have a very good range, appealing to most buyers and audiences, and with M&S you know the quality is going to be high.

Clinton Cards is one of those shop that I sort of hate, but am appreciative of. Their main selection of cards are all rather twee and sickly (with those terrible verses written inside!). The selection of type based cards was low, considering how many different cards they sell. The designs are all rather over the top, bright colours, with layouts that could be better. Their gift wrap is suitable, but not amazing, it could be so much more eye-catching and exciting. They have recently started producing a range of quite lovely, more modern and fashionable cards, but for a lower price (all around £1-2), which I think is very reasonable. For example the 'Birthday' type card with multi-coloured letters is on sale for £1.30, not expensive, and not a bad card. Overall there is room for improvement!

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