Greeting cards is an illustrated piece of card or high quality paper featuring an expression of friendship or other sentiment. Although greeting cards are usually given on special occasions such as birthdays, Christmas or other holidays, they are also sent to convey thanks or express other feelings. Greeting card, usually packaged with an envelope, come in a variety of styles. There are both mass-produced as well as handmade versions that are distributed by hundreds of companies large and small. While typically inexpensive, more elaborate cards with die-cuts or glued-on decorations may be more expensive.
In Western countries and increasingly in other societies, many people traditionally mail seasonally themed cards to their friends and relatives in December. Many service businesses also send cards to their customers in this season, usually with a universally acceptable non-religious message such as “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings”.
The Greeting Card Association is an international trade organization representing the interests of greeting card and stationery manufacturers. John Beeder, former president of the Greeting Card Association, says greeting card are effective tools to communicate important feelings to people you care about: “Anyone feels great when they receive an unexpected card in the mail. For me, there’s nothing like a greeting card to send a special message. I’m proud to be a part of an industry that not only keeps people connected, but uses both imagery and the power of words to help us express our emotions.”
Types of greeting cards
Greeting cards that are sold individually. This contrasts with boxed cards.
Standard Greeting Cards:
A standard greeting card is printed on high-quality paper (such as card stock), and is rectangular and folded, with a picture or decorative motif on the front. Inside is a pre-printed message appropriate for the occasion, along with a blank space for the sender to add a signature or handwritten message. A matching envelope is sold with the card. Some cards and envelopes feature fancy materials, such as gold leaf, ribbons or glitter.
Photo Greeting Card:
In recent years, photo greeting cards have gained widespread popularity and come in two main types. The first type are photo insert cards in which a hole has been cut in the centre. A photo slides in just like a frame. The second type are printed photo cards in which the photo is combined with artwork and printed, usually on a high-end digital press, directly onto the face of the card. Both types are most popular for sending holiday greetings such as Christmas, Hanukkah & for baby showers.
Personalised Greeting Card:
Websites using special personalisation technology, such as Moonpig, allow consumers to personalise a card which is then printed and sent directly to the recipient.
Reusable Greeting Card:
These are greeting cards for the budget conscious. There are two common formats for reusable cards. Firstly there are cards with slits in them positioned to hold pages. Secondly there notepad style cards where pages stick to the back of the cards. The pages that have been used for reusable cards can be removed after being received and fresh pages can be used to reuse the cards.
Risqué Greeting Card:
Some companies offer risqué greeting cards, with adult-based humor and cartoons. The humor in these cards can sometimes be offensive to more conservative parts of the population.
Musical Greeting Card:
Recently greeting cards have been made that play music or sound when they are opened. They are commonly 3D handmade birthday cards which play traditional celebration songs such as Happy Birthday To You.
Electronic Greeting Card:
Greeting cards can also be sent electronically. Flash-based cards can be sent by email, and many sites such as Facebook enable users to send greetings. More recently, services have launched which enable users to send greetings to a mobile phone by text message or use mobile app for this purpose such cards are called Mobile E-cards or MCards. Many of these electronic services offer open or anonymous chat, to enable further discussion.
Pop-Up Cards are normally cards that, once opened, have a picture coming outward, giving the reader a surprise. Pictures and printed messages in greeting cards come in various styles, from fine art to humorous to profane. Non-specific cards, unrelated to any occasion, might feature a picture (or a pocket to paste in a personal photograph) but no pre-printed message.