How rude is too rude (on a greetings card)?

There is a lot of evidence that receiving cards and letters is good for the soul, knowing that someone thought about you and was minded to send you a card makes the recipient feel special! I mentioned in one of my previous blogs that in times of uncertainty, making contact and celebrating occasions becomes even more important as we seek security and want to feel close to friends and family. 

Humour plays an important part in creating this feel good factor, so sending ‘funny’ cards can have a double whammy: feeling good because someone wanted to say hi or remembered a special day, and then making you smile or laugh with the card you choose.

When I was the card buyer at the National Trust it wasn’t the photographic landscapes that were our best sellers but our humour cards. Not rude ones but cheeky fun things that would make our customers smile and often laugh out loud. Shop managers would often tell me that they would think their shop was empty and then there would be a chuckle from a card spinner or someone calling across the shop for a friend to come across and share a joke. Animal Antics were a National Trust favourite and I found a new animal range at Spring Fair recently from Jo Stockdale who is using a great image of ‘on trend’ guinea pigs which made me smile.

 New range from Jo Stockdale

New range from Jo Stockdale

Of course, what we class as funny varies hugely so humour cards come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and genre including cute, clever and downright rude and it’s really important to choose the right type of humour for the recipient or they might not laugh at all!!

There are some great cards around and I saw lots of new ranges being launched at Top Drawer and Spring Fair. Humour is definitely proving popular with a lot of publishers this year and I have collected a set of cards together which I love and I hope they make you smile!

Having fun with friends is one of the overriding themes behind Berni Parker’s Ladies Who Love Life and her latest range Ladies Country Collection is no exception and the Marmaladies really made me smile.

 Berni Parker’s Ladies Who Love Life - Country Collection

Berni Parker’s Ladies Who Love Life - Country Collection

I like soft quirky humour and Museum and Galleries' Crafted range has the most brilliant card which is right up my street designed by one of their new artists Victoria Whitlam I will certainly look out for her cards in the future!! 

 From Museum and Galleries' Crafted Range

From Museum and Galleries' Crafted Range

PIC 4 PERKINS AND MORLEY.jpg

Perkins and Morley’s range Pulp features animals, but offers a completely different type of humour combining strong colours with great images and a play on words to make you smile. 

Using archive imagery is something that Cath Tate is really good at, her combination of imagery with a suitable line gives her ranges a really unique appeal and she has another fantastic range out called Startling Stories, combining her clever use of words and 1950’s comic images guaranteed to raise a smile.

 From Cath Tate's 'Startling Stories' Range

From Cath Tate's 'Startling Stories' Range

I often shock myself by noticing a publisher for the 1st time only for them to tell me ‘they have been exhibiting for years’ - and one of my great finds at Spring Fair was Jelly n Bean. James comments on his website that ‘the wording for the cards has been carefully crafted to make them super sendable and outrageously funny. This humour is right up my street.

 Jelly n Bean

Jelly n Bean

 Dean Morris

Dean Morris

And then there is rude. And I am not sure how rude I can be in this piece so here goes…. rude is riskier for both publishers and retailers and it is really important to know your audience. If you stock rude cards ensure you are sensitive to your customers views. Retailers like Scribbler stock a significant percentage of what many customers think are rude cards, but sensitive merchandising, keeps the blatant ones up high and away from windows. Plus clear warnings on all the entrances ensures those coming into the shops know that there will be some risqué content on the displays. Interestingly it was always felt that Scribbler was the place to shop for cards that Paperchase and WH Smith would not stock, but this is less and less the case as these and other retailers take more risks with their range. Dean Morris is well known for his very direct and often rude cards. This is his take on Mother’s Day this year. 

But the final word in this piece goes to Tache cards who have taken another route, forget the humour they will make us smile because they are using great BIG smiles even on POO!!

 Tache

Tache